Non-regular Public Servants – Re-investigation Sought from Central Labor Commission over Refusal of Bargaining

Jun 21, 2023

Local government employees, like those in the private sector, are divided into “regular” (full-time permanent staff) and “non-regular” (part-time, limited-term, etc.). Most of those who deal with the public at City Hall offices are non-regular. Public schools also have many part-time (hijokin) teachers. Part-time teachers are employed (administration calls it “appointed”) for one year at a time; however many years they work, court precedent says they gain no right to expect renewal.

So EWA (Kyoiku Godo) sent a demand to the employer (the salary payer), Osaka Prefecture and the Board of Education, for collective bargaining on continued employment. The Prefecture and the BoE refused to bargain, saying that teacher appointments are not a matter for negotiation. EWA fought at the prefectural Labor Commission, the Central Labor Commission, the Tokyo District Court, the Tokyo Superior Court, and finally the Supreme Court, to have it confirmed that refusing to bargain was an unfair labor practice. At the same time, they also had it confirmed that a mixed union of public-sector and private-sector workers had the right to petition for relief. This was in 2015.

Then the national government amended the Local Government Act, making it also apply to non-regular public employees, and, in Article 58 of the Act, excluded them from being covered by the Labor Unions Act. The aim was, as a result, to make them unable to complain to the Labor Commission. And sure enough, Osaka Prefecture again refused to bargain, and the prefectural Labor Commission decided to reject their complaint, because they were not covered by the Labor Unions Act. So EWA requested a re-investigation from the Central Labor Commission. The CLC began investigating in may; it remains to be seen how they will decide.

It is an effort that will test the true value of EWA in wanting to solve the problem–non-regular public servants without rights–through union membership. Details on EWA’s homepage

(Osaka Zenrokyo News: Issue 381)