Union-Busting Case Begins Against Tokyo West Int. School. 東京ウエストインターナショナルスクール、不当労働行為調査が開始

 Tokyo Labor Relations Commission began hearings on Monday, May 24 against Tokyo West International School. On April 1, 2021, Tozen Union and its local TWIST had filed a petition claiming that the school targeted the union in an attempt to weaken or destroy it, including unfair dismissals of three union teachers. 

   Union members expressed excitement to get the proceedings under way but were bewildered at claims made in the school’s defense brief that they had never before heard.



     In the latest session of collective bargaining (CB), only the owner of the school showed up and often responded to most questions with “I need to check” because only the absent managers had the information.


   “Since then, management refuses to negotiate with us,” said one TWIST member. “We have asked for CB many times, but they ignore us. We hope the labor commision will get our members back to work and help us negotiate with management. We want to work together with the school, but it is impossible when management refuses to show up. We want our jobs back and we want better working conditions. Management has not met a single demand, such as breaks for workers. We will never stop fighting for workers’ rights. We urge management to retract the unfair dismissals for union members before having to ask the commision for a ruling.”


 The treatment of union members at the school has worsened since declaring members to management. Not only did the school dismiss a majority of the union members, it has introduced a “buddy system” whereby teachers are directed to only speak to or ask for help from specific teachers or managers. This has created an isolating environment for members who remain employed as they are always being watched and are unable to collaborate with other staff members in their work. New teachers are instructed not to speak to union members. 



   The union is appalled by these new policies, which illustrate the level of mistrust between worker and management.


  When Tozen Union and TWIST leafleted in front of the school, management set up traffic cones in the middle of the public sidewalk, claiming they were to ensure “social distancing” to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, managers stood in front of signs held by members and mirrored members’ movements to and fro in order to block the view of the signs, as members moved back and forth. One manager took out his phone and pointed it directly at members and took pictures close to their faces. This type of behavior indicates union busting and a lack of concern for social distance.



We encourage school staff who have not joined the union yet to contact us (union case officer: Mizuho Matsumoto, tozen.matsumoto@gmail.com) to talk about any issues you have. We will advise you on your rights. We want management and workers to become more familiar with Japan’s Labor Standards Act. Until management starts to follow the law, the chaotic environment at the school will continue. Let’s work together to improve the school. Good management respects workers, follows labor law, listens to concerns with an open mind and tries to resolve situations in a professional manner. Wonderful things happen to a school once they realize that workers are also important.

    現時点でまだ組合に加盟していない教職員の方々、ぜひ私たちにご連絡ください。(担当:松本瑞穂, tozen.matsumoto@gmail.com) 抱えている問題などご相談ください。労働者と経営者共々、労働基準法についてもっと知っていただきたいです。学校側が法律に従わない限り、学校内の無秩序な環境は継続するでしょう。学校をより良くしていくために、一緒に頑張りましょう。良い経営者は、労働者を尊重し、労働法規に従い、しっかりと教職員の問題に耳を傾け、毅然として問題を解決するよう図るはずです。労働者の重要性に気づけば、きっと学校においても素晴らしいことが起きるに違いありません。