Under the Trade Union Law, companies in Japan must hold collective bargaining with unions. But they are not legally required to deal with individual problems raised by employees. In other words, if you wanted to legally ensure that you were heard at Gaba, an English language school, you needed to submit collective bargaining requests through the union, decide on a date, then spare a day, have a prior-approved agenda, a translator, and approximately six volunteers to argue your case.
That all changed on October 4, when we signed a collective agreement with Gaba. We now have a shiny new grievance policy which legally requires the company to reply to individual grievances in a fair and prompt manner.
Union members can now bring problems to a GU representative who will contact Gaba via email, fax or mail. If necessary, meetings can still be held to help resolve the problem.
We're hoping that this will allow the GU to raise more issues with Gaba, and lead to real improvements for instructors who are experiencing problems. We've already been able to solve a major problem for one instructor under the system.