Books, eBooks, and more from Debito Arudou, Ph.D. (click on icon):
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free
“LIKE” US on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/debitoorg
Hi Blog. A friend sends word that his group of plaintiffs, some of whom are Non-Japanese, won their lawsuit against a university employer that had been ongoing for seven years.
In his words:
December 9, 2021
If you are getting this notice, it’s because you contributed in some way to our win in this case so CONGRATULATIONS! A few of you contributed massively, putting in many many hours of work, some helped by providing data or a letter we could submit to the court to counter MEI lies, or helped with translation, or showed up in court, or are union members who voted for funding. Some of you spread the word about the case. Some just said, “Gambatte!” when we needed it.
My point here is it took a long term (7 years for some of us!) team effort by dozens of us to finally succeed, and succeed we did in the high court. We could not have achieved a better outcome…
MEI has two weeks to appeal to the Supreme Court. And they might. That’s for them to worry about, not us.
In terms of money, I won all of my back pay, plus 5% interest, plus court fees that I had paid. I was not compensated for attorney fees, or mental anguish. We have no anchor website for this issue.
The main reasons we won were:
1.) MEI failed to negotiate in good faith with the union about the cut
2.) They had no real financial need to reduce salaries
3.) There was no reduction in workload or other compensation for the reduction in pay.
COMMENT FROM DEBITO: This matters because there’s a long tradition in Japan of Academic Apartheid, where foreign academics in higher education are given contracted status (increasingly, term-limited) while Japanese-citizen academics are given uncontracted, permanent tenure from day one of employment. This is probably the oldest issue we’ve taken up on Debito.org, and it’s only gotten worse over the quarter-century of coverage: Instead of more foreign academics becoming tenured like Japanese, the trend is to “gaijinize” the Japanese faculty (as a money-saving effort encouraged by the Ministry of Education all the way back in 1995) by putting them on contracts, eliminating tenure in an attempt to clean out disagreeable leftists from Japan’s universities.
MEI’s move to put everyone above a certain age on a different lower pay scale (Japanese and foreign) was a line the Fukuoka High Court was not willing to allow under the law. Good to have that precedent set. Conclusion: Join a union if you’re working in Japan. Then fight these things in court as a union.
Despite this being important news for Japan’s academics, it hasn’t made the English-language media. So let me translate the Mainichi’s brief on this. Debito Arudou, Ph.D.
未払い賃金訴訟、元教授が逆転勝訴 「不利益大きい」 高裁宮崎支部
毎日新聞 2021/12/10 Courtesy of one of the plaintiffs
Unpaid Salaries Lawsuit: Former Professors see their prior decision against them overturned: “This is a huge disadvantage” says Fukuoka High Court Miyazaki Branch
Mainichi Shinbun, December 10, 2021, translation by Debito, corrections welcome.
Due to a revision in the basic salary levels, Miyazaki International College cut their former professors’ base salaries by 20% once they reached sixty years of age. Plaintiffs sued their employer, Miyazaki Gakuen, for breach of labor contract, and demanded they pay 42,500,000 yen of unpaid salaries based upon their previous contract status. Upon appeal, on December 8 the Fukuoka High Court overturned the Miyazaki District Court’s prior ruling, and awarded the plaintiffs all of their claims.
According to the decision, the former professors were employed on contract status as instructors from the year 2000, and over 17 years of contract renewals they achieved the rank of professor. They retired in 2020. According to the college, in 2015 they claimed financial distress and revised the base salary to cut 20% from all contracted educators over the age of sixty. This pay cut also affected the former professors in question, and the court would not acknowledge the rationality of the cut due to it being overly disadvantageous to plaintiffs (furieki ga ookiku gouriteki to mitomerarenai to shita).
Head Judge Takahashi Ryousuke said, “For the educators this is disproportionate, and the university did not even take measures such as other compensation that would alleviate the disadvantages that come with such a pay cut,” dismissing the college’s claims. ENDS
Do you like what you read on Debito.org? Want to help keep the archive active and support Debito.org’s activities? Please consider donating a little something. More details here. Or if you prefer something less complicated, just click on an advertisement below.