OSAKA — A labor union representing French-language instructors filed a complaint with the Osaka Regional Labor Relations Commission on Wednesday accusing a Kyoto-based French cultural institute of unfair labor practices, union officials said.
The General Union called for the commission to take up its dispute with the Japan-France Institute of Kansai, which it says has rejected offers for collective bargaining, and the French government.
The officials said the French government effectively employs the instructors, who were hired by the institute, as it has authority over the general management and appoints the head of the institute.
It is rare for a foreign government to be named in a complaint with a regional labor relations commission.
The commission said it will consult with the Central Labor Relations Commission on whether it has the authority to take up a dispute involving a foreign government.
The Osaka-based union said in its petition that it proposed collective bargaining with the institute several times between August and January.
The institute said it had to discuss the matter with the French Embassy in Japan.
Valerie Letellier, head of a branch of the union, told a news conference, “The institute is trying to replace us with worse-paid instructors and we are worried about our position. We want the institute to discuss this with us.”
Jean-Claude Duthion, deputy head of the institute, declined to comment on the union’s move, saying only that it was a “surprise.”
The Japan-France Institute of Kansai, located in Kyoto’s Sakyo Ward, was established in 1927 with the support of Diet members and the French ambassador.
Along with the Japan-France Kaikan in Tokyo, the institute is defined as a public cultural organization under a Japan-France cultural agreement.
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