Building a stronger GU and labour movement in 2022

A happy New Year to all members and supporters.

We would especially like to extend a warm welcome to our new Kyushu members as the Fukuoka General Union has merged with our union as of 1 January.

Today is 4 January and the union is already facing a busy calendar to kick off the new year.

Collective bargaining is being set for Takarazuka Board of Education, Ashikaga Board of Education, ALC Education, GABA, ECC, Doshisha Girls School, Osaka University, Kyoto Gaidai, and Nagoya International School. Issues at these workplaces range from individual grievances to job security and dealing with the pandemic in 2022.

Mentioning Nagoya International School, while we hope that negotiations will resolve the problem of a dismissed union member we are also preparing for a dispute against this school. We are planning for a picketing contingent to visit this workplace to advertise our problems in the hope that we can resolve this issue once and for all.

Also, since we plan to be in the Aichi area, we are also onsidering visiting Aichi Prefectural University where in the final collective bargaining session of 2021, they informed us that they have set up a four-year limit in order to stop part timers from becoming unlimited term contract workers. In their own words, the university stated that part-time teachers are temporary supplements to classes given by full-time teachers and are not expected to be employed indefinitely (more on this news in the days to come). This contract limit is on top of their salary cuts for foreign part time instructors and our concerns over unfair labour practices.

The GU also has numerous committees that will be working hard on in 2022. Our Solidarity Committee, set up to offer support to other unions in dispute, is also looking at the issues of poverty, as well as issues that particularly affect immigrants and refugees in Japan. Our New Deal for ALTs Committee is now putting together a national campaign to advocate on behalf of all ALTs across Japan, regardless of their employment status, on issues including social insurance and low wages especially for dispatched ALTs. We are putting forward the idea of national standards to improve not only working conditions, but the quality of foreign language education at elementary, junior and senior high schools.

Other things to look out for. A full report of our 15 December negotiations with the central government over unlimited term contracts, retirement, and ALTs will soon be out, and in March we hope to offer a public seminar on new equal pay for equal work laws, and changes to social insurance laws which should make it easier for enrolment for many workers.

The GU is also again expanding our staff numbers in order to better serve our members. We will be taking on our third full-time staffer and adding a Japanese speaking negotiator on a part-time basis.

The increase in staff along with experienced workplace activists put us in a strong position to continue growing in 2022 so that we can continue our struggles to maintain and improve working conditions as well as building fairer workplaces for all.


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