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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 February 20 - 26  > Court: Shukutoku University's refusal to engage in collective bargaining is unfair labor practice
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2019 February 20 - 26 [LABOR]

Court: Shukutoku University's refusal to engage in collective bargaining is unfair labor practice

February 22, 2019

The Tokyo District Court on February 21 ruled that Shukutoku University's interference in union activities and refusal of the union's collective-bargaining request constitute unfair labor practices, ordering the university to immediately engage in negotiations with the teachers' union.

This legal case was filed by Shukutoku University demanding the retraction of decisions the Tokyo Metropolitan Labor Relations Commission and the Central Labor Relations Commission made in 2016 and 2017, respectively, determining the university's acts to be illegal.

About five years ago, the university, with campuses located in Chiba, Saitama, and Tokyo, announced that it would abolish the Department of International Communication at the Saitama campus at the end of March 2017, forcing its teaching staff to choose between voluntary retirement or dismissal. Following this announcement, several teachers formed a union and made a request to hold collective bargaining sessions, hoping that they could maintain their teaching positions.

However, university authorities specified conditions to holding talks which the union could not accept, and so no talks took place between the university and the union. On top of that, the university prohibited union activities on campus. It even rejected any mail delivered to the university which were addressed to the union, sending them back to the senders. At the end of March 2017, the university forced the dismissals.

According to the latest court decision, the ban on union activities imposed by the university is an abuse of the custodial right and control over union activities. The court criticized the university authorities for having neglected to hold collective bargaining sessions and unreasonably rejecting the union's request for such sessions.

Currently, Shukutoku University provides similar classes in a new department.

Another lawsuit is still pending in the Tokyo District Court which was filed by the union demanding the withdrawal of their dismissals and their right to return to work.
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