That is not correct unless it says that the Chinese-language version governs. That said, it’s a good idea to check them for inconsistencies that can crop up for all kinds of reasons and create lots of bad feeling.[/quote]
Out of curiosity I want to ask: what happens legally if the statement that the Chinese version governs is missing and there is a dispute?[/quote]
Which was my point. Battery9 did not mention she was given a Chinese version, and to make matters worse, I know several acquaintances who have live dand worked here for ages and have never been given one. And yes, the “Chinese rules” clause is there.
Sorry to hear about your tribulation, Battery, it is quite a hassle. Unfortunately, it is very common company policy. The bosses anywhere want as little hassle as possible, plus the face issue, plus the stingy mentality, short term business sight… Sigh
Indeed, everyone has their “enough is enough” point. Best of luck with your decision.
I worked in a junior high school for a short period and encountered many of the issues mentioned here. It’s the whole ‘English teaching industry’ that you are involved in that has the issue and it will only get worse as they face further financial pressures, the easiest way to cost down for them without looking bad to the parents is to quietly switch to cheaper teachers who can be switched as often as every semester. The education system here is geared for college entrance exams and you are not in the system! They know that is not good for English learning quality but since classes taught by foreigners are not contributory to getting into a good university it’s not thought of as important by the parents and hence by the school administration, it’s more of a hook for getting students in. Eventually your jobs will be replaced by non-native speakers or teachers from the poorest English speaking countries. You are just an extra cost, an ancillary service to the student’s education and as such will be the first place to be cut back, not even considering contracts are almost non-existent in these places and therefore it is easy to do for them. I’d advise anyone working in these places to take it on the chin and try and get a recognised qualification and take the chance to move onto something better for yourself, whether in education or another industry. As for buxibans and anchinbans, they are slightly better but only slightly. Don’t beat yourself up, use the independent skills you’ve developed working in Taiwan and remember it was probably more daunting starting off in Taiwan than the next step you will take.
So what documents do they submit to the government to get you a work permit? There has to be a contract, even if you’ve never seen it.
Regardless of whether you have ever signed a contract, you have an agreed set of conditions in place. The Labour Bureau is the way to go. I got arbitration on a verbal agreement last year.
But I wouldn’t do it unless I was burning bridges. Obviously they will never take you back if you force them to admit they’re doing something wrong. I would just start looking for the next thing, and save the wrangling over severance until closer to the time.
Also, I have a friend who told me (he’s a reasonably reliable guy) that he had worked for a company for years on annual contracts, and when the company decided to pull the plug they went - amicably - to the labour department together to find out what he was entitled to. The ruling was apparently that he still had rights as a ‘permanent’ employee despite being on a new contract every year.
[quote=“Battery9”] When I got here 7 yrs ago I earned 500. Now I earn 630. But the exchange rate has gone up(ok ok, except for now!!) SO when my friends back home ask me what I earn after 7 years of experience its almost less than when I started.
sigh. Def time for me to look for another little pile of land.[/quote]
Damn, I taught at a school in Chayi where the owners actually built a nice school and each teacher had their own classrooms. I was getting paid NT$700 an hour with 32 hours a week teaching, and that was back in 1999.
there was a meeting yesterday where the boss had a microphone and she yelled so loudly it interrupted our classes (on the 2nd floor!)
Afterwards she stomped upstairs and when we punched out there was a big sign on the clock saying there is a meeting for the English Teachers this afternoon at 4. There is something they wanted to tell us after the holidays, but they need to do it now. It’s about the new policy.
hmmmmmmmmmmm. What a nice way to start the holidays! :dance:
hmm…were all losing 2 hours a week. Couldve been worse I guess…checked tealit and there arent really jobs…well, not the 3 pages of new jobs there used to be! And more and more schools are asking for ppl who are married to locals etc.
Yup, way back, my old school took away 6 hours a week with a fortnight’s warning and a ‘no you can’t apply for another work permit’. They then proceeded to try and force me to do the work at a lower rate as ‘overtime’, whenever they needed me. I said ‘no’, the boss had to do it himself and I got a private for twice the ‘hourly rate’.
So … whatever. The fewer hours you can do while keeping your work permit, the better, in some situations.
We spoke about the whole staying during lunch with my boss today, and she sounded surprised that it was such an issue for us. We reminded her that we dont have grandma’s and nannies at home…we need to take care of burst pipes and take our pets to the vet, go see a dr etc etc during lunch. Hopefully they will give us at least an hour lunchbreak. Thats one thing about my boss…you CAN actually talk to her. It’s not…this is the way it is…take it or leave it kind of thing.
I do think that Im going to stay with my school at least untill they want us to sign in Aug. Every job has its issues…
There is a contract signed. You just don’t know that you’ve signed it. It’s one of the huge pile of papers they put in front of you when you sign for your ARC stuff. They don’t tell you, but that if effectively the contract. It’s all in Chinese.
Battery, that is quite a pickle you’re in, but it could be worse. As you say, you guys can still talk to the boss.
Maybe things are really bad, obviously the business of bushibans is not paying off as well as it used to. Hopefully things can turn around for the better.
On the other hand, this tendency of insisting on hiring only people married to locals or APRC holders really pisses me off. They say they can save money this way (!!!). To me it sounds like a warning that there is something fishy with their taxes -plus the fact that they can pay off the books/less, etc. -which they usually do, but in their minds it is safer this way. Makes you want to call the Tax Office…
New? I’d say this is the strategy of many business owners in this industry. Perhaps the only thing new is that they admitted it.[/quote]
This is very true. It’s the nature of the bushiban beast. New teachers work for cheaper. Therefore they get the most hours. Old teachers need raises etc, and earn more per hour. from a purely financial point of view it makes sense to give the higher wage earners less hour. However, unlike a “normal” business, they’re not taking experience into account, nor are they figuring in client loyalty to the actual service provider (in this a teacher).
Also, most people who come here to teach stay a year, sometimes two, and on the outside, three. It is a very small percentage of us who stay longer than that. That, too, is part of the nature of the bushiban business. Essentially, to the bushiban laoban, the long time foreign teacher as at once a liability (financially) and an asset (client loyalty). This is probably one of the reasons why many of the long timers opt for other things, be that university work, business or whatever else comes along and offers something better…
This is easier for us because we usually have or qualify for visas (APRC, JFRV or in some cases, citizenship) which allows us to pursue other employment or business options.
This is one of the reasons why I often stand astonished when some folks claim to get paid NT$700 plus with 25 hours, or more, a week. It’s a rare bushiban laoban that recognises things like ability and experience in this industry and who’s willing to employ such a teacher for NT$700+/hr and give him/her enough hours when a fresh of the boat lad would happily take NT$500 with much more bullshit besides…
So…yeah…unfortunately, I can completely believe this bullshit from your school.
Sage words. But, as with newbies, none of us thought about it (nor thought about ESL as a career in all probability) as folks usually come out here with the notion of staying for a year or two, traveling and saving some money…
Just this Friday I was thinking (whilst driving from one school to another) that I really love living here, but I can’t keep doing this. It was all good when it was just myself and my next beer to worry about, but with a family and a kid it just isn’t cricket anymore.
I feel your pain. This is another peril of being a longtimer. And it does seem asif the last year has been especially perilous regarding old friends leaving.
[quote=“Battery9”]but, I do get it. Times are tough…I will just try to find a school that actually gives bonuses for resigning contracts, etc. Some way to feel like youre actually climbing a ladder of some sort. Because there really isn’t a lot of growth in this job industry. When I got here 7 yrs ago I earned 500. Now I earn 630. But the exchange rate has gone up(ok ok, except for now!!) SO when my friends back home ask me what I earn after 7 years of experience its almost less than when I started.
sigh. Def time for me to look for another little pile of land.[/quote]
Well my main school (main as in ARC school) gives resigning bonuses, dependiing on the exchange rate, anywhere between 20-30 000.
As to climbing a ladder…almost three years ago when my wife got pregnant, I approached my boss and asked for more hours as I had a young one coming. At that stage I had 21 hours a week. Since then I got a NT$12 an hour raise (which was more than most) which took me from NT$550 to NT$562 per hour… My hours, however, have steadily declined from 21 to 9 a week…
Which is why I’ve been working at an adult school for more than a year now. They gave me a NT$50 raise after three months and I earn more than NT$100 an hour there than at my ARC school.
Unfortunately, this is probably the pinnacle. Sure, I could find another school (for mornings), and even work in a private or something, but it’s not really climbing a ladder, is it? The difference between this and a “normal” job is I can earn much more in a month, but in order to do so I have to work so many more hours a week. When I take vacation I have no income. I would prefer to work days and get home around 5pm, but gigs like that don’t pay as much as I’m getting now, and this would cut into my studies. Maybe later, but not now.
I do realise one thing. Like you, it’s time for me to start considering other options. The irony is, when I left the Navy to come here, this was paying about two times what I was getting back home. Had I stayed, with promotions and yearly raises, I would’ve been earning three times what I earn here (not including benefits, a 13th check and 35 days paid vacation every year…).
Ah well…it’s just money right?
I just really hope that this isn’t (to quote the movie) as good as it gets…
Yeah, I’ve also found that JFRV/APRC holders are increasingly in demand. It solves problems like work permits, and folks like that are more likely to stay and finish a contract. Also, the school (especially chain schools with various branches) doesn’t need to apply for more than one work permit for the teacher.
Even though my situation is probably very different from most of y’all’s, a lot of the more general things you’ve said hit home with me, and a few of the particulars, too. This thread makes me feel a little sad. But I think it’s for the best that I’ve read it.
B9, don’t be sad: it’s human nature to be avaricious. People clothe it as a virtue by saying that they are taking care of their children, family values etc, but it just boils down to ‘me and mine are more important than you’. It’s the ultimate cop-out/shrug in life. Just smile and side-step 'em because they are people who feel good about making ten NT out of shortchanging children and immigrants; there’s no point trying to engage with 'em. You will always come out on top because you are a kind person (a teacher!) with principles and they are just scuzzy little merchants who need money more than you do.
Keep moving on guys, either in Taiwan and in teaching, or somewhere else with a different job. You always have more options than you think you do.
[quote=“Buttercup”]You always have more options than you think you do.[/quote]Right. If you’ve been in one job for a while, sometimes you think that’s the only thing you can do, or the only thing you’d ever be happy doing. But it’s not good to limit yourself in that way. That was my experience, anyway. I’m doing something now that I’d never have imagined myself doing a few years ago.