Nagoya Gaidai: GU wins improved working conditions for language tutors.

Negotiate to winThe General Union branch at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies (NUFS) has made steady progress over the last year,  in particular by improving working conditions for PUT tutors. These are part-time teachers, working on language programs, who are paid on a per-lesson basis. This means that if teachers are unable to teach classes for any reason, for example sickness or classes cancelled because of typhoons, they have not been paid. Unlike most part-time university teachers, including those at NUFS the nature of the program makes it difficult for them to teach make-up classes and they are not paid for the summer, winter and spring breaks.

The General Union has raised with the school the fact that these workers are entitled to benefits under the Labour Standards Law, such as annual paid leave. In negotiations in December, the school agreed that PUT tutors were entitled to paid leave and said that this was in fact in their working regulations and denied ever having turned down a request for annual paid leave from these workers. The union argued that in the past tutors had been refused their annual paid leave. While disputing this, the school agreed at negotiations in December that if the General Union could produce evidence of instances where this had happened they would pay the teachers for these classes. Already individual union members have been granted paid annual leave and we are now informing tutors of their rights. 

At the December negotiations administration also agreed, in principle, to change the pay system for this group of workers to a similar system to normal part-timers, with pay spread over the 12 month period. They had promised this at earlier negotiations, on condition that the tutors themselves supported it. The union organised a survey amongst the tutors and support for the change was overwhelming. We didn’t receive a single response opposed to the change. While the details  need to be worked out with management, and we will need further negotiations, this would be a big step forward as it would eliminate problems such as payment for typhoon days.

The December negotiations also brought good news for full-time contract teachers on the English Language Program (ELP). The GU raised teachers' fears about possible cuts in research funds with the university.  In response to our demand for an increased individual research budget the university informed us that while it couldn’t agree to this there and then at the negotiations, it was likely that the amount would be increased from 100,000 yen to 150,000 yen in the 2015 academic year.

If you are a PUTs Tutor and are wondering how to avail of the paid annual leave, contact the union for further details.

 

 

 


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