GU Members File Lawsuit Against Osaka University Demanding Unlimited Employment

Two General Union members who have been working at Osaka University (Handai) continuously for fifteen years filed a lawsuit against the university on 31 August. The basic demand in the suit is that the university accept their application for unlimited term contracts (UTC) that they filed during the 2021 academic year.

This application, had it been accepted, would have given both members an unlimited starting from 1 April 2022 thus protecting their employment against the possible job losses that might be come in 2023 as Handai demands part timers re-apply for their current teaching posts.

Why the UTC application was turned down・なぜ無期雇用契約の申請は却下されたのか

Unlike some other universities who are applying a 10-year loophole to refusing UTC applications, Handai’s method is much more devious and egregious; the university says that these part-timers were NEVER employees but rather subcontractors.

Well, not only is this a way to evade the unlimited employment articles of the Labour Contract Law, it violates the policy of the education ministry.

Chickens with their heads cut off・慌てふためく大学

Since last year, when the education ministry issued a statement which basically disallows Handai to use subcontracting, they’ve been moving every which way in order to continue evading their duty to give unlimited term contracts.

We’ve seen them issue directives over six-month cooling off periods (to break the length of continuous employment), then moved to employment in 2022 (but with 10-year limits starting back to 2013 when the university didn’t consider the part-timers to even be employees). Now it looks like Handai will make all part-timers reapply for their jobs in the 2023 academic year.

All this ducking around just to prevent workers from gaining job security. While we may expect this kind of behaviour from private industry, or even some private universities, a public, national university should never be allowed to get away with violating not only the law, the government’s overall policy of improving job security for one-year contracted workers.

GU members working at Handai are not going to allow this to continue, and with the backing of their union and solidarity of all members, will take on this national university to protect job security for all part-time university teachers.