Nikkyoso launched a 21st-century committee consisting of informed people to study educational reform and published a report in April 1995. In the report, the union summarized the confrontation between the union and the government as "the greatest misfortune brought on by the political paradigm in the era of the System of '55," recognized the Ministry of Education as a "social partner of reform." The union's new action plan which gave shape to the report, reviews the union's old stance toward issues which results in confrontation between the union and the government. For instance, the union has opposed teacher training, saying that "teachers will be imbued with nationalism." But in the new action program, the union changed its policy away from "opposition to issues " toward "participation in them," saying that it "will endeavor to reflect the will of teachers in such a manner that the results of training may be given full play to school education as it participates in teacher training from the standpoint of seeking to qualitatively improve teachers." The union attributed its change in direction in the new policy to the following two points. First, "intensifying confrontation in the education community is not favorable to overcome the decline in Japanese education, as exemplified in the problem of bullying."
Second, the union attributed its policy changes to the falling unionization rate. Nikkyoso's unionization rate has now declined to 40 percent from a peak of 80 percent at one time. "Aid funds" offered to union members who were punished for staging a strike and were given a deferred pay hike have reached 4 billion yen a year. Therefore, per capita union dues are exceptionally higher than those for other unions, thus presenting an impediment to new membership. By mending fences with the Ministry of Education, Nikkyoso aims to get the authorities concerned to withdraw disciplinary punishments, such as deferment of pay raises, for union members to alleviate the burden of union finances.
The political environment in which the coalition government including both the LDP and the Social Democratic Party of Japan was launched, it is needless to say, prompted the reconciliation effort between the union and the government.
previous page next page MENU Labor Mamagement Relations Index