Foreign teacher unionists face ax

Kyodo

An Osaka labor union has filed a claim with a local labor committee over threats by Kyoto’s Ritsumeikan University to fire four foreign teachers if they refuse to withdraw from union activities.

The university told the four teachers on the phone to stop their union activities or their employment contracts would be terminated, according to the union’s claim. The four distributed union flyers in front of the school in June.

The General Union, based in Osaka, also filed a complaint against the university at the labor standards inspection office in Kyoto, accusing the school of setting no employment regulations for its foreign teachers, the union said.

“Foreign teachers’ contracts are terminated in three to five years at Ritsumeikan University. It should create employment regulations so they can work without anxiety,” the union said in a statement.

The General Union has 560 members, about 90 percent of whom are foreign nationals. Most are from English-speaking countries and work in Japanese high schools, universities or companies that teach English, the union said.