The General Union, along with other trade unions and individual teachers has been informed by Osaka University that it intends to amend its working rules from next April to include a five year limit for its part-time teachers. Ironically, the reason given by the university for introducing the limit is the passage through the Diet in August of this year of a law aimed at increasing security of employment of workers on limited term contracts.
The law gives workers who have worked for an employer for over five years the right to apply for and receive a permanent contract. This is a sick attempt by the university to circumvent this law by suddenly introducing contract limits, and deny its employees the rights guaranteed by law
We believe that should Osaka University succeed in its plan that it would set a very dangerous precedent and other universities would almost certainly follow. Already Hijokin Kumiai (another union that organizes only part-time university teachers) reports that it has been told by Ritsumeikan and Honan Universities that they are considering introducing similar limits.
The General Union will be conveying our opinion to Osaka University that its planned changes are not only unfair and against the spirit of the law, but that any attempt to force a limit on their existing workforce in an attempt to avoid the provisions of the new law is actually illegal. We believe that it is outrageous that a public university and an institution as prestigious as Osaka University is considering such measures. This issue has already led to questions in the diet from a Communist Party diet member. The General Union will be attempting to work with other unions to fight off this attack on the rights if part-time teachers.