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Time to join a union!

 
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SueL



Joined: 02 Dec 2004
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 6:17 pm    Post subject: Time to join a union! Reply with quote

OK, I've been in teaching for about three years now and my pay has gone down, rather than up. Every school I work at it's a similar story - the teachers' pay hasn't gone up (or even kept pace with inflation) for 5 years. Meanwhile, transport costs, rent etc continue to rise. School managers will use the excuse of a lean market, tight profit margins, falling student numbers due to BSE/September 11/SARS/collapse of South American economies (delete as applicable), the need to invest etc as an excuse not to raise pay.

We take all this, because we see ourselves as dispensable, all too easily replacable and we don't want to rock the boat because we can't afford to lose our jobs, etc etc. Sound familiar? EFL schools in London seem to be competing in the race to the bottom, paying less and less to get more students.

Isn't it time we did something about this? The only way I can see to shift EFL teachers wages out of the quagmire they are currently in, is for teachers to join a union. The GMB is the main union I know about that accepts EFL teachers. They represent teachers at some of the better known schools, including Bell, IH and Eurocentres. If a certain percentage of employees sign up to the union, your company is legally obliged to enter into negotiations with them. They won't deliver miracles, and you need someone on the ground in each school doing the legwork and getting people to sign up, but they could set the ball rolling.

If enough teachers at enough schools starting fighting for better conditions, we would get them. We don't need to be bolshy, or threaten to walk out, just politely and firmly insist that we get some kind of pay review. The more schools that raise teachers' pay, the less risk there is of these schools losing their competitiveness.

Naive? I'd prefer to think that I'm an optimist. Check out www.gmb.org.uk, or send me a reply if you want more info. Maybe we need to set up an EFL teachers' union e-list, to help each other/co-ordinate.

Comments welcome.
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SueL



Joined: 02 Dec 2004
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi
I didn't get a huge response to my original posting back in October so I'm having another stab at it.

A yahoo group has been set up for any EFL teachers interested in joining/forming a union. To subscribe, go to [email protected]. There's quite a lot of discussion on it so far. It's not country specific yet, but if lots of UK-based teachers sign up we could always set up a separate list. GMB already represent some EFL teachers in the UK, so the easiest and most effective thing may be to join them.

See also
http://www.eslcafe.com/forums/job/viewtopic.php?t=22336
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Russell Hadd



Joined: 06 May 2004
Posts: 181

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:36 pm    Post subject: Union Reply with quote

NUT or NATFHE are your best bet; they are trying to coordinate with UNISON to protest about the Government's disgraceful stance on pensions. The Govenment don't want strikes over the next month so they say they are having a rethink. As soon as they call the election next week we all know they'll forget about us. So, if you are in one of the Unions and you have a ballot paper then vote for a strike before the general election.

The reason they are doing all of this is so that they can get us ready to absorb the massive shortfalls of the German and Italian pension funds when they think we are ready to ditch the pound.
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SueL



Joined: 02 Dec 2004
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as I understand, NUT don't take teachers without a PGCE or B.Ed. - they don't regard those with CELTA or DELTA as proper teachers. Not sure about NATFE - I know some ESOL teachers who work in further ed colleges are in them, but GMB definitely do represent EFL teachers, and looking at their website, it looks like they are also involved in the pensions campaign. Is it the dispute over the public service pensions, or pensions in general that they are campaigning about? Your average EFL teacher who earns less than 300/week and has no work pension scheme (which is the case for most EFL teachers in private language schools in London), will be hard pushed to afford to strike in support of public sector workers' pensions.
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Will.



Joined: 02 May 2003
Posts: 783
Location: London Uk

PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Sue,
I am going to an IATEFL conference in Cardiff next week and shall use the occasion to promote, enquire, stimulate discussion of this topic.

http://www.iatefl.org/frameset/frame.asp?../events.asp~mainFrame

Maybe these organisations below might have an interest in the welfare of the EFL teachers as some may actually be working on funded courses.

http://www.natfhe.org.uk/abou/abou0001.html

http://www.britishcouncil.org/english/index.htm

http://www.lsc.gov.uk/
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SueL



Joined: 02 Dec 2004
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 10:41 am    Post subject: IATEFL Conference Reply with quote

Thanks Will
Perhaps you could push the following two e-groups at IATEFL for anyone who is interested in finding out more about unions.

[email protected] (UK discussion list about unions)
[email protected] (international discussion list about unions)

To subscribe: [email protected]
[email protected]


GMB isn't the only option for EFL teachers, I think some are in NATFHE, but GMB is the one I've encountered at a previous school.
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expatben



Joined: 05 Apr 2005
Posts: 214
Location: UK...soon Canada though

PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2005 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I live in the UK and I am currently a private ESL teacher, is joining a Union smart for me or not?
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