Nine Union Notice Boards won at Ritsumeikan

Feb 15, 2008

The University has recently erected nine substantial notice boards for the use of “Labour Unions” in its Kinugasa campus. The notice boards are in the teachers’ lounge in each faculty and one at each end of the main building where contract teachers are based. The demand for union notice boards, along with a union office on campus was raised by the union five years ago. In the past, the administration had given the in house Ritsumeikan Kyoshokuin Kumiai a notice board and also allowed it to use administration notice boards. Since it is unfair labour practice to provide favourable treatment to one union and this became an issue in our unfair labour practice suit against the university, Ritsumeikan rejected our demands for equal treatment. There were a number of factors that have encouraged Ritsumeikan’s change of heart. Although the union lost the first Labour Commission case, the judgement argued that Ritsumeikan didn’t actually reject our demands for an office/notice board and was still waiting to hear concrete details about what we actually wanted. That was news to us! However with a second Labour Commission case this fiction was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. With free elections for the Workplace Representative required by the Labour Standards law, management has been very cautious about removing GU election posters that cover the campus, for fear of being seen to interfere in the election. The 148 votes (25%) for our candidate at the Kinugasa campus make it increasingly difficult to argue that we were an “outside force” with few members that doesn’t really need facilities on the premises. While the notice boards are largely a result of the GU’s campaigning, they are a step forward for all unions on the campus. In the past period the Kyoshokuin Kumiai has increasingly come into conflict with the administration and relations with the GU have thawed somewhat. We do not anticipate any problems sharing the boards with the other three unions on campus.