The reason given was that they were phasing out the old curriculum, entailing an overall reduction of classes. From April 2009 they said they could only offer a maximum of six classes a week (down by two from eight) to ensure ‘quality and reliability’. Needless to say, the teachers were not enthusiastic about this news and our members at Ryukoku started organising around this issue. With its membership growing, the union sent demands for the withdrawal of cuts. Ryukoku replied negatively and claimed for good measure that this did not contravene our Prior Consultation agreement of March 2007, which obliges the university to consult the union before deciding on disadvantageous changes to working conditions. We went for collective bargaining in November, but Ryukoku insisted on calling it ‘talks’ rather than collective bargaining, which added to the points of contention. After these talks, however, Ryukoku reconsidered their position and accepted both the necessity for Prior Consultation and the duty of Collective Bargaining. Even more importantly, they offered seven koma to those cut to six. We finally – after four months of sustained pressure – reached an agreement on the issues. The union has won seven classes for the 2009 academic year for those cut from eight, along with an apology for the trouble caused. The cut teachers will also be given priority when classes become available. To those Ryukoku teachers who have benefited from the union’s negotiations but who are not yet members of the union, we would like to say JOIN THE UNION NOW! We have shown that it is possible to protect conditions through the union, and it’s time to get on board!
English text of the agreement
AGREEMENT AND CONFIRMATION Incorporated Educational Institution Ryukoku University (hereinafter referred to as ‘University’) and the General Union (hereinafter referred to as ‘Union’) have agreed to the items below (‘Agreed Items’) and have confirmed the ‘Confirmed Items’. They hereby exchange documents and mutually confirm this. Agreed Items 1. University and Union confirm that as of now there is no rule fixing an upper limit of 3 koma per day. 2. University will give priority when allocating koma to the part-time teachers who were cut from 8 to 7 if the current situation changes and an increase in koma becomes possible. 3. University will not discriminate against current part-time teachers by virtue of their status as current employees if any apply for the Critical Writing class, and will recognise their contributions to education up till now. 4. University confirms that prior consultation on this matter was necessary and will from now on honour the Prior Consultation Agreement of 6 March 2006. Confirmed Items 1. University has apologised to Union and Union members regarding the 3 points below: – University not using the prior consultation agreement and judging that consultation and Collective Bargaining were not necessary. – University making many mistakes in the number of koma in their explanations in the Collective Bargaining of 5 December 2008. – A Sennin teacher sending an e-mail to the part-time teachers saying the negotiations had succeeded, in spite of the fact that they were still underway. Furthermore, after that sending an e-mail saying that she had only meant to send it to the non-union members but mistakenly sending it to everyone. 2. University apologises to Union and Union members regarding the 2 points below: – University explaining on 11 December 2008 that it was difficult to increase the number of koma, and proposing a cut of 1 koma for 5 teachers, while on 15 December 2008 offering an increase in koma to 2 teachers. – University causing trouble for Union by publicly advertising a job – during negotiations with Union – for a teacher for Department Special Subject ‘Critical Writing’. 24 February 2009 Incorporated Educational Institution Ryukoku University President, Wakahara Dosho General Union Chairman, Yamahara Katsuji