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GU Home > GU News > Tokai Nagoya Chubu News - 24 Mar 2009


organize Greetings!

This is a joint message from the General Union (GU) and Tokai Part-time University Teachers’ Union (PUTU). We co-operate to defend and improve the working conditions of university teachers in the Tokai area. Both the GU and the PUTU have members at Meijo, and this year will see us negotiating with the University to raise their conditions. We invite you to share the benefits that Union membership has already brought to teachers at universities such as Ritsumeikan, Osaka Kogyo, Osaka Shoin, Kwansei Gakuin, and Ryukoku in Kansai, and Ohka Gakuen and Kinjo in Tokai.

We believe that stable employment for teachers and quality of education go hand in hand. At some institutions however, the priority is to cut costs by "downsizing" with no regard for the interests of faculty or students. A few universities in Kansai have decided to outsource language teaching to dispatch companies. This makes laying language teachers off a whole lot easier. (How long will it be until dispatch working gains a foothold in this area?) Other institutions of higher learning set arbitrary term limits on teaching staff employment. And then there is the common practice of taking the very highest estimate of student intake and offering classes to teachers on that basis. When the expected number of students doesn’t materialise, classes are just cancelled at the start of the semester without compensation for those to whom they were promised. This is a highly advantageous arrangement for universities, but it’s a raw deal for teachers, especially if they have turned down classes at one institution on the strength of a promise of classes at another.

We say that universities should get their numbers right... or pay teachers anyway.

Some people believe that all they can trust in is luck and their own resources. As a Union member however, you will find that there is strength in unity, just as members at other universities have done. Working together with the union and your fellow teachers, you CAN get a hearing for your concerns, and you CAN have a say in how your workplace is run.

We believe that the relationship between employer and workers should be fair and beneficial to both sides. In the case of universities, teachers should work diligently for the sake of their students. Employers of teachers should accept responsibility towards them as human beings, instead of treating them as throwaway resources. Yet there are many universities which fail to enrol part-time teachers on the private schools health insurance fund, depriving them of the minimum social protection enjoyed by most other workers. There's no good reason to think of this situation as "normal". It isn’t!

"I’ll join the Union if I have a problem..." By that time, a solution might already be impossible. Experience shows that establishing a relationship between a Union branch and a university and negotiating long-term safeguards for teachers’ conditions is a better strategy than calling on a union to attempt to spot-fix problems as they arise.

The GU has fought pay cuts, reductions in the number of classes, and non-renewal of teachers’ contracts at universities in Kansai. Now, together with the PUTU, we will be bargaining with Meijo University for better conditions for our members. Why not join us to win a better life for yourself and your family?

Please contact us to find out more and feel free to share your concerns with us.

Tel/Fax: (052) 561-8555

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