On August 19th the General Union filed 5 actions against Doshisha after fruitless attempts at negotiations. After trying to the utmost to get Doshisha to negotiate, it was clear that they had no interest in offering any ideas to resolve the myriad problems raised by members.
First thing in the morning, we went to the Labor Commission to seek relief for 3 cases of dismissal of union members as a result of their membership and refusal of collective bargaining.
Doshisha Girls dismissed two union-members.The reasons given for dismissal of one of them changed months after the dismissal. They suddenly claimed that there was a renewal limit even though they could not point it out in the labor contract or work regulations.
They dismissed another member who had worked at the school for nearly 4 years. When asked the reason for the dismissal, they again said it was because of the non-existent renewal limit. We feel that the true reason was her participation in negotiations and dedicated support of her fellow members. Given little time to find new employment, and having to leave her school- provided apartment as the global pandemic raged throughout the world, the member had to leave Japan.
Another claim was filed against Doshisha International Academy Shotobu which caused a member to be dismissed by the dispatch company Global Partners. Global Partners said “We were told to dismiss him by Doshisha” Doshisha Shotobu said “This has nothing to do with us” and would not engage us further in negotiations.
Labor Standards Office
Next with the support of the union, a complaint was filed at the Kyoto Labor Standards Office about unpaid wages and failure to write clear work regulations. Doshisha Girls school had no clear rules about working hours or overtime pay. Some of our members reported 50 hour weeks and another was told in an interview that she only had to work 19 hours a week but the reality was much more than that.
Also a case was filed in the Kyoto District Labor Court, arguing that work regulations were irrational and based in age discrimination. At Doshisha University, an associate professor on a limited term contract suffered an automatic pay cut of 30% when she turned 60 years old. She was expected to do the same volume of work for less money.
In the afternoon, union members, lawyers and the Chair and a Vice Chair of the union attended a press conference. The lawyers explained the case and journalists from different media organisations asked the members themselves to share their experience and how it affected them. Kansai Television filed a report that night. Please click here to see the report. In addition to that, the Kyoto Shinbun published an article about the case as well.
Overall, the Doshisha day action was a great success. Showing that the General Union is willing to take decisive action on behalf of members. They never saw it coming and in their arrogance thought that they could swat us away like a fly.
Special mention should be given to the union members who spoke bravely about their experience at Doshisha. The willingness of members to participate in disputes and act in solidarity with others is what makes the union strong. This spirit was illustrated by the words of one member who told journalists that her desire for this action is that eventually things will be better for employees who will come after her.
The union still hopes that these matters can be solved through dialogue with Doshisha and we will soon reach out to them again to ask for negotiations.