In June 2021 a language teacher who we shall call ‘Jo’ asked us to help prepare a case against Anglo-Continental School of English regarding the fraudulent use of “fixed term contracts” after reading about the successful outcome for staff at Kaplan School.
Jo started work at Anglo-Continental on a fixed term contract in 2010. This ended when the school closed for its December break. Jo returned to the school in January and the contract was extended for one year.
This pattern was repeated over the next eight years. They worked in the same job at the same site for at least 11 months each year with 4 weeks paid holiday, being upgraded to Co-ordinator in the summer months. The HR manager even admitted they had to break the contract annually to deny them full employment rights; often when they requested a holiday they were given a P45.
After four years, according to UK employment law, Jo became a permanent employee by default, however they were never informed of this fact by management (a breach of its contractual duty of “trust and confidence”).
In March 2020 the school shut and Jo was put on ‘furlough’ until 31st July. Their contract was then terminated on the grounds there was no work; in law this is simply ‘dismissal by reason of redundancy’. They were not consulted over redundancy selection nor told of their entitlement to compensation (another contractual breach).
Had Jo contacted the union at the time we would of course have taken it to tribunal. Unfortunately these cases are time limited but we believe if a sum is owed to a Fellow Worker, it remains owed until it is paid.
In March 2021 Jo returned to the school with a new contract which ran until they took a week off on 4th June after which it was again renewed.
In July the TEFL union wrote claiming compensation and passed the casework to Dorset branch. Within days Jo was fired. Dismissals for Trade Union activity and ‘whistle-blowing’ are automatically unfair so no need to quibble over length of service. We’ve now exhausted the grievance procedure and ACAS Conciliation so we are, at last, taking it to the Employment Tribunal.
We have sight of internal e-mails that show Anglo-continental as a dysfunctional organisation with no clear demarcation of responsibility (and a limited grasp of the English language). Five members of staff, including senior managers were overruled on a whim of their sinister boss Guido Shillig, who we’re told “doesn’t like unionists”.
The IWW will not rest until we obtain for our members the full fruits of their labour. If you teach English as a foreign language join the TEFL union and help put this villain in his place.