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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 January 10 - 16  > Part-time lecturers form union to fight back against university’s massive job-cut plan
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2018 January 10 - 16 [LABOR]

Part-time lecturers form union to fight back against university’s massive job-cut plan

January 10, 2018
At Nihon University (Nichidai), the largest private university in Japan, non-regular lecturers have formed their own union to block the university’s move to dismiss a large number of part-time lecturers.

The newly established union is a local of the Union of University Part-Time Lecturers in the Tokyo Area. So far, more than 20 part-time teachers joined the union and began pushing the university to withdraw the dismissal plan.

While the mammoth institution withheld information about the exact number of part-time lecturers may lose their teaching positions, the union reckoned that the university employs at least 4,000 teaching staff on fixed-term contracts. A union member said, “I thought it’s unlikely that such a huge number of contingent staff will be fired at once. However, it seems that the university intends to cut as many jobs as possible.”

Nichidai in October 2017 changed its rules of employment so that it can fire part-time lecturers after five years. Despite its denial, it is obvious that the university aims to evade its obligation under the revised Labor Contract Act to switch fixed-term contract workers who have been employed for five consecutive years to open-ended employment contracts. The amended law will be implemented in April this year.

A female part-time teacher who teaches German at the Department of History in Nichidai’s College of Humanities and Sciences is one of the workers who decided to join the union.

She said that although she as a German teacher made efforts to help students to deepen their understanding of the history of Germany, a key EU nation, the university gave her a dismissal notice just because she taught there for more than five years. She said that it is unacceptable for Nichidai to deal with contingent teaching staff in such a manner.

The union will strengthen its efforts to encourage part-time lecturers to participate in union struggles.
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