So states the General Union in Osaka at their website.
I have been following the company since I applied to it several months ago. It was an internet application and a phone call (with me making the call), and usually those kinds of applications I don’t put much stock in. In fact, I think they’re more likely just to be a method for a company to collect data about who is looking, than to hire people.
[Update: Also, it’s unclear to me whether current Osaka government contracts are suspended, or whether this suspension only applies prospectively. That is, no new contracts. Is the ordinance written that the company getting the contract must follow the ordinance or the contract is void?]
I know the union people casually, and so I follow what is going on.
The union has been active on two fronts in the Osaka area. First, they have been fighting to have the government acknowledge that GABA workers are employees of GABA–not independent contractors who “just show up” and control their own work. I am in favor of that effort, because what GABA seems to be doing is an outright lie. If GABA sets the rules and controls the work, how can it not be an employer?
So that is one where the Japanese government is just screwing around. It’s one of those aggravating problems that an administrator or bureaucrat could take care of, nationwide, in an afternoon, by sending out a “business improvement” order. Like I keep saying, when the Japanese (“Japan”) want to be serious about regulation, they are very good at it. The problem is usually that they only regulate what they are serious about. Everything else descends into a law of the jungle, it seems.
On the second front then, and the situation with Interac. The Dispatch ALT situation is clearly something that the government here has not been serious about. Again, regulating English teaching in the public schools is something that could be fixed in an afternoon, if the government were serious about both education and its labor laws. But it’s not–really on either, but more on the latter. So the bureaucrats jerk around mostly, and the union guys (and gals) almost seem to be playing along sometimes. It’s hard to know if they’re asking for things they can’t get in the situation, or if they’re not pushing the right buttons both within and outside Japan, since the Dispatch ALT employees are almost exclusively foreigners.
So I’m surprised by this bit of news, actually. The Osaka Prefectural Government said that since Interac didn’t take the General Union seriously and negotiate with it, Interac can’t do business for the moment in Osaka. With it being August right now, the schools must be out, and so maybe the order is effectively moot. But if the situation stands, that could really be something, and a sign that Japanese bureaucracy is starting to take the rights of foreign workers much more seriously than it has in the past.
What happens to those Interac ALTs in Osaka who aren’t in the union? Not clear, and they have probably been set up as manipulable pawns in the matter. If they can’t be dispatched, do they get paid? If they go and find other (scarce) ALT work, and Osaka lifts the ban, do they quit the other work and risk going back?