Stabilizing employment in the university sector.GU wins Jizen Kyogi (JK) Agreements

Demand that schools consult with your union regarding any changes to your employment by winning a prior consultation agreement

A Jizen Kyogi (JK) agreement is a ‘prior consultation’ agreement between the union and the employer which usually means that no change in union members’ working conditions should be made without first consulting the union. This does not mean that your employer cannot change your working conditions if the union disagrees, but it does put an end to unilateral decisions made at the last minute. How will things change with a JK agreement? Working conditions include wages, working hours, place of work, health insurance, pensions, etc. Koma (number of classes) for part time teachers and working hours for part time staff are also considered to be included in ‘working conditions’. All these issues are cause for great concern for full and part time teachers and staff on one year contracts. With a JK agreement you should have ample notice regarding any changes to your working conditions and a chance to negotiate the changes before time runs out. Some JK agreements also have a clause stipulating that before any changes take place the union must agree to the change, therefore guaranteeing that a sufficient reason is provided for the change. A JK agreement may also provide a certain deadline by which any changes must be made. Once the deadline passes, changes to your contract become more difficult to make. 2005 JK Negotiations at Universities In 2005 we negotiated JK agreements with the following universities. Kyoto Seika University In a letter in response to the union’s demand for a JK system, Seika has promised the union that: In case of non-renewals and cuts in koma for the coming year, Seika will notify the union during the first semester. After class registration in the second semester (October) they will consult over the content of the lessons for the coming year. In cases where there is a possibility of classes not opening, they will consult in advance. Osaka Kogyo Daigaku In a letter to the General Union’s demands over a JK system, Osaka Kogyo Dai has promised the union that they will: Show a proposal and confirm next year’s koma at the beginning of September. Confirm days and number of koma for the coming year at the end of October. Contact the union as soon as pos- sible in cases of major changes to the curriculum. Osaka Shoin Daigaku The union and Shoin have entered into a collective agreement which includes the following: If it becomes necessary to make changes regarding the coming year’s working conditions (cuts in number of koma, changes in the times of lessons, etc.) the university will notify the teachers concerned. Also, they will immediately inform the union branch chair in the workplaces of the teachers concerned. Furthermore, if the teachers concerned have any objection to the notification, Shoin will confer with the union. It is essential to draw up an agreement on prior consultation suited to the nature of the work and the workplace. And even when such an agreement already exists, it is necessary to keep trying to revise it to make it even better. A labour agreement on prior consultation is an agreement between the union and the employer which is only applicable to union members. Even if there is a prior consultation labour agreement in your workplace, it will not be applicable to you if you are not a member of the union. In the Constitution of Japan, the right of workers to organize and to bargain and act collectively is guaranteed, for each and every worker in the country. Join the union, and let’s act together to improve your workplace. from Summer 2006 National Union Voice

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