Okayama City Board of Education forced to apologize

Many Boards of Education recognize the legal obligation to negotiate with the General Union some out there try to escape their legal duty. Okayama City BoE is one of those.

The union submitted demands to the BoE on three occasions but the board continually refused to accept negotiations. In the course of our investigations it turned out that the BoE had underhandedly changed the teachers’ status from direct hire to independent contractors. The BoE had changed the teachers’ contracts and tricked them into signing something they had no understanding of. To make matters worse, the new contracts obscured the employment status in language so vague that even native Japanese speakers could not determine the teachers’ status. Fed up with the Board’s attitude, the union decided to lodge an unfair labor practice case with the Osaka Labor Relations Commission. After examining the duties of the teachers, the Labor Commission sided with the union and recommended mediation on the basis that in refusing to negotiate, Okayama City Board of Education would be breaking Trade Union Law. As part of a settlement brokered by the Commission, a labor agreement was signed and the Okayama City Board of Education issued a formal apology. We hope that this will send a message to other Boards of Education – fulfill your legal obligations and come to the negotiation table.

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