General Union Schools and Colleges Branch: Stable employment for all teachers

Jun 30, 2013

Last year a bill aiming to stabilize the employment of workers on limited term contracts passed both houses of the Diet. The bill gives workers who have been employed contin-uously for over five years the right to request a permanent contract. Disgracefully, a number of prestigious educational institutions, including Osaka, Kobe and Waseda Uni-versities, have since an-nounced changes to working rules that try to impose a maximum limit of five years employment on part-time teachers. If this attack on part-time teachers is not answered, it will eventually lead to an undermining of the conditions of all teach-ers. We are working with other unions to oppose this.

This shows that teachers cannot rely on the good will of schools and colleges to look after their interests. All teachers, including part-time and contract workers need a voice. As an individual, your opinion will be ignored. Teachers need to get organized and join a union now.

Why the General Union?

The General Union organizes teachers regardless of their nationality, employment status, or the type of institution for which they work. We have a record of standing up for our members whether they have been tenured professors opposing redundancy, part-time teachers trying to stop a reduction of the number of classes they teach, teachers on year-ly contracts fighting the introduction of contract limits, high school teachers resisting being forced to work long hours or unpaid overtime, or teachers working for dispatch companies trying to win direct hire. We have a long and effective record of improving working conditions for teachers.

What is the General Union Campaigning for?

For security of employment: We are opposed to the limits on the number of renewals of one-year contracts. We campaign against attempts by employers to use limits to avoid the provisions of the Labour Contract Law that obliges them to give workers who wish an unlimited contract after working for over 5 years.

For direct hire: We want an end to dispatch and the direct employment of all those teachers presently dispatched from private companies to schools and colleges.

Against forced early retirement: We are opposed to employers forcing teachers who are perfectly capable of working to retire, or take pay cuts in order to continue, when in the case of most part-time teachers their employers have contributed nothing towards pensions.

Against sudden cancellation of classes: Teachers should not lose pay when classes are cancelled due for example to the low number of students enrolled or other reasons attributable to management.

Health and unemployment insurance for all: No discrimination against part-time and other irregular workers. Implement the law that states that employers should enroll all workers on social insurance.

I’m a professional. Do I need a union to defend me?

Teachers’ ability to do their job often depends on their employment status and condi-tions of employment. A teaching workforce with few opportunities for professional de-velopment, being forced to run between workplaces, teaching as many classes as possi-ble to scrape a living, and constantly changing employers is not going to provide stu-dents with the kind of education they deserve. The recent trend in society is to treat education as a business. That is one of the reasons why professionals in Japan and internationally have looked to unions as a counter-weight to the pressures of management and the administration. Even academic freedom is dependent on stability of employment. A narrow focus is not the distinguishing feature of a professional. Teachers need to unionize.

How do I join?

You can find details about how to join on the union’s web page at or call us for more details at: 06 6352 9619.