Teachers fight to stay on at Kyoto Sangyo University.

   A dedicated cohort of university English teachers at Kyoto Sangyo university have been contributing to teaching at that school for many years. Their contribution is highly valued by students and their employers. They have settled into life in Kyoto, had families and have  children attending Kyoto schools. In spite of their experience, dedication and commitment,  they are being told by Kyoto Sangyo that they have to go.  Please keep these union members in mind as they seek negotiations to keep their jobs.

 

   The infamous ‘10 year rule’ has been used by a variety of universities in Japan to deny needed job security for teachers at Japanese higher educational institutions. Normally, the Labor Contract Act confers an obligation on employers to offer an unlimited term contract to workers after 5 years of continuous employment. Universities through the dubious use  of ‘Term of Office’ contracts are exploiting a loophole to deny job security to their part-time and full time employees. We think that ‘Term of Office’ contracts may be being abused by employers. Also it makes no sense to get rid of experienced teachers who have settled in and replace them with untested people. Teachers are the key to the success of any educational institution.

 

  If you are a university teacher and have any questions about the ten year rule, are being asked to resign in 2023 and are not sure why, please seek a consultation with the General Union.

GU Sues Ecole Internationale Franco Japonaise - No employer too small or too far for us to deal with!

The union has been trying to engage this Kanto employer in collective bargaining over the dismissal of a union member for many months now. 

They have written to us explaining that AFTER hiring the member, they learned that she was not properly licensed and therefore had no choice but to end her employment. Unfortunately, they came across this information AFTER hiring the member for one year. They tend not to understand that it was their job to be properly informed and it wasn't because our member hid any information in the interview. A contract is a promise!

Their lack of understanding also came out in their basic refusual to hold collective bargaining. We received long "stream of consciousness" emails about their mission, and how the GU was interfering in the realisation of their goals. Too bad that their clever emails didn't have the advice of a lawyer who would have told them about their obligation under article 7 of the Trade Union Law to hold negotiations with the union.

Read more...

GU vs Doshisha in the news across Japan

Between 12 and 13 August about 45 websites carried two Kyodo News stories outlining General Union plans to sue Doshisha University "Doshisha University: 30% reduction in salary for 60-year-old foreign associate professor goes to Labour Tribunal", and Doshisha Girls Junior and Senior High School, "Doshisha teachers request corrective guidance from the Labor Standards Inspection Office over 'unpaid wages'"

The articles outline the problems faced by General Union members and the union's plans to bring suit against Doshisha Educational Corporation on 19 August. On the same day the union will also file three separate unfair labour practices suits against the school for unequal treatment of union members and refusal to negotiate with the union.

Read more...

Mandatory Retirement as an "Unreasonable Dismissal”

The ongoing labour dispute at Shitennoji University (IBU)

Like the rest of Japan, the General Union is facing an aging membership and issues of retirement are at the forefront of our work. As a labour union, we do not want a society where everyone is forced to work till death, but we also recognise that many of our members are part time workers with no pensions and cannot simply retire.

Many of our members, especially at universities, are on unlimited term contracts and some universities, in an attempt to undermine this employment security, have established unreasonable retirement conditions despite the status of our members as unlimited term contract workers. While there is nothing in the law that bans the establishment of a retirement age, there is nothing in the law that limits how old you can be when you apply or get an unlimited term contract. This makes it highly unlikely that a retirement age set for only one or two years after conversion to an unlimited term contract can be considered reasonable. This is because these retirement regulations would be undermining the benefits set out in the Labour Contract Law. namely of employment security. 

In the case below, our dealings with the ministry of labour, is leading us to the conclusion that forced retirement, especially in cases where the unlimited term contract was granted for only a few years prior, could be treated as a unreasonable dismissal, not a retirement.

Read more...

Twice Aichi Pref Uni Has Backed Down Against the GU

Now it’s Time to Overturn the 20% Pay Cut & Win a Big Pay Rise for Japanese non-regular workers

(click the image to download a PDF for your friends)

Both Japanese and foreign non-regular workers at Aichi Prefectural University have something big in common: Twenty percent (or one-fifth) of your per-koma pay is what binds you together.

APU hopes that that they can use nationality to divide you and keep wages low, our union wants to get you together to improve your working life!

Read more...

Unlimited Term Contracts at Universities

The General Union, NUGW Tokyo Nambu, and Fukuoka General Union ran a seminar on 6 December for university teachers about unlimited term contracts.

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).

Read more...

New 2020 System Leads To Wage Cuts For ALTs

alt cuts money august 2020The General Union has been dealing with consultations and grievances from union and non-union members at many different boards of education regarding pay cuts since the new “KAIKEI NENDO NINYO SHOKUIN” system went into place for direct-hire ALTs.

As part of the new system, bonuses are allowed (but not mandated), so many boards of education have started to pay bonuses in June and December. Great!

Unfortunately, even with bonuses, many people have seen their salaries stay the same as they were before the “KAIKEI NENDO NINYO SHOKUIN” system took effect, and some have even seen their salary reduced...

Read more...

Demands Sent To 75 Universities And Colleges To Stop Face-to-Face Lessons

stop face to faceAfter a meeting attended by union members working in universities and professional training colleges (senmon gakko), due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, the General Union has submitted demands to 75 universities.

You can find the responses as they come in by clicking here.

Union members view the possibility of a return to face-to face-lessons amidst an explosive new growth in coronavirus infections with both anxiety and alarm.

While we understand that many universities are being pressured by MEXT and even parents to reopen campuses as soon as possible, if university campuses resume face-to-face lessons thousands of employees and students will be put at risk.

There is now considerable evidence that university age students, although less likely to develop serious symptoms, can be a major vector in the spread of the virus to those working in universities, to their classmates, and to their families.

Our members and our union believe that the resumption of on-campus classes at the present time would be a disastrous move from the standpoint of public health.

Read more...

Ritsumeikan University Lands Itself In Trouble

In Japan, companies and schools must follow certain procedures for any overtime to be allowed under the law.

The Labour Standards Law requires that a workers’ representative, elected by a majority of ALL workers (not just those who vote), sign off on an overtime agreement. This means that the elected representative then has the power to permit (or refuse) overtime to take place. Without the proper election of this workers’ representative, any work over 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week is NOT allowed.

In reality, the representative is often a stooge put forward by management to meet legal requirements - as what worker would have the audacity to say no and block all overtime?

Not only would the representative be in strife with their employer, but most likely also with coworkers who rely upon a certain amount of paid overtime to make ends meet.

Read more...

Does The Punishment Fit The Behaviour?

As a union, we believe that certain employee behaviour can, at times, warrant justifiable discipline (and even dismissal) under a fair set of working rules. Even so, this case raises some moral questions.

Many of you will have heard of the Kwansaei Gakuin lecturer who made a comment about seeing if a student from Fukushima Prefecture would "glow in the dark" (allegedly after turning off the lights in the classroom, according to some media). Fukushima, as you probably well know, is still experiencing the effects of a nuclear meltdown and the negative stigma that media saturation / sensationalism has caused.

The so-called "joke" was certainly offensive and inconsiderate, especially considering the bullying that has occurred to students relocated from Fukushima to other areas of Japan - but was the punishment appropriate?

Read more...

Teaching in a University or School? You May Already Know A General Union Member!

When people think of the General Union, many immediately associate it with our work in the language school industry at places like Berlitz, ECC, and Aeon.

Be that as it may, did you know that about half the General Union's membership is made up of teachers working in universities, high schools, junior high schools, and elementary schools? In our union, this is called the "Schools and Colleges" ("SAC") sector, and covers all of those people working in the aforementioned establishments.

Read more...

Osaka University plans to dismiss 162 long term employees

Osaka University, which was selected by the state for the “super global university project”, is moving ahead with its plan to dismiss 162 non-regular workers.

The targeted 162 workers have been working for more than 10 years under fixed-term contracts in various university positions, such as library and accounting staff positions, which require specialized skills and experience. Among university staff, there is growing concern that a massive dismissal of skilled workers will affect university operations.

Read more...

Subcategories

Additional information