Labor Commission to Heart: Don’t demand union come to you!

 

Tokyo Labor Commission on Friday handed down a win to Tozen Union against Heart Corporation, ruling that the ALT dispatcher had refused collective bargaining in violation of Article 7.2 of Japan’s Trade Union Act.

The corporation has a notorious history of treating ALTs with utter contempt. Heart is “one of the worst in a terrible industry,” as described by Tozen organizer Louis Carlet.

The inaptly named corporation fired Union Member Ravy in 2016 for seeking assistance from coworkers during a painful personal crisis. Tozen Union demanded CB, but Heart President Tatsumi Wakabayashi insisted the venue be in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, where the company is headquartered, even though Ravy had worked in Yokohama and Tozen is headquartered in the capital.

After several attempts to work out the venue issue and repeated refusals by the company, Tozen last year sued at the Tokyo Labor Commission. Wakabayashi was reportedly outraged that the labor commission in Tokyo, not Ibaraki, would adjudicate, since it meant that he had to come to Tokyo several times any way.

The meirei verdict orders Heart to “engage in collective bargaining in good faith toward an agreement over the dismissal and unpaid wages without insisting on Mito as the venue.” It also suggests Tokyo as the venue for collective bargaining session number 1.

Heart may well appeal the ruling to the Central Labor Commission. Management might want to consider that carefully, however, since that commission is also located in Tokyo. Although Tozen here scored yet another victory, the dismissal has yet to be overturned.

Tozen Union Scores Paid Leave Win Over JCFL

Tozen Union members Todd, Tim, and Mark won a crucial court victory Friday over Japan College of Foreign Languages (Bunsai Gakuen). The school had denied paid leave to the teachers who work on zero-hour contracts, claiming that intervals between the one-semester contracts disrupt the continuity of their employment and therefore preclude any right to paid leave.

Tokyo District Court ruled that their employment is effectively continuous enough to claim the legal minimum allotment of paid holidays. The court ordered JCFL to pay for the paid leave already taken, plus interest, and to put up 1% of the plaintiffs’ legal costs.

Management has taken a hard line against Tozen Union and JCFL Workers’ Union in collective bargaining and is expected to appeal to Tokyo High Court. The union members lost a claim that the school’s refusal to give a copy of its work rules constituted power harassment.

東ゼン労組JCFL(日本外国語専門学校)支部組合員であるトッド、ティム、マークは、学校法人文際学園 日本外国語専門学校(JCFL)を相手に、自らの有給休暇の権利を求め、裁判の場で闘ってきましたが、2018112日、東京地方裁判所は、原告勝訴の判決を下しました。なお、本件では、組合員に対して就業規則の付与を拒絶し、その場で書き写すことのみ許可するという対応がパワーハラスメントであるという主張もしましたが、こちらは認められませんでした。

 

学校法人文際学園は、講師の契約を1セメスター=5か月と設定し、契約と契約の間の期間を2か月空けることにより、契約は継続性を持たず、したがって、すべての講師には有給休暇の権利は一切発生しないという扱いをしてきました。16年勤続の組合員も、これまで有給は「ゼロ」だったのです。本判決では、たとえ契約と契約との間に2か月のインターバルがあったとしても、契約の継続性は認められると判断したのであり、大変重要な内容を含んでいます。同じような働き方をしている人たちにも、大きな影響を及ぼすものと思われます。

 

学園はこれまでと同様、控訴して徹底抗戦するでしょう。私たちも、団結の力を緩めることなく、これからも組合を挙げて闘い続けてまいります。

 

引き続き、みなさまの心強いご支援、ご指導を、どうぞ宜しくお願い申し上げます。

Plainte contre l’Institut français du Japon devant la justice japonaise

L’Institut français du Japon (IFJ) est à la fois un centre culturel dépendant de l’Ambassade de France au Japon et une école de français. Ce sont les cours de français qui assurent une grande partie du financement de l’établissement et de l’action culturelle de la France au Japon. Pourtant, depuis plusieurs années, l’IFJ a entrepris de dégrader systématiquement les conditions de travail des enseignants qui assurent ces cours.

En septembre 2015 la direction a unilatéralement annoncé une nouvelle grille salariale qui représente pour la plupart des enseignants une baisse de revenu pouvant aller jusqu’à près de 40% et un raccourcissement des contrats de 1 an à 6 mois. Ces changements à cette date avaient pour but de contourner la mise en vigueur au Japon de la loi sur les 5 ans, loi qui oblige, à partir du 1er avril 2018, les entreprises à donner un contrat permanent aux mêmes conditions à tout travailleur en CDD depuis au moins 5 ans dans son entreprise, ce qui est le cas de la quasi-totalité des enseignants.

En réponse, le Syndicat des Employés de l’Institut (SEI, affilié au syndicat Tozen de la fédération Rengo, la plus grosse fédération syndicale du Japon) a mené plusieurs actions, y compris des grèves, pourtant exceptionnelles dans le contexte japonais.

La réaction de la direction a été entre autres de mettre en concurrence des employés avec divers contrats pour entraver les actions de solidarité en donnant les cours des employés syndiqués à de nouveaux employés ; de licencier plusieurs employés certains avec des décennies d’ancienneté ; de menacer de licenciement les employés qui ne signeraient pas les nouveaux contrats avant la date d’entrée en vigueur de la loi sur les 5 ans.

Le public de l’Institut, constitué de personnes qui aiment la France et le français, a répondu favorablement aux actions du SEI et plusieurs actions de soutien des élèves à leurs professeurs ont été menées (lettres à la direction de l’IFJ, pétitions). Malgré cela, l’IJF continue ses attaques contre ses employés.

L’IFJ prépare depuis plusieurs années une telle politique de contournement de la loi sur les 5 ans. En réaction à cette politique, 3 employés de l’IFJ ont déposé une plainte le lundi 2 juillet 2018 auprès de la justice japonaise pour exiger que l’IFJ cesse de contourner la loi et applique la législation japonaise à laquelle sont soumis les contrats de ses employés, et non les directives du gouvernement français qui semble croire qu’il fait la loi au Japon comme en France. À cette occasion, une conférence de presse a été organisée le lundi 2 juillet à 16h30 par Tozen, le SEI et Rengo dans les locaux du Ministère du Travail, de la Santé et de la Protection sociale, pour expliquer les raisons de cette plainte.

「ルール無視した賃下げ」 仏語講師が政府機関を提訴 東京地裁

フランス語学校を運営する同国政府の公式機関「アンスティチュ・フランセ日本」の講師3人は2日、有期契約労働者が5年超働けば無期契約に移行できる「無期転換ルール」の適用前に、賃金を引き下げた無期契約を結ばせたのは無効として、学校側に以前の賃金支払いを求める訴訟を東京地裁に起こした。

3人が加入する全国一般東京ゼネラルユニオン(東京)が同日、記者会見し明らかにした。3人の代理人指宿昭一弁護士は「無期転換ルールを逃れる目的とみられ、日本の労働法を無視する暴挙だ」としている。

3人は男性で6~19年間講師を続けている。今年10月以降は無期転換ルールにより、無期契約を申請できるはずだったが学校側が2月、給料を3割程度下げた無期契約を講師らに提示。契約しなければ雇用関係が終了してしまうため、3人は賃金引き下げを留保した上で契約した。4月以降、給与が下げられた。

参詣ニュース
原著

給料減額「日本の労働法を無視した暴挙」、 仏政府公式「語学教室」の講師ら提訴

フランス語教室を運営する「アンスティチュ・フランセ日本」(旧・日仏学院)の東京校で、非常勤講師としてはたらくフランス人男性3人が7月2日、不当な給料減額があったとして、元の条件で報酬を受ける雇用契約上の地位にあることの確認を求めて、東京地裁に提訴した。

●ホームページには「フランス政府公式機関」と書かれている

訴状などによると、原告3人はそれぞれ、6年から19年にわたって、時間給の非常勤講師(契約期間・6カ月または1年間)として、アンスティチュ・フランセ日本(旧・東京日仏学院)のフランス語の授業を担当してきた。

2018年2月、アンスティチュ・フランセ日本から、同年4月以降の時給を引き下げたうえで、期間の定めのない労働契約(無期転換)を締結すると申し入れがあった。原告らは、「引き下げに応じられない」と留保したうえで、期間の定めのない雇用契約の締結には応じるとこたえた。

原告らは、同年3月末までに契約期間が満了することになっていたが、それまでと変わりなく勤務をつづけている。こうした状況のとき、「それまでと同一条件でさらに雇用をしたものと推定する」(民法629条)というルールがあるため、今回の提訴に踏み切った。3人ともに今年10月以降、有期雇用から無期転換できる権利が発生することになっているという。

ホームページによると、アンスティチュ・フランセ日本は2012年9月、フランス大使館文化部と東京日仏学院、横浜日仏学院、関西日仏学館、九州日仏学館が統合して誕生した団体だ。東京、横浜、関西、九州の4支部(5都市)を拠点に「フランス政府公式機関」として、フランス語講座のほか、文化・思想・学問を発信している。

●非常勤講師たちの生活が不安定になっている

原告のフランス人男性3人、グザビエさん(45歳・19年勤務)、ピエールさん(29歳・6年勤務)、ジルさん(43歳・15年勤務)はこの日の提訴後、東京・霞が関の厚労省記者クラブで会見を開いた。

グザビエさんは「学校のためにできるだけスケジュールを空けないといけません。スケジュールを空けば空けるほど、(授業を)担当する機会が増えますが、学校以外の働く機会が減っていきます。一方で、毎月どれくらい収入が入るかわからない状況がつづいています」「大変ストレスが多い仕事だと思います」と述べた。

ピエールさんは2017年冬まで週12時間担当していた授業が、現在ゼロ時間になっているという。「メインの収入源でしたが、生活するためになくなった分を補うために別の仕事しています。家賃を払う分しかカバーできていません」と話した。ジルさんも「子どもを学校に通わせるのも難しくなりそうだ」と苦しい状況を訴えた。

原告代理人をつとめる指宿昭一弁護士は「本当の問題点は、労働契約法の『無期転換ルール』(5年ルール)の趣旨に反していることだ。これまで何度も反復契約しているので、いきなり雇い止めしたり、賃金を下げることはできない。日本の労働法を無視した暴挙といってもよい。フランス政府にぜひ考えてもらいたい」と話していた。

原著

Tohoku University’s systemic massacre of 3,243 jobs

Exactly 50 years back, the streets of Japan boiled in revolution. The protests against the Narita airport and alleged collusion of then Prime Minister Eisako Sato with the United States in the Vietnam war brought the cities to a halt. Tear gas, water cannons and the occupation of University of Tokyo’s infamous Yasuda auditorium have been etched as vivid memories amongst people of that generation.

50 years later, the streets are silent or at least, the mainstream Japanese media projects it to be. Japan’s largest media corporations came under fire for deliberately not reporting protests and people’s opinions after the 2011 Great Eastern Earthquake and Tsunami. Not very long after that, in 2012, the Japanese government amended the labour contract law.

The amendment in the labour contract law implied that all fixed-term employees can give themselves a permanent status if they have been employed for over five years. The lawmakers have claimed that it is for enhancement of job security and were challenging the rising fixed-term employees at various institutions. As of 2015, Tohoku University has 5,771 irregular employees as opposed to 4,686 regular employees. Yet, institutions have found a way to exploit the loophole: To not renew a fixed-term employee beyond five years.

Since the implementation of the law starting from April 01, 2013, five years have been completed on March 31, 2018. This implies that institutions can officially decline to renew any fixed term contracts and prevent the irregular employees from becoming regular. Tohoku University, like many others in the country, has decided to do so.

With very little reporting about the same in the mainstream English media apart from the exception of Hifumi Okunuki’s op-ed article in ‘The Japan Times’ in 2016, the issue remains unclear and unknown, to the student community and the outsiders. The regular protests by Tohoku University Kumiai on the Katahira campus have attracted very little attention from the students. “We really want the students to know about it,” said one of the Kumiai members to the Sentinel who has decided to remain anonymous.

Protests against the administrative decision near Kawauchi station

The university has already initiated the process of terminating the contracts of the fixed-term employees by not renewing them. It has substituted them with new employees who may face the same fate 5 years from now. “The university says that it doesn’t have any money to guarantee our employment in the future but they have been constructing buildings after buildings and a lot of them have also been for the sheer symbolism of reconstruction and revival post-2011,” the Kumiai member said. “The lawyer representing the university is from Tokyo. Appointing someone all the way from Tokyo costs a lot of money,” the member added.

Last year, the university put in place an examination for the irregular employees, some of whom who have worked for nearly a decade at the university. The set terms were clear: The ones who fail to clear it, would be terminated immediately. In a somewhat expected move, only 30% of the test-takers cleared the examination. “Everyone from the Ryugakuseika department cleared the test which could probably be reasoned for their ability to communicate in English,” said the Kumiai member.

This year also saw the shift in leadership as President Hideo Ohno stepped into the shoes of presidency, succeeding President Susumu Satomi. “There has been no change due to President Ohno stepping in. It is all the same,” the Kumiai member said. “He said he requires time for studying the topic deeply,” the member added. President Ohno replied the same when ‘The Sentinel’ asked him about this issue in an interview back in January 2017, few weeks after he was announced as the President-elect. ‘The Sentinel’ also tried asking this to President Satomi in an interview but the secreteriat refused to give us permission to ask him anything about the issue.

It is also surprising to note that most of these 3,243 employees are female employees. Since most of them have a family to take care of and the household expense is majorly supported by the husband’s income, they choose to take an irregular job. With Prof. Noriko Osumi stepping in as the new Vice President for Public Relations and Promotion of Diversity, it is expected that the gender imbalance will be seen with greater importance in administrative decisions. She is the first female professor at the School of Medicine and is also the Director of TUMUG (Tohoku University Centre for Gender Equality Promotion). Yet, the Kumiai member thinks otherwise. “She has focussed only on researchers and regular workers. She has not addressed any of the gender issues that the 3,243 employees who are on the brink of losing their jobs are facing.”

The fine prints and implications of this new law which was supposed to guarantee more jobs bring in new details. “After completion of 5 years, the fired employee can re-join the institution after a break of 6 months for another 5 years. So, some of the employees who left the university in March this year may be able to re-join in October. This is absolutely incomprehensible. I cannot do without 6 months’ pay,” said the Kumiai member. Questions like what would happen if the university hires new employees in the period between April and October remain ambiguous and no clear answers were found.

Like Tohoku University, Hokkaido  University and Osaka University are also amongst other centres for higher education who have decided to axe the jobs. On the other hand, the negotiations between the labour union at University of Tokyo and the administration has been somewhat successful and irregular employees are still holding on to their jobs. The union at Tohoku University is always in constant discussion with administration about important issues but the number of members have fallen over the years. “Many are not concerned unless their jobs are affected,” the Kumiai member said.

A part of this problem can also be traced back to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s decision in 2003 to turn all Japanese national universities into institutions with corporate status or, ‘national university corporation’, as they are now known as. This has pressured the universities to look out for their own funds. With MEXT reducing its subsidies to the national universities by 1% each year, the universities have responded by hiring more irregular staff and axing clerical jobs. United Kingdom adopted similar idea back in 1988 under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher but responses from citizens have been mixed.

Back in July 1974, the Supreme Court delivered a historic verdict in the Toshiba Yanagi-cho Factory case where seven plaintiffs worked on revolving 2 month-contracts and one of them was renewed 23 times. The Supreme Court upheld it as jotai-setsu (Legal principle of abuse of the right to dismiss applies if circumstances suggest that employment is in effect permanent, even if written contract indicates a fixed term).

The court case between Tohoku University and the 3,243 workers shall witness its first hearing on August 22 this year. The workers are represented by a voluntary lawyer from Sendai city. “Well, the court case will take a long time,” the Kumiai member said.

Article 02 of Japanese Labour Standards Act says, “Working conditions should be determined by the workers and employers on an equal basis.” When asked if the goal of attaining this equality near, the Kumiai member responded, “There is a long way to go.”

For updates about the court case, visit the website of Tohoku University Kumiai : http://tohokudai-kumiai.org

The Sentinel shall also publish the official statement from the university once it receives. 

As reported by The Sentinel Bureau.

Photos Courtsey : Tohoku University Kumiai Facebook Page (Public)

References :

  1. No legal cure-all for fixed-term job insecurity (April 24, 2012): https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2012/04/24/issues/no-legal-cure-all-for-fixed-term-job-insecurity/#.WzWEu62B2qA
  2. Labour Standards Act : http://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/law/detail_main?id=5&vm=2&re=
  3. ‘Five-year rule’ triggers ‘Tohoku college massacre’ of jobs : https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2016/11/27/issues/five-year-rule-triggers-tohoku-college-massacre-jobs/#.WzWG8a2B2qA
  4. 1968 : The year Japan truly raised its voice : https://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2017/11/19/arts/1968-year-japan-truly-raised-voice/#.WzWzsa2B2qA
  5. Japan’s universities struggling under corporate status : https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2018/05/14/commentary/japan-commentary/japans-universities-struggling-corporate-status/#.WzXbqa2B2qA
  6. Tohoku University Kumiai : http://tohokudai-kumiai.org
    —————–
    Original Link  to this article.

Shane and Union busting.

Shane Workers Union (SWU) started in 2012.
SWU is currently negotiating for job security, better pay and health insurance (for those who want it).
In 2014, Shane management unfairly dismissed a member of SWU for leaving the workplace during his break time. In solidarity, the members voted and declared a strike after attempts to resolve the matter in collective bargaining failed. Following the first strike action in autumn 2014, two part time members had their work withdrawn and other members reported harassment by management.

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東京学芸大学事件命令書交付について

当委員会は、本日、標記の不当労働行為救済申立事件について、命令書を交付しましたのでお知らせします。命令書の概要は、以下のとおりです(詳細は別紙)。

1 当事者

申立人
全国一般東京ゼネラルユニオン、全国一般東京ゼネラルユニオンTGUISS支部
被申立人
国立大学法人東京学芸大学

2 事件の概要

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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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