Union Makes Progress at Kangaku

Oct 1, 2000

The union had previously succeeded in beating off an attempt to cut the wages of longstanding part-time teachers. However, management had not withdrawn the new pay rates for newly hired foreign teachers, whilst Japanese part-timers are paid less than native teachers. The union is demanding a pay rise for its Japanese and recently hired members. Kangaku said that they had not considered their response properly yet; and promised to do so by January in time for next April. The GU insisted that it is a problem for the union to have members doing the same jobs with different pay. 4-year term limits In addition to concerns over pay we raised the problem of ALE’s (full time teachers on four year contracts). The union has argued that the four-year limit is illegal and that it is wrong to get rid of good teachers for no good reason. Kangaku denied that it was illegal but promised to look into the case of an ALE who had joined the union. They stated that, ‘We don’t think this is a problem, but if the union says it’s a problem, then it’s a problem’. Unemployment Insurance Like many private universities and schools Kangaku does not enrol all of its teachers into the unemployment insurance scheme. Enrollment has been one of the union’s main demands. Kangaku said they were not the only university breaking the law on this point, and they are not convinced they have a duty to enrol everyone in the scheme. They repeated that they are making efforts. Paid Holidays At first Kangaku had resisted compensating teachers for money that they had paid out under a substitution system where if a teacher was sick they had to pay money to another teacher to cover them. The General Union made the point that this system had come about because the university had been denying the teachers the paid holiday they were entitled to under the Labour Standards Law. Finally, they agreed to pay compensation to one union member for the money he lost. They said that although they would not apologise, the money could be seen as a kind of apology.