Friday, November 19, 2010

Eikoh's purchase of Shane: A beginner's guide

Shane has been bought, and it is in less than sensational circumstances, but will leave its employees in an unstable and confusing situation from now until at least this time next year. So here are some early thoughts on the situation.

  • The company did not go down (Nova) and has not gone bankrupt before purchase (Geos).
  • For all the rumors, criticisms and scorn, Mr. Shane is not a crook that has been caught (unlike Nova's Saruhashi, who has). Is a "yet" necessary in that last sentence?
  • No overseas scandal (Geos Australia) led to the sale of Shane.
  • Nobody has been laid off (well, since the last time Japanese staff in Shane offices were laid off anyway).
  • This sale is not the sale of an innovative start up to a major company like Google. It's one dead end company getting sold to a hardened Japanese education business. The future does not look bright.
  • Eikaiwa, as a whole, is on the decline.
  • Large scale - and long needed - investment on equipment and facilities for Shane schools is now unlikely.
  • An environment of fear, and back stabbing, is likely to come about as teachers and administrative staff learn any bad news over the coming months.
  • Leave. Seriously. If you have the opportunity to do so, leave Eikoh. It isn't the company that Shane was and new hurdles are likely to be much more of a factor in working life than new benefits. (NOTE: Some post-Nova G.Comm teachers are happy in their new company, but most left.)
  • Ask for documentation on any changes to take place, ask for documentation on conditions, ask for documentation on what is to stay the same. Ask for those documents to be signed by somebody with legal authority at Eikoh, or stamped.
  • Record meetings via a dictaphone, iPhone or a computer program such as Audacity.
  • Seek advice from either a Labour Standards Office or the Tokyo General Union.
  • Talk with colleagues, Shane-era bosses and on social networking sites. Figure out what is going on as clearly as possible and expect the worst - did G.Comm have students or teachers in mind when it merged Nova and Geos? Why should Eikoh think of you, who it never hired in the first place?
Read a brief translation of Eikoh's statement on its purchase of Shane here.

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