National Union Of General Workers, National Workers' Council
Kumamoto General Union

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 1998 (8:15 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.)
In 1997, a group of foreign teachers at the Prefectural University of Kumamoto formed the Kumamoto General Union affiliated to the National Union of General Workers, National Workers' Council. The union was formed to win for the foreign teachers the same working conditions as their Japanese colleagues. Unlike their Japanese colleagues, all of the full-tin]e foreign teachers have limited employment terms. (Full-time is a translation of the Japanese expression 'senninkyouin', used in the Japanese education system to mean full-time, regularly employed teachers.) Moreover, many of the full-time foreign teachers are employed as Special Part-Time Irregular Foreign Teachers. Employing full -time teachers on part-tin]c contracts is of course contradictory. None of the full-time Japanese teachers at the Prefectural University of Kumamoto are employed in this way. This system of employment is blatantly discriminatory. Such discrimination on the basis of nationality is forbidden by the Labor Standards Act and the Japanese Constitution. Moreover, it is in violation of the United Nations Convention on Human Rights, which Japan has signed. 

The Kumamoto General Union submitted claims to the University and Kumamoto Prefecture in July 1997 asking for an end to the discriminatory practices, and for all the full-time foreign teachers to be employed in the same way as their full-time. Japanese colleagues. Formal negotiations between the Union and the Prefectural University began in October 1 997, and continued until broken off by the President of the University in February 1998. The University has rejected all demands, repeating only that their employment practices are 'appropriate' [tekitou]. The University has since imposed worse contracts on the Special Part-Time Irregular Foreign Teachers. In response, the Union submitted formal requests (moushiire) in February 1 998 asking for an immediate resumption of negotiations. To date, the Union has received no official response from the University.

The University's behavior is clearly an attempt to crush the union. In the face of worsening employment conditions and the University's failure to negotiate, the Union has no alternative but to continue to maintain our demands and defend our jobs . Accordingly, the Union has called a one-day strike for June 24, 1998. By taking this action the Union hopes to raise public awareness of discriminatory employment practices at the Prefectural University of Kumamoto. With public support the union seeks to bring about equal treatment for all teachers, regardless of nationality. 

We call on all concerned citizens, all sister unions, and teachers' organizations to join us on Wednesday the 24th, at the main entrance of the University, opposite the Red Cross Hospital. Distribution of leaflets will begin at 8: 15AM, and continue until 4PM. The main gathering will be at 12 noon when we hope all supporters can be present. 

Please send faxes of support to the University office with messages like the following: "Abolish discrimination on the basis of nationality", "Negotiate Now", and "Stop unfair labor practices ". If possible,let the Kumamoto General Union know that you have sent faxes to the University. Let's all call on the University and the Prefecture to practice true internationalization and really improve education at the Prefectural University of Kumamoto.