Union wins job back for fired disabled Nova teacher

Nova recently fired a long term employee, and union member, due to his disability. This was part of a series of actions harassing our member because he is disabled. Needing the job badly, our member had stood by as they cut his work hours 2 years running, along with cutting his shakai hoken (health insurance & pension).

The union had raised the initial cuts with Nova but they would not budge. The member’s health condition is worsened when placed under stress so unfortunately, on the previous occasions he decided to not pursue the issues. It was a different matter this time round though. We were outraged here in the union office when we heard of the latest shenanigans. Demands were immediately submitted for negotiations and the withdrawal of the non-renewal. Organizers got to work and quickly had 10 people ready to attend negotiations, including a Nova student who began forming a student support group. The attendance of the student would be a surprise for Nova management. There were also rumblings of a possible demonstration immediately prior to negotiations. This was put on hold until we at least knew if Nova were going to play ball or not.

Negotiations were held August 21 at Nova's Multi-Media Center building. Talks quickly became heated when Nova said they could not give an answer there and then, and would need to go and think about it. Some of us were up for an immediate demonstration but cooler heads prevailed, and discussions continued. The chair of the union, Yamahara Katsuji, blasted management for their disregard for humanity, along with removing the teacher from shakai hoken, while knowing the teacher was disabled. In fact, the teacher had been certified fit to work by a doctor of Nova's choosing.

Result Finally though, Nova agreed to rescind the non-renewal. While we have won jobs back in the past, this was a historic first with the company backing down in the first round of bargaining. We insisted it be put in writing before we left. Other matters such as an increase in working hours and shakai hoken were not decided but we expect it to be resolved shortly.

The Lesson We can win things at Nova if we stick together and are committed. Would you like to see things improved at Nova? Contact us to get involved.

Additional information