Panel bans Tokyo university’s Japanese-only labor talks policy

TOKYO —

A labor panel ordered a Tokyo university Wednesday to not refuse to use English in negotiations with a foreign teachers’ labor union at its affiliated school.

Tokyo Gakugei University had notified the union at Tokyo Gakugei University International Secondary School that it would hold talks only if Japanese is used, said the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Labor Relations Commission.

The panel branded the policy an “unfair” labor practice and ordered the state-run university to correct it.

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Tozen Union Wins Precedent-Setting Negotiating Language Case Against Tokyo Gakugei University

The Tokyo Labor Relations Board on Wednesday ordered Tokyo Gakugei University to “engage in collective bargaining without insisting it be conducted in Japanese or that (the union) bring an interpreter.”

In the first case of its kind, Tozen Union and the TGUISS Teachers Union had sued the school for making negotiations in Japanese a condition of holding collective bargaining.
The university argued that talks should be in Japanese because “this is Japan” and that forcing management to negotiate in a foreign language would be an intolerable burden.

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Pop quiz: Which of these types of government worker has the right to strike — tax inspectors, schoolteachers, firefighters or public health workers? Answer: None of the above, thanks to an Occupation-era law designed to tamp down the influence of communism. | KYODO

The flip side of coveted public-sector jobs in Japan: fewer rights

I research labor law and teach it to university students. In the first class, I break up the two groups of labor laws — those related to individual and collective labor relations — for my students. Individual labor relations law begins and ends with the 1947 Labor Standards Act (rōdō kijun hō); its collective counterpart is surely the 1950 Trade Union Act (rōdō kumiai hō).

About 99.9 percent of my 18-20-year-olds look blank the first time they hear the word “rōdō kumiai,” or labor union. Some of them have arubaito (part-time jobs) and thus already have become rōdōsha (workers) protected by labor laws, but they have not heard of labor unions and have no idea what such a creature looks like. I have my work cut out trying to explain to them the concepts of labor unions, collective bargaining and striking.

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Lessons in Japan’s labor laws from striking NPB baseball stars and English teachers

Eleven years ago, baseball players walked off the field in protest for the first time in the seven-decade professional history of the game in Japan.

Owners wanted to consolidate two of the dozen pro teams, without offering a replacement. Players opposed the merger and were outraged that they had been kept out of the decision-making process. Atsuya Furuta of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows led collective bargaining on behalf of the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association union. Talks broke down and players struck six scheduled games over two days.

Players reached out to their fans with signing and photo events. Most fans sided with the striking players, but a vocal minority accused them of selfishness and having insulted their fans.

It always strikes me as odd how striking workers — rather than stubborn bosses — are often the ones accused of greed. The players did not take the decision to strike lightly; they had agonized over the decision and certainly were not taking their fans for granted. They made impassioned appeals to the fans that a strike was the only way they could save the wonderful spirit of the game.

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「戦争法案ゼッタイ反対!」とデモをする学生たちは就職できない?

2015年夏。戦後70年を迎えた日本。この節目の年に、安倍晋三総理大臣を中止とする政権与党は、現行憲法下で「集団的自衛権」の行使は可能と、従来の解釈を180度変更し、また、安保法案を与党の賛成多数で成立させた。

このような政府の武力行使への積極姿勢に対して多くのNOの声が巻き起こった。その声はやがて学生たちの自発的な行動につながっていった。なかでも大きなムーブメントを巻き起こしているのは「SEALDs」(シールズ:Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy – s)という団体である。「自由と平和と民主主義」を守るというモットーのもと、現在の日本政府の軍事化に反対を表明するために、全国各地の大学生たちを中心に結成された団体だ。

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Osaka’s General Union lands major court victory on Shakai Hoken

GU court victory against gov’t over insurance to have major impact

On 20 March at 13:25, the Tokyo District Court ruled on the case of a General Union member who sued the Japanese government in an important test case regarding eligibility for enrollment in the Employees Health and Pension Insurance (shakai hoken).
Read more at the GU website here.

空の労働者、JAL165名不当解雇の闘いに連帯を

~原告団長内田妙子さんインタビュー~

2010年大晦日。世間の多くの人びとは、慌ただしく新年を迎える準備をしながら、ワクワクと心躍らせていたことだろう。そんななか、日本屈指の航空会社、鶴のトレードマークで有名なJAL(日本航空)で働く165名の労働者らは、大晦日に会社からクビを切られた。パイロット81名と客室乗務員84名。長年、誇りと情熱をもって空の安全を守るために仕事に従事してきた彼らは、なぜ、大晦日に仕事を奪われなければならなかったのだろうか。

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Standing up to the country’s flagship carrier

Credibility of justice system in spotlight as highest court to make ruling on JAL layoffs
BY HIFUMI OKUNUKI

Kuala Lumpur, 1977. The rain came down in torrents. The control tower instructed pilots to circle the airport pending better weather. The pilots had the option to divert to a nearby airport where things were quieter. Japan Airlines (JAL) was pushing its employees to cut costs, and the pilot of JAL’s DC8-60 decided not to divert and to circle until the rain let up.

But the rain did not yield. The DC8-60 ran low on fuel and was forced to land come what may. Eight of the 10 crew and 26 of 29 passengers perished in the ensuing crash. This tragedy would inspire one JAL employee, Taeko Uchida, to get serious about union activism in a way that would decades later find her leading a legal and labor battle against Japan’s flagship carrier.

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Tozen Vlog for May 18, 2014

Tozen Vlog for April 8, 2014