Higher Education (General)

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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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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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

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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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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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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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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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Shoin Gakuen: How Will They "Explain" Their Illegal Dismissals In Court?

blind justice osaka shoinA General Union member who held a job as a non-regular teacher of English at Shoin High School (operated by Shoin Gakuen Educational Corporation) was dismissed from the job, with no reason given, on March 31st (2018) - just a day before gaining the right to switch to an unlimited-term contract.

On June 25th (2018), our union member filed suit against Shoin Gakuen Educational Corporation, claiming the dismissal was invalid, and held a press conference together with the General Union. 

The scene was broadcast by several major media outlets in the Kansai region (MBSAsahiKTVYTV).

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Shoin Gakuen Makes The News

osaka newsEven though the General Union's name wasn't mentioned, our members' illegal dismissal due to the implementation of the Labor Contract Law amendements (aka the "five year rule") has made the news.

This coming Monday, June 25th, we will be holding a press conference as we lodge the court case against Educational Corporation Shoin Gakuen, and we expect television cameras to be there.

Read the Japanese article below (click for full size): 

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Okinawa Christian University To Withdraw Dismissals Of Non-Regular Teaching Staff

Through collective-bargaining with the Okinawa Christian University (and Okinawa Christian Junior College), the "Union For Part-Time Teachers in Universities" in Okinawa recently won the removal of an article in the working regulations for non-regular teachers.

That article set a five-year employment limit in the contract terms for part-time teachers.

According to the Okinawa Times, the switch to permanent contracts will now be possible (in compliance with the law). 

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The Precarious Position of the Part-time University Instructor [OP-ED]

For more than 26 years, I have called Japan home in which most of that time I have worked as a part-time university English instructor at various institutions, settling at three Kansai area schools for the past ten years or so.

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Union Victory As Osaka City University Withdraws Outsourcing Proposal

A few weeks ago, you may remember that the General Union intervened after sixteen part-time teachers at Osaka City University (OCU) discovered that, via sneaking a "final contract" clause into their contracts, the university planned on no longer directly hiring teachers, intending instead to outsource the teaching positions to a dispatch company. ("Osaka City University's Threat To Outsource Its Own Teachers Invokes Union Intervention")

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Through Union Pressure, Waseda University Retracts Five-Year Employment Limit

As the General Union has previous reported ("Ritsumeikan University Changes Part-Time Employment System"), a number of universities have adopted employment "limits" on limited-term, part-time employees in an effort to prevent them from applying for unlimited-term contracts after five years of continuous employment, as directed by the revised  Labour Contract Renewal Law of 2012.

One of the universities that adopted this spurious policy was Waseda University (早稲田大学, Waseda Daigaku), which Wikipedia states is considered to be "one of Japan's most prestigious universities, consistently ranking amongst the top universities in Japanese university rankings. The university has many notable alumni in Japan, with seven Prime Ministers of Japan and many CEOs, including Tadashi Yanai, the CEO of UNIQLO."

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General Union members gear up for third annual 'hands off our koma' campaign

Now is the time of the year that the major private universities are planning changes in curricula and classes for the 2013 academic year. For the last couple of years the General Union has been declaring part-time members at these universities and submitting demands for no-reduction in the number of koma or worsening of working conditions for General Union members.

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GU won the absence allowance for cancellation of part-time classes after the term started, for low enrollment

GU won the absence allowance for cancellation of part-time classes after the term started, for low enrollment, etc. as “reasons attributable to the employer” (according to Article 26 of the Labour Standards Law)

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