Union and HRD representatives met at BJHQ on Friday, September 3, in collective bargaining session to discuss the growing need for a detailed, comprehensive power harassment policy. Recently, there has been an increase in cases involving the abuse or discriminatory treatment of teachers on the LC level. These include arbitrary assignment of lessons, irregular processing of complaints against teachers, and fanciful reprimands for trivial dress-code infractions. This harassment results in a hostile environment with grave consequences for the quality of instruction and the satisfaction in the work performed by our members. The Union demands the policy to regulate the actions of managers and supervisors and to direct the course of fact-finding procedures in case of any grievance.
Too often, offenses against teachers go unreported, or else uncorrected when they are brought to the attention of the HRD, to the detriment of all. Due to the too-rapid expansion of LCs, inexperienced and manifestly ill-trained teachers are promoted to supervisory positions which require qualifications and skills with which they have not been provided by management. While we recognize the integrity and intelligence of the majority of supervisors, the failure of management to provide necessary and sufficient training has resulted in disruptions and discord in the LCs. To date, the Union has found Berlitz Japan derelict in its responsibility to provide and maintain a well-ordered environment for the teachers, and to protect them from the egregious treatment of a minority of supervisors and managers.
The subject of the current talks is the sequence of events at a suburban LC where, the Union maintains, supervisors subjected Union members to abusive and discriminatory treatment over an extended period. HRD was informed of these incidents at the time, but made no suitable nor timely response to correct these actions. In this initial collective bargaining session, the Union presented a 37-page document comprised largely of unanswered letters and reports concerning the actions of these supervisors to the HRD. In subsequent sessions, the Union will record management's considered response to these events. Members should document cases of discrimination or abuse and notify their Steward or Executive Committee of any incidents.