"We would no longer show up for classes until payment was made..."

"We would no longer show up for classes until payment was made..."

Late wages no more: an account of fighting back and getting paid in the language teaching industry.

In the course of receiving submissions for our callout for accounts of unpaid labour in the language teaching industry, our fellow language teaching workers shared a number of stories of experiencing problems with late payments or, worse, straight-up wage theft: not receiving their pay at all.

While this wasn't the exact scope of the original project, it does highlight another problem faced by workers in our industry.

But it's not all bad as at least one person was able to share a short story of successfully fighting back with a co-worker against late payment.

We include it here for reference and inspiration:

Quote:
In 2009 I was assistant manager of a new franchise in China where we went through three accountants in the span of a few months. As a result, my first payment was delayed by about two weeks. By contract, salaries were to be paid on the 15th of the following month, meaning I'd work two full months before getting paid. I trusted I'd get paid, had sufficient cash to live on, appreciated the situation, and so didn't protest.

In that second month, however, a new employee arrived and when told they told us that payment would again be delayed, he protested, claiming he had expenses to cover back home. Having been working and in the country for close to six weeks already without pay and then being told to wait longer was sufficient grounds, in my opinion, to support him in his request.

The school tried to pass off the issue claiming they'd need to, yet again, hire another accountant. So I suggested we tell the school we would no longer show up for classes until payment was made. He agreed. We did. Payment was promptly made.

If you're having similar problems, don't be afraid to fight back. Employers get away with this sort of behaviour because they're used to going unchallenged. As we've seen, even just two workers standing together can make all the difference.

And if you need support or help, don't be afraid to PM us or email us on teflsolidarity (a) gmail.com

Posted By

Angry Language ...
Jul 16 2014 22:59

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  • I suggested we tell the school we would no longer show up for classes until payment was made. He agreed. We did. Payment was promptly made.

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