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  • Writer's pictureIWW Ireland

TEFL Union secures unpaid holiday from British School of Marketing International


A stern letter from a union representative has seen a Bournemouth-based TEFL teacher recover £400 in unpaid annual leave.

Ralph, a member of the TEFL Workers’ Union, worked at The British School of Marketing. However, he eventually left the job due to the overbearing demands of school management. Upon leaving the job, Ralph calculated that he had accrued – and was therefore owed – just over £400 in unused holiday pay.

Management tried to use the fact that Ralph left the school at short notice and had declined to take on certain classes due to other work commitments as a reason to deny paying him his rightful holiday.

According to Tom Liebewitz, chair of the TEFL Workers’ Union steering committee:

“This is a classic case of schools wanting to have their cake and eat it, too. They can’t offer full-time work and pay wages that mean many of us are working two or even three jobs. Yet when we ask for flexibility to accommodate for this, it’s used against us.

To try to rectify the matter, Ralph sent a number of emails to the school. Management failed to engage with his requests or even acknowledge his emails.

But Ralph, a long-time member of the union, was not one to take such a blatant attempt at wage theft lying down.

As Ralph put it:

“I am certain every TEFL worker who joins IWW will have made the right decision. Only in solidarity is there strength; in solitude and isolation there is only exploitation of working people. Employers will never curb their exploitative tendencies without a good few nudges from their workers to do the right thing and treat their workers – their profit-makers – right.”

With the support of the union, Ralph filed a claim for unlawful deduction of wages with ACAS. Combined with a strongly-worded letter from a union rep, school management quickly coughed up the cash.

Sadly, dodgy TEFL bosses that deny workers their rightful wages are all-too-common. We can’t put it any better than Ralph when he says:

“The same schools that offer very little in terms of job or financial security turn around and demand total dedication and loyalty from teachers. If it weren’t for trade unions like IWW we would have no champion of our rights and we could not find justice.”

If you work at a language school and you think your boss might be denying you your rightful pay, the TEFL Workers’ Union has got your back! You can always reach a union rep by emailing tefl@iww.org.uk

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