A Cool 50: GU end-of-summer University Campaign - Hands Off Our Koma! Don't touch!

Part-time GU members at 50 universities and colleges are demanding that their employers do not cut any koma (lessons) from their schedules in 2023. We have been running this campaign since 2010 and we find it a proactive way to deal with potential koma cuts. Before this time, the union dealt with koma cuts as they happened and learned a very valuable lesson; once koma cuts have been made, it is often difficult to get them back ever.

Part-timers spend years building a schedule that will support them and their families. Piecing together days and periods, travelling to different locations every day and even in the same day that one change in days, one cut in koma, can send their livelihoods tumbling.

That's why we've been running our Hands Off Our Koma campaign and seen more and more members sign up to it demanding job security from their employers.

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Unlimited Term Contracts at Universities and Colleges

www.bit.ly/UTC-article-J (日本語)

Unlimited Term Contract Application: http://gu.generalunion.org/UTCapplication

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Did you know that as of 2018, those having worked continuously for five years at the same university are eligible for an unlimited term contract?

Q: Unlimited term contract (UTC)? What’s that?

It’s an employment contract without an arbitrary end date and is a new right that came along with an amendment to the Labour Contract Law in 2013.

Many of us currently work on one-year contracts which require a renewal year to year, but a UTC requires no renewal. This means that if an employer wants to get rid of you, basically they would have to fire you; not just wait out the year and then refuse to give you another contract.

Does this mean you have a job for life with the exact number of koma on the same exact day and time? No, but it does mean that if all remains the same (student numbers, curriculum, etc) you can keep working and we would argue, should be able to retain your koma (the latter part has still to be tested out in court).

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2022/7/20 Tokyo High Court: Ruling rejecting avoidance of unlimited-term conversion due to abuse of "10-year special exception"

On July 20, 2022, the Tokyo High Court ruled in favor of the Tokyo District Court's December 16, 2021 ruling that approved the "unlimited-term conversion based on more than five years of service" of a part-time lecturer at Senshu University.

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Overview of the Case

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2022/7/12 Statement by Science Council of Japan on "mass dismissal"

At the end of March 2023, there are fears of the massive dismissal of limited-term contract researchers and teachers at universities and research and development institutions nationwide.

This is one of the moves to "avoid the conversion to unlimited-term contracts."

On July 12, 2022, the Executive Committee of the Science Council of Japan issued a statement on this issue.

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Kyoto Gaidai Leafletting Action: Calling all members!

Monday, 25 April
08:15 meet at KYOTO SAIIN STATION south gate
08:30 to 09:15 Leafletting Action at front gates of university

Kyoto Gaidai University is notorious for its harsh policy during the corona-virus pandemic of forcing teachers with underlying conditions to take an unpaid leave of absence.

Union member David Waddell received the shocking cancer diagnosis just 5 weeks before the end of the Spring semester. He asked to be allowed to finish his classes online in an on-demand format while he received urgent cancer treatment. However, Kyoto Gaidai applied its policy without mercy and got another teacher to take over until the end of the semester leaving David with zero wages during this period.

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Click to Support The Union's Doshisha Dispute

30 August Online Information Picket

The union has received a lot of press attention around our current dispute with Doshisha, but we still need your help in publicising the information and helping us protest to Doshisha.

In a nutshell, the dispute is about (read more about the union at Doshisha)

  • Age-based, discriminatory wage cuts at Doshisha University (cased filed with Kyoto District Court-Labour Tribunal)
  • Unpaid wages due to pay for all work done at Doshisha Girls Junior & Senior High School (case filed with Kyoto Kami Labour Standards Office)
  • Evasion of the unlimited term contract provisions in the Labour Contract Law by limiting employment to ten years.
  • Failure to negotiate with the union and dismissals of union members (case filed with Osaka Prefectural Labour Commission)

You can also help us spread the word about the dispute and urge Doshisha to negotiate fairly with the union to resolve these matters by adding this story to your Facebook feed or Twitter feed.

"D"oshisha Day action dispute

 On August 19th the General Union filed 5 actions against Doshisha after fruitless attempts at negotiations. After trying to the utmost to get Doshisha to negotiate, it was clear that they had no interest in offering any ideas to resolve the myriad problems raised by members.
The Union announced its intention to enter into dispute here: (https://www.generalunion.org/higher-eduction/2374-union-prepares-dispute-against-doshsisha)

First thing in the morning, we went to the Labor Commission to seek relief for 3 cases of dismissal of union members as a result of their membership and refusal of collective bargaining.

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Hands Off! Don't Touch Our Koma! - Updated

Union begins survey of union members in preparation to defend 2022 koma.

Non-members also welcome to take the survey.

Every year since 2011, about this time of year the union begins thinking about our members' koma in the next year and how to prevent them from being reduced.

This is because we decided that the best way to prevent cuts in koma is not to wait till they are lost, but to act first. We do this by surveying members to check which university they want to declare their union membership to as part of our union demands for NO REDUCTION in their next year's koma. Most universities have reacted very well to this by not cutting union members’ koma.

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Kobe Shoin Women's University Sued At Osaka Labour Commission

Uncooperative And Uncompromising: Kobe Shoin Wins Trip To Osaka

In the middle of a pandemic and state of emergency, Kobe Shoin Women's University did what no other university, board of education, or private company have done: they refused to hold negotiations online.

Not only did we ask for collective bargaining in the middle of a pandemic, the demands themselves were over keeping union members online after the state of emergency ended on 11 May.

Their answer? “Sure we'll meet you. Come to our university in Hyogo Prefecture after 19:00 and we'll be happy to chat."

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Hands Off! Don't touch our Koma!

Union launches campaign for NO REDUCTION in 2022 koma!

Every year since 2011, about this time of year the union begins thinking about our members' koma in the next year and how to prevent them from being reduced.

This is because we decided that the best way to prevent cuts in koma is not to wait till they are lost, but to act first. We do this by surveying members to check which university they want to declare their union membership to as part of our union demands for NO REDUCTION in their next year's koma. Most universities have reacted very well to this by not cutting union members’ koma.

For example, in the 2020 academic year...

Demands sent to: 37 universities covering 125 member jobs
No koma cuts: 34 universities covering 118 member jobs
Koma cut: 3 universities covering 6 member jobs

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Union Prepares Dispute Against Doshisha

For many months now the union has been trying to settle a number of different problems with Doshisha.

As you may know, Doshisha is a major and important institution in the Kansai area and as an organisation with a good reputation.

The union expects that they take their labour relations seriously and act responsibly to meet their obligations to their employees. 

As you can imagine we were shocked when Doshisha answered these obligations with intransigence and even fired back with contract non-renewals of union members working in the girls junior and senior high school.

So what problems was the union trying to settle?

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University & College Pandemic Response - UPDATED

The General Union sent information requests to 75 universities and senmon gakko across Japan where members and consultees work.

We asked the following:

1. That all universities do not restart face-to-face classes from the second semester.

2. That teachers, especially those with either certified or uncertified underlying mental or physical health conditions or due to a more advanced age, or live with others in the same situation, be allowed to teach online.

3. As hybrid approaches that use both online and face-to-face lessons put a lot of extra burden on teachers, teachers not be required to prepare for hybrid approaches.

4. That your university be transparent in reporting outbreaks of Coronavirus at the institution" and/or "among faculties, students and staff".

Approximately one-third have responded, you can find the information of the universities we wrote to and those that responded by clicking here.

General Union Sues Sugiyama Jogakuen Educational Corporation At Osaka Prefectural Labor Commission

Sugiyama Jogakuen Educational Corporation, having repeatedly broken the law, was on its last chance to resolve things voluntarily through negotiation.

After that, the Corporation responded to the General Union’s demand for collective bargaining by saying that "the decision of our Board of Trustees is not going to change, so holding collective bargaining is meaningless", sending the Union a notice refusing to even have negotiations at all.

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Osaka Shoin And "The 5 Year Rule" (Part 1)

Teachers with limited-term (usually one year) contracts make up a large proportion of the teachers at universities, colleges, and high schools across Japan.

In 2013, an amendment to the Labor Contract Act, aimed to give increased security to workers on limited term contracts.

Article 19 of the act states that after renewal of such a contract, further renewals shall not be refused without reasonable grounds.

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Osaka Shoin And "The 5 Year Rule" (Part 2)

Original title: The Osaka Labor Bureau's comments on avoiding conversion to unlimited-term contract

Part 1 here

To better understand this topic, you should know the background of this situation. In short, the union strongly believes (and has evidence) that Osaka Shoin are dismissing (via non-renewing) employees at both the high school and university to avoid granting unlimited term contracts as required by the new “5 year rule”.

Collective Bargaining is ongoing, but the university has yet to retract the dismissals.

As part of our fight to save teachers’ jobs, the General Union has lodged a complaint at the Osaka Labor Bureau, and they have since visited the school to offer “guidance”.

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Two wins for Ichishin cram school workers

On June 25th, the Tokyo Labor Relations Commission ruled in favor of the National Union of General Workers Tokyo Tobu, Ichishin Gakuin Local, finding that Ichishin Gakuin, a major cram school, illegal refused to extend the annual contracts of two union members and refused to allow the union president to teach a class, in an attempt to weaken the union.

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Kobe Shoin Women's University

As well as reducing the number of classes taught by some long-standing teachers, the University is attempting to let go all four of the teachers who were freshly hired last year.

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Osaka U: Massive cuts to come for part-timers

Part-time teachers at Osaka Univeristy (Handai) got a shock in October when the university administration unveiled plans at an information meeting to cut the number of part-time teachers in their faculty to zero in three years.

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Tezukayama U and sudden class cancellations

As we have reported previously Nara Labour Standard's Office ordered Tezukayama University to pay a General Union 60% of their wages for a class the university had cancelled due to the low student enrolment in the class.

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Union gears up to protect university jobs in 2012

For the second straight year General Union members working at universities are not waiting around in fear of losing classes in the next academic year. Our members are taking a proactive approach and are having the union submit demands for no reduction in koma or worsening of working conditions in the 2012 academic year.

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Losing koma after contract signed due to enrollment?

Is it in your employment contract that your second semester class (and your pay) could be cancelled? The General Union has found this cropping up more and more and is intent on stopping this practice, and recently we did.

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Koma cuts. Don't wait for it to happen

For part-timers in particular, working at universities and private schools, a lack of job security is a very big problem. For years the General Union has been advocating a proactive approach to members in fighting against koma cuts and worsening working conditions.

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Tezukayama University: Mid-year koma cuts unfair

How many of you would agree to the following contract? 1. Keep a full year free to work for us. 2. If there’s work, we’ll pay you. 3. If there’s no work, we’ll pay you one month and then nothing more. Unfortunately, many university teachers are having to sign such contracts.

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Welcome to the Schools and Colleges Branch

Ever seen these three letters, SAC, and wondered what they stood for?

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Schools and Colleges Branch presents:"Being proactive and avoiding isolation in your workplace"

Friday, 18 June at 7:30PM Murphy's Pub in Shinsaibashi This short talk and discussion will focus on the things you can do to head off trouble in your workplace before they become more serious. It will also look at how the union can function effectively in taking up individual grievances and resolving members problems.

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Health and Pension Insurance in Japan? What's the difference?

The General Union has put out a lot of information in regards to Shakai Hoken (public health and pension insurance), but did you know that most workers in private schools, including universities, are enrolled in an even better scheme?

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Hannan University Teachers - "Thanks GU. No koma cuts in 2010"

The General Union (GU) members at Hannan University are very grateful to the union for helping them avoid koma cuts next year.

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Do you work at St. Thomas University?

In light of St. Thomas University’s (owned by Eichi Gakuin) decision to stop all new enrollment with the aim of closing the university in the near future, General Union members at this university have submitted demands for collective bargaining.

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University Class Cancellations - GU Wins Settlement in Nagoya

Many GU members teach part-time at universities and colleges. Working as a part-timer at such institutions has its good points, but it also has a major downside because it’s so insecure.

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Ryukoku University, GU reach agreement 龍谷大学で合意

Last October, Ryukoku University announced cuts in classes for part-time teachers in the Faculty of Intercultural Communication at the Seta Campus.

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To part-time teachers at Meijo University

Greetings!This is a joint message from the General Union (GU) and Tokai Part-time University Teachers’ Union (PUTU).

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

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Stable employment means better education

In this day and age when anyone can go to university and when the number of under-subscribed universities is increasing, we can sometimes forget that some places are doing well.

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Special Dispatching News

While companies have been dispatching teachers to private schools and universities for many years, changes in the dispatching law and the push to deregulation have given more of an impetus to the use of dispatch companies.

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Stop outsourcing at Mukogawa Womens University

From 2006, Mukogawa Women’s University (MWU) has been outsourcing English education to a major English school whose main purpose is to maximize profits.

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Prior consultation agreement with Ryukoku University 龍谷大学との事前協議制

On 6 March 2007, along with a grievance system, we negotiated a Jizen Kyogi (prior consultation) agreement with Ryukoku University

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Universities roundup - December 2007

Osaka Kogyo Daigaku & Setsunan Daigaku Negotiations were held with these two colleges (part of the same group) on November 20.

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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

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SAC Branch Survey Results

Many respondents were interested in shakai hoken for part-timers. In this regard, Japanese law does not differentiate between full- and part-time workers.

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University in Kyoto settles hiring muddle

One member had an interview at a university in Kyoto, and was offered the job, but the offer was later withdrawn as it was realised that he did not have the necessary qualifications (even though he had explicitly pointed this out in his resume).

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Kyoto Seika Daigaku

In the last issue of the e-news we reported on a University in Kyoto which was planning to arbitrarily change part-time lecturers' contracts to their disadvantage. We are happy to report that after all the teachers joined the union, and a show of solidarity, Kyoto Seika Daigaku, has pulled back from the changes, for now.

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February 2005 University Roundup

from the February 2005 National Union Voice

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Nagoya : Institute of Technology

As part of its privatisation restructuring plan, Nagoya Institute of Technology is non-renewing part-timers en masse, Japanese and foreign at the end of March.

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Nagoya XXX University

A member has been working at this university, with 2 koma (classes) per week, for over 5 years.

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Kyoto Gaidai - Union stops koma cuts

One member came to us after notification of a koma cut, and after discussion with the union was convinced not to allow the cut to go ahead.

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December 2004 University Roundup

Otemon University: Union victory over koma cuts. The university has withdrawn their proposed cuts for a union member.

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February 2004 University Roundup

from the February 2004 National Union Voice

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University teachers demand unemployment insurance rights

The National Unemployment Insurance (Koyou Hoken) is running a deficit and the government is attempting to increase contributions to pay for it.

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Union Makes Progress at Kangaku

On October 17th 2000 the General Union held negotiations with Kwansei Gakuin University.

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Kangaku Pay Cut blocked

The second round of negotiations between The General Union and the Kangaku administration took place on February 29th.

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Kangaku Teachers Oppose Pay-cut

Kwansei Gakuin announced a proposed 30% pay-cut, which is to begin in the spring term of 2000, for part-time foreign teachers in the English department.

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