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Discussion Board & Information Site for Foreign Teachers in Thailand » The Teachers' Lounge » Why don't we have a Teacher's Union in Thailand?

Why don't we have a Teacher's Union in Thailand?

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1 union for khru farang on Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:20 pm

gungchang

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I'd love to hear if this has been tried in the past, and how it went.

The only mandatory unions I can think of are the AMA and the ABA. I fear that a teacher union would carry a load of parasites.

Also, I suspect that some Thais hold their pets in higher esteem than non-Thais and don't see farang working conditions not suitable for their pets as a problem.

Severance pay might be the first issue addressed.  It would be nice to people start to receive it, but more likely we'll see one year contracts, "resignations," and maybe more one year contracts.  Revolving door teachers could skyrocket.

I like the idea of a union and I hope it happens and I hope it works.  But, I think we need to be aware that our actions will have consequences, and that they may not be the consequences we foresee and desire.

Sirchai

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gungchang wrote:I'd love to hear if this has been tried in the past, and how it went.

The only mandatory unions I can think of are the AMA and the ABA. I fear that a teacher union would carry a load of parasites.

Also, I suspect that some Thais hold their pets in higher esteem than non-Thais and don't see farang working conditions not suitable for their pets as a problem.

Severance pay might be the first issue addressed.  It would be nice to people start to receive it, but more likely we'll see one year contracts, "resignations," and maybe more one year contracts.  Revolving door teachers could skyrocket.

I like the idea of a union and I hope it happens and I hope it works.  But, I think we need to be aware that our actions will have consequences, and that they may not be the consequences we foresee and desire.


Thanks a lot, a great post and some good thoughts. You're right about the fact that everything we foreigners are doing here will have consequences, but I believe that something has to be done.

Here's only one example why I believe that it's time for a change: There's a high school in xxxc province who's always been using an agency.

Ten years ago, it was a different agency and a fair deal to work there, but times are changing in a way that teachers are making a lot less than they did before. Ten years ago, an employee who's working for agency X in 2008 received an annual salary of 370,000 baht, after one year a monthly pay raise of 1,650 baht.

In 2017 and with another agency, let's call them XYZ, the employee has an annual income of exactly 279,000 baht, the 2 K bonus is only paid after a full academic year. And only if the school continues the second term contract.

That would be additional 18 K, but it's in no way comparable to the much higher salary ten years ago because everything has gotten very expensive.
A small shoebox house 10 year ago was 2,300 baht, the same shoe box now is around 4 K.


Back in the old days, people who worked for this agency at least had an accident insurance. People who've got the bad luck to have signed a contract have nothing. And to make it crueler, they don't get paid when they're sick. Catch 22?

To undermine that with numbers, ten years ago the agency paid each teacher 35 K, 5 K was for housing. The other agency now is so brutal and only pays nine months of the year. There's no more 10 K for November and no 10 K for April.

A dry period without salary of three months from 5th of March until the 5th of June, plus one more month without any payment makes working there to a nightmare/

Many teachers the agency is employing do not have a BA or a higher degree. It seems to attract those who're living here for a long time and those who want to stay with their loved ones.But they treat them in a way that's not human. Most pets are treated better, even in Thailand.

Of course, will those with a degree find another position before the second term starts, but the un-degreed employees have no other choice? It's pretty much common to protect the employees by giving them a different title and they can get a work permit being a trainer, a teacher's assistant, or a Curriculum developer.

But a work permit might also be not in their interest because they don't want to pay for. If the Immigration will show up, these teachers without work permits will be arrested and deported. I'm sure that the agency knows that, but they obviously don't care.

 The irony is that these people are working to be with their loved ones, but that would dramatically change when they get deported.  

I think that many of these teachers do not have a degree which might also be the reason that they treat their employees so badly.

 The teaching load is the only thing that skyrocketed from 16 hours ten years ago to 20, plus a lot more extracurricular work which is really time-consuming.


 If a teacher's sick on a Friday, or a Monday, they deduct also the weekend that was before or after the day of absence. If there's a natural disaster, for example, a flood and the school's closed for a few days or weeks, no pay.

 

In addition, the agency lets their employees sign a contract in English, after a few weeks they have to sign another one in Thai. But nobody receives a copy of this contract that's being used to apply for a work permit and visa.

.

Would there be something similar to a teacher's Union, I have my doubts that such agencies could do what they want with their employees.

 
I didn't mean to create a Union that's only fighting for money. It should be an institution that's well known and liked by the Thai authorities.


This Union should be well connected to the Khurusapha, or the whole body of the Ministry of Education in the capital city. Only a dream? Perhaps. wai



Last edited by Sirchai on Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:47 am; edited 4 times in total

bahn_farang

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Realistically we are already part of a union, the previous one was strong but closed suddenly. This of course history but the comments which members made have been consigned to the rubbish dump regrettably for reasons which fail to come to mind.

This forum is now our union, a place for consultation. Anything more is like Sirchai has rightly said, a dream

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Please explain why Thailand should give special treatment to foreigners ? How many trade unions are there here? Should not Thailand be forming a farmers union - to help their own people first?

Foreigners came here, foreigners signed the contracts - if they don't like it, there are other countries and options available.

If someone is so gullible or desperate to sign a 9 month contract - so what ! You made your bed - lie in it!

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"If all foreigners would sign up and pay a little amount of money to be able to consult lawyers I'm sure that some teachers' cry for help would be heard and some parts of the salaries couldn't just be kept in someones' pocket."

You complain about salaries, and yet are trying to find ways to spend what little you do get.

Just who would manage this "union"? Thais? They will want paying and as it is to do with education it would probably fall under a government department heading, so the Thais would be civil servants, (with all the expensive benefits).

Bar talk should be just that, and confined to just there.

Mike123_ca


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SA80 wrote:"If all foreigners would sign up and pay a little amount of money to be able to consult lawyers I'm sure that some teachers' cry for help would be heard and some parts of the salaries couldn't just be kept in someones' pocket."

You complain about salaries, and yet are trying to find ways to spend what little you do get.

Just who would manage this "union"? Thais? They will want paying and as it is to do with education it would probably fall under a government department heading, so the Thais would be civil servants, (with all the expensive benefits).

Bar talk should be just that, and confined to just there.

I believe Thai law states that only Thai citizens can form a union.

I know my school hates it when the foreigner teacher's go and complain to the Secondary Educational Service Area Office.


A couple of months ago a teacher was fired the end of February and was told he wasn't going to be paid for the months of March and April during which there is no teaching during these months.  The teacher called a lawyer and the lawyer had a meeting and school reconsidered and decided to honour the contract to the end of April.

Schools will look after their own interests. We as contract teacher's are working as independent contractors which put us in a very weak position when negotiating with schools.

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"If a teacher's sick on a Sunday, or a Monday, they deduct also the weekend that was before or after the day of absence. If there's a natural disaster, for example, a flood and the school's closed for a few days or weeks, no pay."

How does the school/agency know if you are sick on a Sunday?

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"When will foreigners who work as English/language teachers in LOS understand that we're all sitting in the same boat that's already got some holes in it.?"

Sorry,but not everyone is in the same boat, many many teachers are happy with both their work and home life. I have never heard of a teacher committing suicide, (though it may have happened).

To "lump" together all the begpackers/Nigerians/Russians with the qualified teachers would be a disaster. We can all admit that the EFL world in Thailand is not perfect, but honestly, a union would not be able to sort it out - it would be a tiger with no claws - loud but useless.

gungchang

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SA80 wrote:"If a teacher's sick on a Sunday, or a Monday, they deduct also the weekend that was before or after the day of absence. If there's a natural disaster, for example, a flood and the school's closed for a few days or weeks, no pay."

How does the school/agency know if you are sick on a Sunday?

I suspect that the OP meant to type "on a Friday or a Monday."

The school, IMHO, has a right to be suspicious. I tripped one Thai teacher up who had used sick leave to create an extra three day weekend. Maybe she thought that she was the only one to do this and that management wasn't noticing.

The school doesn't have the right to tell teachers not to quit, get sick, or die on two days of the week. This is what doctor's notices are for.

One of my priors did tell us there was a teacher shortage and not to quit, get sick or die. There was good reason for doing this, though.

Sirchai

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SA80 wrote:"If a teacher's sick on a Sunday, or a Monday, they deduct also the weekend that was before or after the day of absence. If there's a natural disaster, for example, a flood and the school's closed for a few days or weeks, no pay."

How does the school/agency know if you are sick on a Sunday?

 My apologies, on Fridays or Mondays.



Last edited by Sirchai on Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:34 am; edited 1 time in total

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Seriously? You call me a troll because I ask how a school knows you are sick on a Sunday?

And then to correct yourself you post "My apologies, on Saturdays or Mondays, you Troll.".

So now I will ask, how does the school know you are sick on a Saturday?

Sirchai

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SA80 wrote:Seriously? You call me a troll because I ask how a school knows you are sick on a Sunday?

And then to correct yourself you post "My apologies, on Saturdays or Mondays, you Troll.".

So now I will ask, how does the school know you are sick on a Saturday?

Nope.

Sirchai

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bahn_farang wrote:Realistically we are already part of a union, the previous one was strong but closed suddenly. This of course history but the comments which members made have been consigned to the rubbish dump regrettably for reasons which fail to come to mind.

This forum is now our union, a place for consultation. Anything more is like Sirchai has rightly said, a dream


Perhaps a dream within a dream? wai

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