Higher Education

Unfair Labour Practices Suit Filed at ILCで不当労働行為救済申立て

ゼネラルユニオンは、ILC(国際教育社・国際語学センター)を相手取り、契約5年目の組合員が突然、契約書に更新不可条項を挿入された件で、不当労働行為救済申立を起こしました(その内容は周知の通り、会社が無期雇用契約を回避するためのものです)。
The union has filed a ULP (unfair labour practices) suit against ILC (International Language Centre 国際教育社・国際語学センター) where one of our members, in their fifth year, suddenly had a non-renewal clause inserted into the contract (we all know what that's about - the company's way to stop an unlimited term contract).

組合は、組合員の2023年の労働条件についての交渉が終了した後、組合が知らないうちに会社がこの条項を組合員の契約に挿入したことが不当労働行為であると主張しています。団体交渉の数日後、組合員は新しい2023年の契約を提示され、「これが最後の年である」と言われたのです。
The union claims the unfair labour practice was committed when the company inserted this clause, unbeknownst to the union, in the member's contract after we had concluded negotiations for the members' 2023 working conditions. Days later, the member was presented a new 2023 contract saying it was his last year.

使用者への注意:団体交渉でふざけるのはやめましょう。
Note to employers: don't screw around in collective bargaining.

 

First hearing of GU members vs. Osaka University

On 17 October union members and supporters gathered at the Osaka District Court to support our union members who are suing Osaka University (Handai) for their failure to issue an unlimited term contract. The university argues that until this year, members were not employees and therefore were not eligible to apply for unlimited term contracts as outlined in the Labour Contract Law.

Union members at universities are seeing many tricks to evade the Labour Contract Law, but so far, only Osaka University has taken this tactic of denying the existence of an employment relationship. What makes this even more disgusting is that Osaka University is a public, national university which would make you believe that they are more likely to follow both the law and government policies to improve the employment security of part-time workers.

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Osaka University: Trial Begins Monday, 17 October

Osaka U English

General Union members at Osaka University have filed a lawsuit against the university demanding that Osaka University accept the General Union members’ application for unlimited term contracts under the Labour Contract Law.

Both General Union members have worked at Osaka university for far more than the five years the Labour Contract Law says employees must work before being eligible to apply for an unlimited term contract. The university argues that until this year, neither member was an actual employee, so the law does not apply to them.

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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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GU members file lawsuit against Osaka University demanding unlimited employment・組合員、無期雇用契約を求めて大阪大学を提訴

Two General Union members who have been working at Osaka University (Handai) continuously for fifteen years filed a lawsuit against the university on 31 August. The basic demand in the suit is that the university accept their application for unlimited term contracts (UTC) that they filed during the 2021 academic year.
大阪大学(阪大)で15年間継続して勤務しているゼネラルユニオン組合員2名が8月31日、大学を相手取り訴訟を起こしした。基本的な要求は、2021年度中に2人が提出した無期雇用契約の申請を大学側が受理することである。

This application, had it been accepted, would have given both members an unlimited starting from 1 April 2022 thus protecting their employment against the possible job losses that might be come in 2023 as Handai demands part timers re-apply for their current teaching posts.
この申請が受理されていれば、2人は2022年4月1日から無期雇用契約者となり、阪大が現非常勤講師に雇用の再申請を求めることを通じて、2023年度に起こりうる雇用喪失から自らを守ることができたはずなのだ。

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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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GU members standby union member David Waddell

Almost 100 union members will be meeting on 7 February to support fellow GU member David Waddell who is suffering not only from Stage III Esophageal Cancer, but also from the callousness of his employer. We will be making a mass appeal to his employer, Kyoto Gaidai, to do right by David.

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.

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Osaka University・大阪大学:Unbelievable・信じられへん!

Working at Osaka University (Handai)? Join us in assuring your rights to an unlimited term contract!

大阪大学(阪大)で働いておられますか? あなたの無期雇用契約の権利を守るために一緒に活動しましょう。

  
Click to download and send to a friend・ダウンロードして、仲間に送る

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YOU can support our member at Kyoto Gaidai. Join us!

Let's put our voices together on Monday, 7 February!

We are inviting you to attend our online gathering in support of union member David Waddell who is suffering not only from Stage III Esophagael Cancer, but also from the callousness of his employer. You can learn about the issue and how YOU personally can support David. Please attend any of the short 30 minute sessions at 10:00, 13:00, or 19:30

SIGN ME UP.png

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Union sues International Buddhist/Shitennoji University

On Friday, 17 a General Union member filed a suit at the Osaka District Court regarding their employment at Shitennoji University.

The member has taught at the University for nine years, and even though they were on an unlimited term contract, the University unilaterally terminated the member's employment when they turned 67. The official reason was: retirement is set at 65.

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Kyoto Gaidai Takes Hardline Against Teacher After Cancer Diagnosis

Kyoto University of Foreign Studies (Kyodai) has a policy of forcing teachers who have underlying conditions or are sick to either risk their life teaching face to face or to stay home and basically lose their job and means of making a living. Two union members have already ceased working there due to the harsh policy.

(David has recorded this video outlining his experience. He is currently in hospital having major surgery.)

This contrasts with most other universities in the Kansai area which have allowed online teaching options for teacher's with underlying conditions. Kyoto Gaidai has had one of the harshest approaches in the region. Two union members have already had to cease working when faced with this choice. 

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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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Part-Time At A Doshisha University? Your Time Might Be Limited...

The union has made some progress in negotiations with Doshisha University and Doshisha Women's College, mainly in clearing up a previously unanswered mystery: how long can a part-timer work at Doshisha?

And the answer is...

It depends on when you were hired.

Doshisha has finally clarified that those hired from 1 April 2016 are limited to nine renewals, and those hired before have no limitation on their renewals.

In collective bargaining, Doshisha maintained that all teachers had a nine-renewal limit. We finally now have a clear answer to the question.

But why a nine-renewal limit?

It sounds strange to us, and we know it sounds strange to Doshisha part-timers who were hired in 2016.

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Osaka Prefecture Calls On Universities To Halt Face-To-Face Classes

At a press conference on 13th of April, amid a rapid growth of COVID-19 infections in the Osaka area, prefectural governor Yoshimura announced new measures to fight the pandemic.

These included a request for schools to stop club activities and for universities to suspend face to face classes and move to online classes.

Whilst for now this is only in the Osaka, area it marks a major break from the policy of the Education Ministry which had been pushing universities to teach at least 70% of classes online - with even teachers with pre-existing conditions (making them more vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus) being pressured into teaching face-to-face.

The reversal was based on the failure of the existing policies of early closing of drinking/dining establishments to halt the spread. The rapid spread of the virus threatens to collapse the local health care system with over 92% of beds now full.

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Union Pushes Back As Kindai University's Policy Of "Business As Usual" Puts Members At Risk

kindai smallIn February, the General Union Kindai Branch held collective bargaining session with Kindai University, during which we demanded that teachers be given the option of teaching online if they had medical conditions that put them at increased risk of contracting COVID and/or becoming severely ill.

At the time, Kindai told us that they were still uncertain of their policies for the upcoming semester, and we were alarmed by the suggestion that a medical certificate would not be sufficient and that an interview with one of their administrative staff would be required.

Then began what seemed to be a never ending effort to delay and stonewall the talks and their policy decisions in an attempt (we believe) to discourage teachers from applying for exemptions at all - and to prevent a rush of applications that they feared may eventuate if word got out that some teachers had been granted exemptions several weeks before the semester commenced.

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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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The GU knows what it's talking about when it comes to unlimited term contracts at universities

The union has been involved at numerous workplaces dealing with universities' refusal to grant unlimited term contracts after 5 years as per the changes to the Labour Contract Law (see here for more information on this law)

Many universities are holding out by using an exception granted to the universities which lets them wait till after the tenth year to grant an unlimited term contract. But this exception ISN'T in all cases and ISN'T for all instructors teaching in a university. Famously, even Tokyo University did a U-turn on this when challenged by it's union.

Basically, the instructor must be hired under any of the three categories outlined in the "Act on Term of Office of University Teachers" (often referred to as NINKI-TSUKI or NINKI-HO) or an of the three categories in the "Act on Revitalisation of Science and Technology/Inovation Creation", and told very clearly upon hiring, in writing, which category they fall into.

Most of the universities that we deal with have usually not done this at all, or have simply written the name of the act (or other such language) in the contract.

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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.

Hats Off To Osaka Gaigo Members - Two Annual Pay Rises In A Row!

hats offThis is what determination looks like!

Osaka Gaigo members win 1.3% across the board pay raise for 2020.

This on top of a 2% 2019 pay rise!

Want to win improvements at your workplace? Osaka Gaigo members show you what you can achieve with determination.

Back in 2013, despite falling teacher and student numbers, the General Union's Osaka Gaigo Branch decided that it was time to stop the long freeze on their pay.

The reasoning was simple: although student numbers were declining, the school was replacing retiring full-time regular and contract workers with part-timers, thus reducing their costs.

Furthermore, we clearly knew that their Tokyo school was doing very well and was building a new campus.

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5% Wage Demand at Osaka Gaigo

Union members who were involved in a long labour dispute with their employer from 2013 which culminated in the Supreme Court turning down the school's refusal to follow the Osaka Labour Commission ruling ordering the employer to share financial data with the union, have submitted demands for 5% pay increase as well as access to financial data.

While members secured a 2% increase in 2019, we feel that asking for an additional pay increase after the school's stalling tactics of filing appeal after appeal since 2013, is very reasonable. Members note another increase in student numbers (still to be clearly established as it's only February) which points to the employer's improved financial situation and ability to increase pay.

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Unfair Labor Practices at Kansai Gaidai

kansai gaidai signThe General Union has sued Kansai Gaidai University (KGU) and SEICO at the Osaka Prefectural Labor Commission for unfair labor practices stemming from their violations of the Trade Union Law. We are asking for the following:

1. Stop anti-union activities and apologize publicly.

2. Continue the employment of union members.

3. Increase the number of directly employed faculty by giving preference to existing workers on limited term contracts employed by the university and SEICO.

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Stop Harassment at Sophia University - Sign The Petition

Sign the Petition!

Professor Choo, a member of NUGW Tokyo Nambu, is fighting against her dismissal at Sophia University.

Sophia University issued a de facto dismissal notice on July 17, 2019 to Professor Kukhee Choo of the Faculty of Liberal Arts Department.

Professor Kukhee Choo left her university in the United Sates to join Sophia University as an Assistant Professor 5 years ago after being told by the FLA Department that, "As for promotion to Associate Professor, with your record, we strongly feel that you may be able to apply for [tenure] as early as your second year at the FLA".

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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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Additional information