Nagoya International School Abounds in Trade Union Violations

There are very few employers that the union has sued for unfair labour practices (Trade Union Law violations) when compared to the number of employers we’ve dealt with over the past thirty years, but Nagoya International School has the unique position of being the only employer we have sued twice this century (actually in a span of three years).

We’re not sure if pride, a lack of knowledge, or poor advice, or all three are getting in the way of getting along with the General Union, but we do know we keep suing them for unfair labour practices.

Trade Union Law article 7 forbids employers from partaking in certain acts.

(1): to dismiss or otherwise treat in a disadvantageous manner a worker by reason of the worker being a member of a labor union, having tried to join or organize a labor union, or having performed justifiable acts of a labor union; or to make it a condition of employment that the worker will not join or will withdraw from a labor union

In the case of our first union member at NIS, this is what we have charged them with. Our member, who was a popular teacher with positive evaluations, became a union member after experiencing sexual harassment and having it covered up by the school, and was then threatened with contract non-renewal unless she signed an agreement saying she would no longer make accusations of harassment. Positive evaluations before union activity and contract non-renewal afterwards are quite an indication of unfair labour practices. Of course, the employer denies this, but in our testimony on 7 November, we made a very strong case of why we are certain that NIS did this. This case has been going on since 2019 and after Nagoya International School walked out of labour Commission mediation in 2021, we have pushed forward with the unfair labour practices trial.

…and just before the first testimony was to begin…NIS committed yet another unfair labour practice…

article 7(3): to control or interfere with the formation or management of a labor union by workers

In August, General Union members took part in two public leafleting activities in Nagoya to publicise this dispute along with our victories, as well as to urge people to join unions to protect and improve their working conditions.

Shortly after this the school principal Matthew Parr gathered the employees to tell them that the General Union claims were, “untrue and without any evidence,” and invited employees with “questions” to talk to him at any time. This kind of “open door policy” to answer “questions” is basically textbook tactics to undermine the union.

We don’t know about the untruths NIS was talking about (see our leaflet, HERE)

  • We ARE suing NIS over unfair labour practices, namely a violation of article 7(1) which bans disadvantageous treatment of a union member by reason of the worker being a member.
  • We ARE accusing NIS of unfairly failing to renew our members contract due to her union activity.
  • We DID improve working conditions by forcing NIS to follow many labour laws that they were violating; namely, enrolment in Employee’s Health and Pension Insurance, and unlimited term contracts under the Labour Contract Law.

Anyways, spreading misinformation about the union, maligning us, and talking to employees about the union are exactly what article 7(3) forbids. There should be NO INTERFERENCE in the union’s activities by the employer. 

Lack of understanding? Bad advice? Poor tactics? All of the above? Regardless, NIS does not get to rest until they make up for the unfair labour practices they have committed and promise never to commit them again.