Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

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parallel universe
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GABA cutbacks

Unread post by parallel universe » Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:26 am

Some interesting developments:

1) The previously-held big GABA Christmas parties at nice, off-site hotels were changed this year to regular in-branch parties

2) No more food brought in (Subway, Domino's pizza) for those attending (unpaid) teacher meetings at the branches

3) A hold on those instructors belting up (for hourly lesson pay increases)

4) Recent announcement that the COO has been replaced and that planned changes for 2009 will be announced after the New Year break

Has anything experienced or heard about others' contracts not being renewed or sponsorship for a work visa being declined?
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Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by Shawn » Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:55 am

I wrote back in August that GABA's share price had lost 75% of its value. Checking up on the stock, it's fallen from Y60,000 in the summer to Y20,000. Anyone know what's going on? Is this just the "Nova shock" affecting the school?

Related

The Bumpy Ride of GABA's share price

GABA's share price (in Japanese)

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Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by Keleidoscope » Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:12 pm

That sucks about the no more free pizza, I was eagerly at every meeting, with a few beers I had brought from the combini downstairs, cause that was allowed.

I liked working at Gaba. The pay sucked, but the lessons were easy. I slepwalked my way through day after day, hungover, still drunk, asleep, it was awesome. I had fun there, with lots of people always to talk to. I struggled to make a decent living, but I got by, and I often got to start late, so I could sleep in all day.

I am also one of the voices for the CD that goes with the latest textbook series, lol. I've never actually heard the final CD though.
Yes it's been a while :)

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Unread post by In The Know » Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:36 pm

Keleidoscope wrote:That sucks about the no more free pizza...
It was hard to get motivated to attend the meetings unpaid, but at least there was a free lunch (usually not enough pizza/subs at our branch). Now it's an unpaid meeting and they dropped a free lunch. :moon: I'm leaving GABA soon enough, so I'll leave it at that. What I love about GABA is that if you did your job, you were left alone. None of the bullshit periodic 'evaluations' and post-mortems of your lessons. G.Con doesn't have AT, BTs or AAMs now so I wonder if they dropped those moronic, useless evaluations too. Anybody know about that?

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Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by RandyDickson » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:29 am

In the Know wrote:
G.Con doesn't have AT, BTs or AAMs now so I wonder if they dropped those moronic, useless evaluations too. Anybody know about that?
No such luck!
When I was still at G.Con I asked the Japanese area manager.

I was told that people in her position will do the observations, and have the power to increase or reduce salaries.

Instead of twice yearly, they'll be done each quarter.

Just what people need, 4 evaluations done by people who probably wouldn't know what a
good teacher or lesson was, even if it bit them on the arse.:roll:
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Unread post by parallel universe » Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:02 pm

For those of who aren't at GABA, teachers can be rated by any student taking their lesson on a 1-5 star lesson satisfaction system (5 being perfect). You should maintain a 4.0 or higher to be left alone. I used to to stay well above that (I'm not bragging as most instructors maintain a 4.1 or above average, so I'm not special).

I don't know if it's the sour economy, frustration with life overall or the feeling that since lessons are so expensive the student thinks, '"If I don't get a stellar, magical 40 minutes I'll make that instructor suffer!" Recently I've gotten more 3-star evaluations than ever before and I don't think I'm doing anything differently. :huh:

If you get a 2 (or a 1 :cry: ) the student gets their lesson point back and you get a "face-to-face" with the managers. You still get paid for your 2 or 1-star lesson though.

Any other GABA instructors out there noticed this-- a decline in their average evaluation score? I'm not looking for outsider opinions that 'GABA sucks!'... 'Get outta there!'... 'It's a shit place to work anyway!'
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Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by quato » Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:29 pm

I know what you mean about evaluations. Where I work the evaluations have 5 or 6 questions but the students usually give the same answer for each question (all 5s when it obviously wasn't perfect) or all 3s when you corrected every mistake and gave really good examples. To be fare, most teachers give the students all 5s or 3s in the comment sheets without thinking about it.

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Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by parallel universe » Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:24 pm

quato wrote:I know what you mean about evaluations. Where I work the evaluations have 5 or 6 questions but the students usually give the same answer for each question (all 5s when it obviously wasn't perfect) or all 3s when you corrected every mistake and gave really good examples. To be fare, most teachers give the students all 5s or 3s in the comment sheets without thinking about it.
Thanks for your input, quato. I've gone several months with zero 3s, but then recently there's been an uptick in the number of 3s. I'm not sure why. My first thought was that in these hard economic times and job losses becoming common in 'lifetime employment' Japan, students were realizing how expensive GABA is and, thus, taking a more critical stance (and pen!) after they've had a lesson. I'm leaving GABA and Japan soon so it's not a big deal, it's just felt on a personal level. Oh, well...
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Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by suria » Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:02 pm

I haven't noticed any changes in my evaluation patterns- no 3s for ages. I average only about 18 lessons per month though, so I may not be a good example. I did do about 32 last month (all time record for me I believe :D ) and no 3s. We shall see- it may be a new trend, or maybe just a blip in your evaluation stats...

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Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by Gizmo » Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:01 pm

That system is so unreliable. It basically depends on the whim of whichever new students you happen to get. The same students who love me and book me every week never evaluate, either good or bad. I have noticed some trends though - new students are more picky and likely to evaluate, so after bonus season get ready for a drop in your evaluations. Lat month I had mostly 4's, a few 5's and a few 3's. This month I'm all 5's and only one 4. I didn't change anything. It's ass random so don't worry about it. I tend to get a slight drop during winter and summer months also, since everyone is agitated due to the cold or humidity.

So you see, the evaluation system has nothing to do with you as an instructor. Make sure you cover your ass during a free conversation though. If they ask for it, make sure you type in the lesson record they asked for it so they can't give you a negative evaluation because they didn't like your topic (since they aren't creative enough to come up with their own but want free conversation anyway) or they didn't learn much because they are high level and just shot the breeze for 40 minutes. My evaluations inproved dramtically about a year ago when I stopped giving a sh*t. That's what happens when people who can't speak English decide how it is "supposed" to be taught.
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Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by walterwall » Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:34 am

That's what happens when people who can't speak English decide how it is "supposed" to be taught.
Oh, my goodness! I haven't laughed so hard in months. I actually laughed OUT LOUD (which is unusual for me) for almost a minute, when I finished reading that line. [My wife wasn't *quite* startled enough to call an ambulance, but she was concerned...]

Beautiful! I probably won't stop smiling for 3 days. It's just so "apt". Life in Japan, encapsulated in a single sentence. I really wish I'd written that.

Thank you sailorjay13! You've improved my physical and mental health with that. I wish the best of health to you, too.

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Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by Ziggy » Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:06 am

sailorjay13 wrote:That system is so unreliable. It basically depends on the whim of whichever new students you happen to get. The same students who love me and book me every week never evaluate, either good or bad. I have noticed some trends though - new students are more picky and likely to evaluate, so after bonus season get ready for a drop in your evaluations. Lat month I had mostly 4's, a few 5's and a few 3's. This month I'm all 5's and only one 4. I didn't change anything. It's ass random so don't worry about it. I tend to get a slight drop during winter and summer months also, since everyone is agitated due to the cold or humidity.

So you see, the evaluation system has nothing to do with you as an instructor. Make sure you cover your ass during a free conversation though. If they ask for it, make sure you type in the lesson record they asked for it so they can't give you a negative evaluation because they didn't like your topic (since they aren't creative enough to come up with their own but want free conversation anyway) or they didn't learn much because they are high level and just shot the breeze for 40 minutes. My evaluations inproved dramtically about a year ago when I stopped giving a sh*t. That's what happens when people who can't speak English decide how it is "supposed" to be taught.
True, very true for all eikaiwas. I know at mcnova the evaluations were summary at the best of times. The whole evaluation thing for the eikaiwa industry belongs on this page http://www.laughatotherpeople.com


This is a song by a mcnova AAM and how he planned to treat a drone on his evaluation.

[youtube]<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/CN4TZBRvoLo&hl ... ram><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/CN4TZBRvoLo&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>[/youtube]
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Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by generalunionone » Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:39 pm

Christmas Eve saw the Osaka Labor Commission rule that GABA teachers are employees under Trade Union law. This is a major victory but we aren't finished yet. We need to use this ruling to now win employee working conditions such as paid leave, travel allowances, unemployment insurance etc.

Come to an open meeting to see where we go next.

Tokyo
Date: Sunday January 31
Time: 8:30pm
Place: National Union of General Workers office, Minato-ku, Shimbashi 5-17-7 Map
Phone: 03-3434-0669

Kansai meeting details to be advised in the coming week.

gaba@generalunion.org

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Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by Keleidoscope » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:52 pm

I never wanted any of that stuff when I worked for them. You want travel allowance ect, you work for someone else. Simple.
Yes it's been a while :)

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Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by Namekuji » Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:34 pm

Spot on, Kel! :thumbsup:
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Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by Gizmo » Tue Feb 02, 2010 7:48 pm

Keleidoscope wrote:I never wanted any of that stuff when I worked for them. You want travel allowance ect, you work for someone else. Simple.
"That stuff" is basic benefits for all employees in Japan under Labor Law. Companies like Gaba flourish by denying their employees these basic benefits. They use the money saved for ekimae overhead costs and expensive advertising. Whether or not you choose to work for someone else is irrelevant. Quit the company and they import cheap labor overseas and expand, and encourage other companies to do the same. And gradually conditions for all workers everywhere get worse and worse.

Its not just a Gaba issue. The Gaba branch is a small branch of The General Union. The General Union fights for many different industries. Not only against eikaiwa and ALT dispatch companies but newspaper delivery, manufacturing industries, etc.

If companies that take care of their employees are forced to go under or change the way they operate because of companies like that break the law, you have a larger problem. Then "working for someone else" no longer becomes feasible.
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promises, promises

Unread post by In The Know » Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:09 pm

Gizmo wrote:The General Union fights for many different industries. Not only against eikaiwa and ALT dispatch companies but newspaper delivery, manufacturing industries, etc.
So what has the GU been doing for the past 15 years when eikaiwa conditions were shit all along? They seem a little late to the party, if you ask me. You can only get so much sympathy and patience with the ol' "We're working to improve things for teachers" mantra.

The GU was asleep at the wheel for the final 10 years of NOVA when they shat on their obligation for paying into SH. That's just one example.

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Re: promises, promises

Unread post by Gizmo » Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:06 pm

In The Know wrote:
Gizmo wrote:The General Union fights for many different industries. Not only against eikaiwa and ALT dispatch companies but newspaper delivery, manufacturing industries, etc.
So what has the GU been doing for the past 15 years when eikaiwa conditions were shit all along? They seem a little late to the party, if you ask me. You can only get so much sympathy and patience with the ol' "We're working to improve things for teachers" mantra.

The GU was asleep at the wheel for the final 10 years of NOVA when they shat on their obligation for paying into SH. That's just one example.
During your time at NOVA were you part of the Union? A Union, by its very nature grows in strength as people join. Everyone wants to say "What is the Union doing for me...etc, etc." But collective bargaining with a company is only effective when the Union is large. In the meantime the Union does "work to improve things for teachers," by appealing to the Labor Commission and demanding rights for UNION MEMBERS at government industries such as the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labor. But its a legal process and its slow.

Everyone wants to wait until the ship is sinking or sunk and say "What is the union doing?" But the whole time the ship was afloat they couldn't have given two shits about Union, couldn't be troubled to shell out a dime for union dues, never recruited at their workplaces or did anything to shape the union or make it grow. Huge corporations can't be troubled to bargain with small unions so they just continue to exploit their employees and try to drown union legal efforts in government bureaucracy.

If you want it to work, join it, and get others to join it, and make it grow. 15 years ago eikaiwa salaries were large and you can bet very few people had any interest. The Gaba branch was only founded a few years ago. I couldn't tell you what the Union was doing for eikaiwa teachers 10 years ago who had no interest in union or contributed to its coffers. Probably whatever they could do, which obviously wasn't enough for NOVA.
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Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by allblacks » Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:11 pm

I joined the Nichibei union in 2001 and basically nothing happened except;

1) I lost working hours when the management found out I had joined.
2) The union organized very ineffective strikes that did nothing but antagonize Nichibei.
3) The mudslinging just went on and on.

... and the third point still goes on today. Hence my conclusion that the union is useless. Im sorry but I have come full circle. Just not worthwhile.

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Re: promises, promises

Unread post by In The Know » Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:18 pm

Gizmo wrote:15 years ago eikaiwa salaries were large
First, eikawia salaries have never been large and they never included the standard summer and winter bonuses. Furthermore, it's always been a year-to-year contract arrangement with no guarantees.
The Gaba branch was only founded a few years ago.
Second, GABA has been around since around 2001. It's 2010. The GU hasn't done shit for GABA teachers in those nine years.

You missed your calling as a politician, although union reps are a second cousin. Thanks for not answering my question in my last post, which was, "what did the GU do when NOVA dropped its obligations to paying SH for the last 8 years of NOVA?"

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Re: promises, promises

Unread post by Gizmo » Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:26 pm

In The Know wrote:
Gizmo wrote:15 years ago eikaiwa salaries were large
First, eikawia salaries have never been large and they never included the standard summer and winter bonuses. Furthermore, it's always been a year-to-year contract arrangement with no guarantees.
The Gaba branch was only founded a few years ago.
Second, GABA has been around since around 2001. It's 2010. The GU hasn't done shit for GABA teachers in those nine years.

You missed your calling as a politician, although union reps are a second cousin. Thanks for not answering my question in my last post, which was, "what did the GU do when NOVA dropped its obligations to paying SH for the last 8 years of NOVA?"

By "Gaba branch" I was referring to the Gaba branch of the General Union, which was founded in 2007. It's 2010.

Here's what the Union did about NOVA. As I said in the last post, whatever they could: http://www.generalunion.org/nova/



In 2008, The General Union officially sought indictment NOVA’s former president, Mr Sahashi over non-payment of wages (a violation of the Labor Standards Law). When prosecutors declined to indict, the General Union took the matter to the auditors of the Public Prosecutors Office. They have now ruled the original decision “unjust”.


The decision by the prosecutors to drop charges against NOVA for the largest incidence of non-payment of wages since WW2 was wrong.
There had been allegations including fraud and breach of trust made against Sahashi, yet he escaped those charges and was only charged with embezzlement of the employees’ social fund, which was not the main charge the prosecutors were after.

As for the non-payment of wages, even though the amount and the number of employees involved were the biggest ever, the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office dropped the charges against him for the incomprehensible reason that “he had intentions to pay (but he failed.)”

For those politicians who were “close” with Sahashi at the time, including the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry and some LDP MPs, it might have been something that they wanted to hush up quickly.

General Union instructors appealed for re-investigation of charges
This was not acceptable to the hundreds of thousands of angry consumers/students who lost money and 5,000 dismissed employees. And what is the point of the Labor Standards Law if it is not enforced?

So, those non-Japanese instructors and Japanese staff who reported non-payment to the Osaka Chuo Labour Standard Bureau then appealed to the “Committee for the Inquest of the Prosecution” (the auditors of the Public Prosecutors) for a review of the propriety of the decision not to prosecute. On February 12, Osaka No.2 Committee for the Inquest of the Prosecution notified the General Union and the instructors and staff involved that they were “starting our review of the case regarding your appeal on our authority.”

On March 24, the Committee ruled that “the decision by the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office not to prosecute Sahashi was unjust.” The reason they stated for the decision was that “it was foreseeable that the company would have to pay the vast amount of wages, but it was not carried out in good faith.” This puts the finger on the investigation by the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office.

We hope that all the cases will be reopened and all the crimes committed by Sahashi will come to light, and a fair verdict will be passed on all cases, as well as the attempt by the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office to settle the case quickly will be reviewed in court.
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Unread post by In The Know » Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:49 pm

Gizmo wrote: By "Gaba branch" I was referring to the Gaba branch of the General Union, which was founded in 2007. It's 2010.

Here's what the Union did about NOVA. As I said in the last post, whatever they could: http://www.generalunion.org/nova/
Fair enough. I don't doubt that you and the GU mean well, but I guess my frustration lies with the Japanese ministerial bureaucracies, politicians, and big business who continue to have their own interests served first. In Japan, real unions, for the most part, are flies that are quickly and efficiently swatted away.

allblacks

Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by allblacks » Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:59 pm

And that is exactly what happened with that cunt Sahashi. He used probably all remaining favours to get away with most of the stuff he did but had to do some tokenistic time in prison as part of the deal.

By the way
This puts the finger on the investigation by the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office.
So nothing may yet come of it. Chances are that is what will happen.
We hope that all the cases will be reopened and all the crimes committed by Sahashi will come to light, and a fair verdict will be passed on all cases, as well as the attempt by the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office to settle the case quickly will be reviewed in court.


And i hope I win lotto next week mate.

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Re:

Unread post by Gizmo » Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:25 pm

In The Know wrote:
Gizmo wrote: By "Gaba branch" I was referring to the Gaba branch of the General Union, which was founded in 2007. It's 2010.

Here's what the Union did about NOVA. As I said in the last post, whatever they could: http://www.generalunion.org/nova/
Fair enough. I don't doubt that you and the GU mean well, but I guess my frustration lies with the Japanese ministerial bureaucracies, politicians, and big business who continue to have their own interests served first. In Japan, real unions, for the most part, are flies that are quickly and efficiently swatted away.
:agree: Ministerial bureaucracies, politicians, and big business. And not only in Japan, that's for sure. Sigh...

Well, my shift is almost done for the night, so off rant for me. Thanks for the debate, In The Know and AB's. :box: :cheers:
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Re: General Union = Waste of time

Unread post by Gizmo » Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:49 am

Lamarr wrote:Trying to improve the pay and conditions of eikaiwa instructors is a complete waste of time. The pay and conditions are naturally low as it's an unskilled job with a transient workforce, like any backpackers job. I would have thought the vast majority of people spend about year in eikaiwa then move on, to be replaced by another person receiving the starting wage and holiday entitlement. Under those circumstances, how are a tiny handful of pseudo-militant "Unionists" going to achieve anything by "collectively" bargaining for better pay, more holidays, sick days and the like? Or even better, going on strike for it? It's pointless.

Like the poster above says, if you're so bothered about proper pay and conditions, you'd be better off doing like most people do, that is, getting out of eikaiwa and getting into a proper job.
Yeah, I think that's a unique thing about Gaba, which provides little to no assistance with visa and housing. Rather than a backpacker's job, I find at least half of the instructors at my branch are working on spousal visa and have children (which makes abrubtly "moving on" more complicated), and have been at the branch at least two or three years. Not exactly "pseudo-militant unionists." Going on strike hasn't yet been discussed at a meeting I've been to. The concept really is a last resort and usually requires a majority in the company.

I'll take the title "pseudo-militant unionist," though.
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Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by MrX » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:35 am

Something I didn't know about GABA before, from The Japan Times:
Gaba Corp.'s 2009 financial report shows the company is still in the red. Sales dropped 25.9 percent last year and the company lost just over ¥174 million.
Wonder how much longer they'll be around...
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Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by senseiman » Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:47 pm

MrX wrote:Something I didn't know about GABA before, from The Japan Times:
Gaba Corp.'s 2009 financial report shows the company is still in the red. Sales dropped 25.9 percent last year and the company lost just over ¥174 million.
Wonder how much longer they'll be around...
I just read the same article ( http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ ... 019zg.html )and wondered the same thing.

Actually, the statistic I found most shocking was this one:
In 2009, the company spent nearly ¥854 million on advertising and about ¥637 million on labor costs for its 850 independently contracted instructors and 434 employees.
In other words, they spend more on advertising their product than on the product itself. Students are actually mainly paying to be marketed at rather than taught. :bang:

I'm not a business expert, but is that not insane? I could see how in some industries (like say the recording industry) that would be the case, but in a services industry like Eikaiwa? That has got to spell trouble.
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Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by gaijinstanley » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:07 pm

senseiman wrote: In other words, they spend more on advertising their product than on the product itself. Students are actually mainly paying to be marketed at rather than taught. :bang:
I'm not a business expert, but is that not insane? I could see how in some industries (like say the recording industry) that would be the case, but in a services industry like Eikaiwa? That has got to spell trouble.
They are also now paying lawyers to try to shut down the General Union by suing them for 58 million yen. See here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=257722

teachjapan
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Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by teachjapan » Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:51 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm pretty new to this. I was thinking about working for Gaba, but obviously feel a bit apprehensive after reading some of the messages on here.

I was just wondering if anyone had a copy of their employment contract? I'd like to read it over.

(Of course, you can remove your name on the contract.)

Anyhow. I really appreciate your help. Thank you so much in advance!

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RalphWiggum
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Re: Gaba English Schools: WARNING FOR ALL!

Unread post by RalphWiggum » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:51 am

Damn, how do you even remember your login details when you average one post per year???

Can't help with the contract, and I doubt there's anyone here still working for any of the big eikaiwas. I'd rather punch my cock off than work for GABA based on their reputation when I left Japan 6 years ago. I bet things haven't improved any since then. Good luck though!
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