What’s going on with the “10-year exception” at Kyoto Tachibana University?

In January 2020, a union member and part-time teacher at Kyoto Tachibana University (we’ll call him ‘A’) applied for conversion to the unlimited-term employment contract based on Article 18 of the Labor Contract Act, as he had been repeatedly renewing his limited-term employment contract for over five years.

In February, the university responded, stating that he fell under the “10-year exception” mentioned in the Act on Term of Office of University Teachers. As his continuous service had not surpassed ten years, the application was not accepted.

Then, in late 2022, when A was in his tenth consecutive year of service, he was approached by his supervisor and signed the unlimited-term employment contract in March 2023. In other words, A was able to convert to the unlimited-term employment contract in his tenth year – not his eleventh!

This action indicates that the university stopped applying the “10-year exception” for part-time teachers, including A, despite the previous rejection.

Following this development, two other union members, B and C who were also part-time teachers with over five years of continuous service through renewed limited-term contracts, applied for conversion to unlimited-term employment contracts in July. Surprisingly, they received the same rejection notice that A had received in 2020.

The union is now awaiting the university’s response and has requested the university to treat B and C similarly to A, who is also a part-time teacher, and accept their applications for conversion to unlimited-term employment contracts. The union believes that the university should find it difficult to justify refusing this logical and reasonable request.

This situation highlights an abuse of the “10-year exception” by certain universities, including Kyoto Tachibana University. By forcing part-time teachers (whose duties do not involve “research”) who were initially ineligible, to become eligible for the exception, universities evade conversion to unlimited-term employment contracts.

It is time to end the “10-year exception” for part-time teachers and resistance to this change will only lead to further abuses.