Parity Campaign



At the General Union’s 2017 Annual General Meeting, the assembled delegates passed a resolution for the union’s PARiTY campaign. We’ve recent seen a number of new laws and changes in Japan aimed at improving the situation for irregular (contract, part-time) workers and members voted for the General Union to start fighting to make sure that these laws are applied at our workplaces.

Our experience shows us that even with laws on the books, without a strong union to enforce them in the workplace, employers will refuse to implement what the government has mandated.

Our PARiTY campaign concentrates on four recent legal changes:

  1. Unlimited term contracts after five years of employment.
  2. Easier enrollment into health and pension insurance.
  3. Fairness and wage parity for dispatched workers.
  4. And new guidelines (which look set to become law) which mandates equal pay for work of equal value.

Watch this page for updates on the law and especially for our work implementing these changes in members’ workplaces.

2019 Central Government Negotiations

On November 11, 2019, thanks to the cooperation of Diet Member Abe Tomoko, negotiations were held between the National Union of General Workers "education group" (NUGW Tokyo Nambu, General Union, and Fukuoka General Union), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT), the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHWL), Ministry of the Interior, and the Agency for Cultural Affairs.

The negotiations took place over three hours, at the House of Representatives members building.

The talks began with hearing answers from members of each relevant ministry or agency to questions the union side had previously submitted, based on the education group's demands and our 2019 ALT Survey report.


Time to PARiTY: General Union Activity and Policy Report

We welcome all those interested in our activity to view our public version of our 2019 Annual General Meeting booklet.

The booklet includes our June 2018 to May 2019 Activity Reports which cover all the General Union's activity at 37 workplaces. These cover a broad range of workplaces from language schools to universities.


Postal Industry Workers Union Scores Major Victory For Contract Workers In Tokyo Superior Court

The Tokyo High Court, 2nd Civil Division (Judge Ayako Shiraishi presiding) has handed down a ruling in the "Postal-Workers' Labor-Contract-Law Article 20 East-Japan Case", in which three limited-term employees (Postal Industry Workers’ Union members), have been fighting as plaintiffs.

The Postal Industry Workers' Union has been actively organizing both regular and non-regular employees to seek elimination of disparities in working conditions. 


Labor Contract Law Amendment (Unlimited Term Contracts) Q&A


Over the past five years, in preparation for the Labour Contract Revision Law (aka "The Five Year Rule) taking fully effect on April 1st, 2018, the General Union has conducted research via direct meetings with the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Labour (MHWL), prefectural labour bureaus, meetings with lawyers, and various negotiations with employers in regards to their plans for this law.

Back in November of 2017, we also decided to take questions from members of the public (via Facebook and e-mail) and are now presenting those questions to you with our answers in hope that this will answer many of your questions about this law and how it could affect you.  


What Are Major Eikaiwa Schools Doing About Unlimited Term Contracts?

The General Union has sent a questionnaire to the main eikaiwa employers in Japan in regards to the changes to the Labour Contract Law.

The changes allow for a contract to become an unlimited term contract after five years of employment.

In the coming weeks we will also be sending out the same questionnaire to the main ALT dispatch companies and international kindergartens.

Over the years, the General Union has dealt with all of these employers and we would like to confirm that they intend to follow changes to the Labour Contract Law.


Miyagi University Capitulates

Good news just in - Miyagi University has relented and will be offering unlimited term contracts to those who qualify. This comes after initial plans to fire (or otherwise non-renew) people.

The implementation of the new "5 Year Rule" has seen resistance from many employers across the country and (surprisingly) even from governmental employers. While the law is well intentioned, it needs to be strengthened with real penalties for breaking the law.

It is currently being left to unions to enforce.


Union Kicks Off Unlimited-Term Contract Campaign

The changes to the Labour Contract Law allowing workers to apply for an unlimited term contract will start on 1 April 2018.

That means that any worker who has worked LONGER than five years as of this date can make a written application to their employer asking that their contract is converted to an unlimited term contract - and the employer must accept this request.

Sounds simple, right? Well... yes and no.


Some Wins In The 5 Year Cliff Battle

Changes to the Contract Law, "the 5 Year Issue", come into effect this coming April. While well-intentioned, meant to ensure employment security for limited term contract workers, there have been problems with its implementation. Problems that should have been expected.


General Union Negotiations With The Government: October 23rd (2017)

The General Union, along with its sister unions - the Fukuoka General Union, NUGW Tokyo Nambu, NUGW Tokyo Roso, the National Union of General Workers (our national union) - has submitted demands to the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Labour (MHWL), and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEXT).

Negotiations have been confirmed by upper house member Mizuho Fukushima of the Social Democratic Party and will be held on Monday, October 23rd (2017).


Tokai & Kansai PARiTY Seminars

Come out to see how new labour law changes will affect your working lives and what you can do about it.

Especially if you're worried about your employment after five years, this is the place to spend your Sunday afternoon.

And if you don't have a concern in the wold about work, we've got you covered in the afterlife with a Wills & Inheritances seminar.

Tokai Seminar

5 November 2017 13:45 to 16:45

Download a leaflet and agenda for the day

Office Park Nagoya (Dai Ichi Nagoya Building)


Kansai Seminar

26 November 15:30 to 1700

Download a leaflet and agenda for the day

PLP Kaikan (this is not our regular meeting place of L-Osaka)

Have some questions or want more information, but cannot attend. Please contact us at union (@)

Article 20 Lawsuit To Reduce Employment Disparities At Japan Post: The General Union Responds

On September 14th, 2017, a noteworthy decision was handed down by the Tokyo District Court:

Three irregular employees of Japan Post sued their employer in an effort to seek equal treatment, claiming that "despite doing the same work as regular (full-time) employees, there are disparities between them and us in all kinds of conditions. This is a violation of Labor Contract Act Article 20, which declares it prohibited for labor conditions to be unreasonable on account of a contract having a limited term."


Shakai Hoken? With Fewer Than 30 Hours? Yes!

Shakai Hoken/Shigaku Kyosai is health and pension insurance provided through your employer, with both parties paying 50% of the costs. Until recently, it was very difficult to get enrolled if you didn't work at least 30 hours per week, leading many employers to offer 29.5 hour contracts.

However, last year, the law changed, allowing enrollment for those working twenty (or more) hours per week at companies with 500 plus enrolled employees. This meant that companies with bigger employers are members were able to access insurance much more easily - but how about smaller places of work?


Public labour workshops in Kansai and Tokai

  • Worried about being fired after five years?
  • Has your employer informed you of their five year plan?
  • What does an unlimited term contract mean for your job?
  • Did you know that part timers can also get health and pension insurance?
  • Dispatched? Find out how your conditions should be improving

We will be holding seminars in Kansai and Tokai in November so you can learn about these changes in the labour and how they may affect you. The seminar is open to all so please bring your friends, family, and coworkers.


Doshisha Retreats On Non-Renewal Threats (5 Year Issue)

In the week beginning 6th of February 2017, part-time teachers (including General Union members) at Doshisha Iwakura Junior High School were summoned to individual meetings and informed that their contracts would not be renewed after next April (2018).


From 25 years to 10 years. Check your pension status

The partially amended Pension Insurance Act became effective on October 1st, 2016. Due to this change, the minimum payment period for eligibility of pension allowance was shortened from 25 years to 10 years as of August 1st, 2017. It is estimated that the number of people who are immediately eligibile is around 640,000.

For more details, the official English/Japanese leaflet from the Japan Pension Service can be found here: [Japan Pension Service Leaflet]


Osaka Shoin and the "5 year rule" Part II

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”.


Osaka Shoin and the "5 year rule" (Part I)

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.


"GU helped me win tenure"

We received a message this week. It's nice to hear kind words but better yet, it was good to hear that our education campaign about the "5 year rule" helped someone to better their work conditions.


Dear GU - Although I'm not a member (I live in Tokyo) I have been following your posts for a while. This is my sixth year of a one-year contract BUT I'm fortunate as my school has applied for a non-regular teaching license (教育職員特別免許) for me (awarded on Sep 1!) and plan to give me a tenured position from next year. I partially attribute this to your posts, which let me know what questions to ask as well as background knowledge on labor laws. Thanks a million. In the near future, I would like to make a small donation to show my support for what you do. Once things settle down, you could let me know how to do that. Keep up the heroic deeds!

"Let's PARiTY" Campaign Kicks Off

With the number of HISEIKI workers (irregular workers on limited term contracts - See “Regular vs Irregular workers. What's the difference”) in Japan approaching 40%, the General Union has started a campaign to win improvements for our members who are 99% HISEIKI.

The Abe government has changed and will be changing four important laws to improve income and employment security for HISEIKI workers in the hopes of expanding the labour force especially amongst women, seniors, and foreigners.


Labour Contract Law

(Effective April 1st, 2013)

What are the main changes?

After the fixed-term employment contract is renewed repeatedly for a total employment period of over 5 years, the contract shall be converted to a permanent one upon the employee’s request. Note: Therefore, this comes into effect from April 1st, 2018

What you should be looking out for


Regular vs Irregular workers. What's the difference?

What are SEIKI (正規) and HISEIKI (非正規)?


Literal translation: SEIKI means regular, formal or genuine. HI (means not) so HISEIKI would be non-regular workers.

SEIKI workers are basically those who work full-time with undefined-term employment contract and usually with bonuses and a retirement allowance.

There exist various forms (names) of HISEIKI workers such as;


Health & Pension Insurance (Shakai Hoken and Shigaku Kyosai)

(Effective October 1st, 2016)

What are the main changes?

  • Shortening of minimum payment period for eligibility for pension allowance (25 years to 10, taking effect on August 1st, 2017)
  • Easing of requirements for part-timers’ eligibility to be enrolled in social insurance (More than 20 hours work a week, and more than 500 employees)
  • Clause 2, Article 2 of the Supplementary Provisions states: “The government shall examine and take necessary measures for further easing of requirements for part-timers’ eligibility to be enrolled in social insurance by September 30th, 2019”
  • Changes of law including further easing of requirements for part-timers’ eligibility to be enrolled in the social insurance.
  • Part-timers with more than 20 hours work per week in the office, with fewer than 501 employees, can be enrolled in the social insurance upon the agreement with the representative of more than a majority of employees. (Enforcement April 1st, 2017)


Dispatch Law

Dispatch Law (Effective 1 October 2015

What are the main changes

  • No longer a restriction of three years of dispatch to the same employer.
  • Dispatch can now be longer term even though the limit is supposed to be three years for dispatching to the same employer. These are the exceptions:
    ♦A workplace agreement which allows longer than three-year dispatch (agreed to by workers’ representative).
    ♦A change in job location/type.
    ♦If the dispatched worker is a working on an unlimited term contract for the dispatcher.
  • Directly hired and dispatched employees should have the same working conditions.


Hey! ECC 35-hour Contract Teachers: We Can Make ECC A Better Place To Work!

Our current union campaign is “Let’s PARiTY” and we're working on making sure all one year contract employees, staff and teachers, Japanese and foreign, have equal rights at ECC. 

Joining lets you be involved in spreading fairness at ECC, and making sure that no one is cheated in their work. 

PARiTY also means that we want the same rights to holidays, bonuses, and employment security that other “non-one-year-contract” workers at ECC enjoy.


Additional information