Fighting Pay Cuts for Workers Over 60 at Miyazaki International University

The General Union has taken Miyazaki International University to court over unjust pay cuts for workers over 60. Our member gave her statement in court October 5, 2023, and we are here to share her story. We hope General Union members will stand in solidarity with their fellow members against this unjust pay cut!

“Your Honor, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for the opportunity to make this statement. I shall be brief and let me say that I wish to thank all those who showed up today to hear this case – all legal professionals, supporters, and observers in solidarity, as well as the lawyers representing us, Ms. Sadaoka and Mr. Murasumi.

To start with, please let me provide some information and personal history concerning the events of this case. I was hired in 2001 and have been employed for twenty-two years under two-year contracts, receiving excellent reviews of my teaching, service, and research on each renewal. I have developed and taught twenty-one different courses over these twenty-two years in response to ongoing curricular changes and cuts in faculty numbers. When I started, my department which teaches in English comprised the entire university. The creation of another department whose faculty is Japanese and who teaches in Japanese, and are tenured, created a system of institutional discrimination against faculty in my department, who are increasingly marginalized over time.

In recent years the university’s managing body MEI decided to institute pay cuts for contract faculty over the age of 60, but was challenged in court. Though MEI won in Miyazaki District court, the teacher appealed with evidence that MEI had no financial problem, and the Fukuoka High court overturned Miyazaki ruling. MEI’s appeal was refused in 2022. Nonetheless, they insisted on cutting my pay in my January 2023 contract since I was the next employee to turn 60. I now have a one-year contract and earn less than I did when I started this job twenty-two years ago. MEI’s arguments for the pay cut are misleading and spurious.

They told me that if I didn’t want to accept the pay cut, then I should quit. They were unable to participate adequately in collective bargaining, which is why we are gathered here today. As a loyal and long term employee, their reasons are completely insufficient.

I wish to be clear that colleagues in my department including a series of deans have remained supportive and sympathetic to the plight of faculty; I am grateful for their collegiality and cooperation over the time I have worked for MIU. However, deans are unable to control decisions from above as MEI has increased institutional expectations of us while decreasing faculty numbers over the years.

I implore the court to consider this case a step forward in protecting not only my own situation, but that of my colleagues, and of all of Japan’s contract education workers regardless of nationality who are working past the age of 60, from suffering at the whims of employers who devalue them.

I would like to thank all present for their time and hopeful support, and the General Union and other union members here today in their display of solidarity. Your support in this effort is invaluable. Thank you.”

– D.O.