Unstable employment of part-time teachers has been a major problem, and the GU have been trying for “pre-consultation agreements,” where the university should discuss any changes in the contract for the following academic year with the GU and our members within the early period of the present academic year, and have been successful at Osaka Institute of Technology, Seibo Jogakuin and so on.
Meanwhile, it is still quite common for universities to cancel classes at the beginning of the terms for “not enough number of students registered for the class,” well after the commencement of the contract period. The cancellation of the classes is caused by the lack of foresight, and the teachers are not at all liable. Yet, there are many schools and universities which do not take responsibility and pay the teachers for the cancelled classes, but just pay a little compensation of so many months’ wages based on their own internal rules.
The GU did research on the contract and practice at each university and put together demands from the union members, then started a campaign submitting recommendation for improvement to each university.
At Tezukayama Gakuin, who had a rule of compensation of 3-months’pay, the negotiation was hard-going with the university couldn’t reach an internal decision on the union’s demands. In the end, GU had to go and report the case to Nara Labour Standards Office. The LSO, after investigating the case carefully, recognized the violation of Article 26 of the Labour Standards Law and issued a recommendation on March 3, 2011 that “in the event of an absence from work for reasons attributable to the employer, the employer shall pay an allowance to each worker concerned during the period of absence from work.” The union member concerned won the allowance, on top of the compensation in accordance with the university’s internal stipulation.
The GU continued with the campaign at other universities, too. At Osaka International University, we won the similar allowance through negotiation, without the involvement of the Labour Standards Office.
Some universities would not accept our demands, and not every LSO moves as quickly. We just ask our members to report to the Union, wherever there was a case of one-sided cancellation and the university tries to pay it off with a small compensation. We are on the watch-out and ready to negotiate for a fair settlement.