Kangaku Teachers Oppose Pay-cut

Feb 1, 2000

The administration claims that the reason they would like to cut our pay is that it is not appropriate for part-time foreign teachers to make more than part-time Japanese teachers. (Of course, this inequity has been going on for many years now. One question we teachers would like to know is what prompted the administration to seek equality at this time!) The part-time staff at Kwansei Gakuin feel this is just a convenient excuse to save money, especially since it seems fairly obvious that foreign staff receive extra pay to attract them here in the first place. Additional pay to foreign (i.e. non-Japanese) instructors is also to compensate us for leaving friends, families, and the familiar comforts of our home Lastly, Kwansei Gakuin is a university that is at full enrollment The need to cut corners is premature. The university is fairly prestigious and is most likely to maintain full enrollment even though class sizes from the high school level are decreasing. In short, there is no valid reason for the pay cut since revenues are as high as ever. If the college administration is really concerned about equality they should be looking to raise the salaries of Japanese part-timers rather than cutting those of foreigners. Upon our receipt of the proposal, which had been simply slipped into our mailboxes with no previous or following reference by the administration, we began to talk about possible responses to this pay cut. This eventually led us to organize thinking that we had strength only in numbers. This process of unionization came in an orderly two-step process. PHASE ONE: Immediately, part-time teachers launched a campaign of voicing our disbelief and generally groaning to each other on the train. Unfortunately, this action proved ineffective. Uegahara administration all, apparently, drive to work and did not overhear our complaints. PHASE TWO: In Fall of 1999, feeling the upcoming proposed pay-cut breathe more heavily upon our necks, we decided to unionize. In fact, in the few short, weeks from November to the end of the year, all continuing members of the English Language Program (ELP) part-time staff signed on with the Union. This flurry of organizing includes the Japanese part-time ELP staff who would not even be affected by the proposed cut, the newly hired part-time teachers already paid the lower rate proposed by the Uegahara Administration) In other words, our solidarity was unanimous, as solidarity should be. On 11th January, we declared our Union to the KG Administration (at the main campus, Uegahara, of Kwansei Gakuin). Now, we are negotiating a time to begin the discussion. The scheduling of a meeting has been a little complicated due to final exam schedules, and also because a sister union of the General Union, the Education Workers’ Amalgamated (EWA) based at, the Uegahara campus coincidentally declared independently of our union, the General Union which is based at the Sanda campus. The two unions are now communicating with each other, and have decided to work together, though declaring and negotiating separately. We are hopeful that the union can negotiate and express our desires and concerns to the administration at Kwansei Gakuin University. To date, the Sanda campus part-time teachers are quite satisfied with both the advice and guidance we have received from the union. We are not a particularly radica1 nor militant group. What we want is what is fair … nothing more and nothing less. We are hopeful that we can resolve this situation so that all parties are equally satisfied.