Union Sues Marist Brothers International School

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On October 9th (2018), the General Union filed an application at the Osaka Prefectural Labour Commission suing Marist Brothers International School for their violation of the Trade Union Law.

The union had been trying unsuccessfully for a couple of months to get Marist Brothers to the collective bargaining table over their unfair contract non-renewal of a teacher who returned to work after taking maternity leave.

The union charges that Marist Brothers, not wanting to renew a contract which would have lead to a future unlimited term contract, unfairly ended the employment of the teacher - without any warnings - over what they claim to be the teachers "problems" at work.

Instead of dealing with the problem in collective bargaining, the employer - through their lawyers - have put unilateral conditions on how and where we can meet with them.

The employer refuses to hold collective bargaining on school grounds having first stated that evening hours were not good for the school.

However, even when the union offered afternoon hours, the employer still refused stating that they want a neutral location.

Employers have no right to unilaterally refuse the union's suggested location.

One of the union's concerns was that a rental room off the school's premises comes with a time limit.

We are happy to set a mutually agreed upon time limit, but not one set solely by the employer - especially when the employer has an entire school to use.

Marist Brothers further inflamed the situation by stating that if collective bargaining required more time they would "be open to discuss the possibility of scheduling another session".

Possibility?

Clearly, this employer does not understand their obligation under the Trade Union Law to meet with a union when the union submits demands.  

The employer went on to demand a set agenda and pre-arranged questions one week prior to collective bargaining as a condition for collective bargaining.

An agenda is a fair request from the employer - and the union has clearly provided the agenda from day one: "renew the employment contract of the union member". 

The union's experience is that when an employer puts unreasonable conditions on collective bargaining, it is just a prelude to collective bargaining in bad faith.

In order to get the employer to negotiate seriously it was necessary to sue the employer at the labour commission.

We hope that other employers see this message and realise that failure to negotiate with the union will lead to all sorts of problems and that it's best to sit with the union in good faith to try to solve problems.


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