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Historic strike vote at BC Taiwan

Teachers in Taiwan to strike for fair pay.

British Council teachers, furious that their basic pay has not risen in 20 years, are to vote on strike action for 11 June. The action follows months of negotiations between the BC and the Taiwan Higher Education Union (THEU) which represent a majority of the teachers. If the vote goes through it will be the first time in the history of the island that teachers will have gone on strike.

The teachers’ rate has not changed since 2004 when the Council opened its first school on the island. Since then, inflation has risen by 25%, while student fees are up by over a third.

The British Council told us: ‘Our full-time teachers are on a ten-point salary scale and receive a 2-3% annual pay raise every year as they move up this scale, regardless of inflation.

‘We have given all full-time and hourly-paid teachers a 3% increment on their monthly pay, effective from 1 April 2024.’

The teachers maintain the below inflation pay rise has not yet been implemented and point out that if base salaries had risen with inflation then so would the value of the increments.

The Council, who promised to do everything in their power to minimise the effect of any strike said: ‘We believe our teacher package […] is very competitive in the market.’

This may be true against local cram schools, but as one teacher responded: ‘I’d make more as a teaching assistant at the local international school.’

Image courtesy of Library
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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