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.

“In principle it is labor and management that mutually decide the rules for collective bargaining. The university has absolutely not allowed any rule other than what it supports, and…has (not) made any effort to find a point of compromise to reach an agreement,” the commission said.

In August 2014, the labor union of foreign teachers requested the university to allow it to use English for negotiations. The university responded that it would hold talks in Japanese, and the union should arrange an interpreter if one were necessary, according to the panel.

Collective bargaining sessions held in September 2014 and January 2015 were aborted as both sides could not reach a solution to the language issue and to the arrangement of an interpreter.

Thereafter the university said it would hold negotiations only if Japanese were used, according to the commission.


Originally Published in Japan Today

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