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Warning: Berlitz Krasnodar

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Joined: 27 Mar 2014
Posts: 1
Location: Krasnodar, Russia

PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 3:55 pm    Post subject: Warning: Berlitz Krasnodar Reply with quote

I recently resigned from Berlitz Krasnodar, Russia. It was a thoroughly horrible experience, and we want to do as much as possible to make sure no one else has to go through what we did. If you have any questions, or want to know more details feel free to PM me.

It seems like a lot, but believe me this is just the tip of the iceberg.

- Bait and switch

When I had my interview, they told me I could work however much I want within reason. I was promised a 20-hour week, and 50,000 rubles a month. When I arrived, they told me that I had to work a minimum of 40 hours each week for 45,000 a month, as anything less would not allow the director to reach his target of a 75% profit margin. Also, they often forced me to work more than 40 hours a week without paying overtime.

- Threat of deportation

When I tried to object to the minimum of 40 hours each week, saying that it isn’t what I had been promised, they threatened to kick me out of Russia, stating we would have no more than 3 days from that moment to “flee the country” if I declined their demand.

- Threatening illegal fines

The boss threatened to fine teachers that were even one minute late to class or didn’t come to the sometimes-weekly unpaid meetings, which were generally held during lunch breaks. This is illegal in Russia, but that didn’t deter him.

- Not paying for health insurance

When I applied for this job, I made sure to ask if they would be providing health insurance. They promised that they would, and even wrote it in the contract. It took them months to sort this question out, and when they did, following a colleague's illness, they came to the conclusion that they would not be paying for health insurance, instead offering to connect us foreign teachers with a provider so we could pay ourselves.

- Salary irregularities

Some months, the pay was different from person to person for no identifiable reason, and with a variety of explanations and dodges coming from the administration when confronted about this. If you plan on living alone, which you probably will be given that they don't actually employ many native speakers for you to share with, their apartment allowance will only cover 60% of your rent and utilities. Finally, if you are to take this job, be prepared to not get any salary for a month and half, as you are not paid for the current month until next month, and even that will be light as the two week training program is unpaid, and you will be expected to pay for the additional 40% of your rent immediately. Since I had a roommate, our rent was completely covered by them, but after two months they tried to get us to sign a contract addendum that would have reduced our rent allowance and led to us covering part of it. We refused of course, but they were clearly very unhappy with this. Another issue is illness. If you get sick, don’t count on receiving your regular salary, as random deductions will be taken for the time you didn’t work (even though your contract states otherwise).

Also, in the last few months I was there, the fixed salary was in the process of being replaced by a "motivation system" (an equation with ever shifting variables, including student feedback, and student attendance). Basically, it would work out to making less money than I had been unless I worked 50 or more hours a week.

- Scheduling issues

The scheduling was also a major issue. Some days you’d be working from 8:45 to 8:45 with only one 45-minute break, and other days you’d be working from 8:45 to 10:15, then again at 2:45 until 4:15, and again from 6:30 until 9:30. So, one day you would barely even have a lunch break, and the next you’d still be at the center all day because of the near ubiquitous split shifts, so expect to be spending more like 60 hours at the center each week. You’ll have plenty of things to fill this time with though, as you are expected to make a phone call to the parents of every kid or teen student once a month and make a write-up explaining how the call went and confirming that you explained the Berlitz method to them again. I, for example, at one point had 60 children, so with a 20-minute call, and 10 minutes writing the report, this added another 30 hours of work per month. Also, these calls are to be made from the school’s phones and are recorded and listened to by a member of staff.

In conclusion, Berlitz Krasnodar will make false promises to lure you there and make more to keep you. You will spend 60 hours a week at the center, and be paid for 40 if you’re lucky. Your hourly pay works out to be worse than at other schools, and you will have to deal with a complete lack of organization and professional support on a daily basis. Think very carefully about what you’re getting into before working at Berlitz Krasnodar.

Last edited by berlitz_krasnodar on Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:56 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 1143
Location: Cyprus

PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 4:18 pm    Post subject: Sounds rather typical? Reply with quote

No doubt this is just another franchise and the name Berlitz guarantees nothing! You are at the whim of the people who run it and this usually means that they do so to make as much as they can for themselves by screwing you over in the process! It seems like you were also doing admin. and other duties by phoning parents etc. which is not normally a teachers responsibility, no doubt to save them employing other people for this?
Hope you found something else there if you like working in Krasnodar? It's one of the nicest areas in Russia, even more with summer coming along.
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Joined: 17 Jan 2013
Posts: 360

PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2014 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I notice the school owner or DoS got themselves banned off /r/tefl on for trying to intimidate the OP who made the exact same post on that site about a week or so ago.
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