Friday, August 21, 2009

City and Guilds - Show me the money

I have decided to go public with this complaint as I seem to be getting nowhere with this. At the beginning of June I did some work as an interviewer for the City and Guilds ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) exams here in Thessaloniki. A tough weekend in which I did up to 37 interviews in one day.

As anyone who has done similar work will understand you have to follow their guidelines to the letter. This means being absolutely focused on what you are doing for hours on end with no room for error as everything is recorded. Things were not helped by the fact that at the first school I worked in we were not provided with so much as a class of water despite the fact that temperatures were 35C. Nor was there any place to get something to eat or drink in the vicinity.

To add insult to injury I still haven't been paid. I checked my bank account and they have no record of any deposit from City and Guilds and although I have sent many emails I have had no reply so far. I have worked for many other examining bodies and this is the first time I have had such problems.

Has anyone else had a similar experience either here in Greece or in other countries? I would welcome ideas about what to do next.

Latest update.

Yet more emails and still no reply let alone payment. The good news is that if you are looking for City and Guilds Greece on Google this blog entry is the first thing you will find. I think they are about to get a crash course in the power of social media. They enough money to pay for endless TV ads but not enough to pay staff?


I finally did get paid by City and Guilds in September, just four months late and frankly I am not working with them ever again. I just got a measly sum in my bank account and absolutely no paperwork on how my pay was worked out and what deductions were made. Tax? Health insurance? I have no idea. The amount in no way comes close to being considered a fair wage for working such long hours over a weekend in a difficult, mentally taxing job.

So, do yourself a favour avoid them if at all possible.


Jessica said...

I live in Athens. They hired me to write material for English exams last year. Then when I wrote them, they claimed that they were only samples and to come back for a meeting with all the other writers to do group feedback. At the meeting they congratulated us for being chosen to be a part of their team. Feedback, was great. They liked my work. They suggested a few changes and said they would send me a report via email, on what changes to make to then fix them and submit them for approval. Then if they are accepted, I'll get paid for them. I never got the report. I never heard from them again.

Beginning of this year I email, asking what is going on. They said they tried to call me, but I never answered, so they thought I wasn't interested anymore. No one ever tried to call me. So I asked, 'if you insist you tried to call, why didn't anyone get in contact with me via email?' The guy I spoke to said he would get the communications director to contact me about the issue within a week. He contacted me today, three weeks later, insisting that I was told I hadn't even been hired and that the writing I did was purely for evaluation. I was NOT told this.
I'm furious and I'm querying the ministry of labour to see if I can do anything about it. Do you think I'll be able to?

teacher dude said...

Sorry to hear about your troubles. Have you checked out the latest EFL books published here? Perhaps they have used your stuff in some new ones.

Basically, there's not much you can do. By all means contact the ministry but I've found labour protection laws here are rarely enforced and that is one of the reasons businesses can get away with such outrageous practices.

Another alternatve is to name and shame them on the internet.

Jessica said...

Haha, yes. A friend of mine knows the guy that was in charge, and who spoke to me yesterday. Apparently he's a professional liar. He used to write some ELT material for the company she worked for, and told them that he couldn't submit the work on time because he was very sick in hospital. He's was off getting a hair transplant!!! Yes, yes, maybe I'll attend the next book exhibition and plant something scary in his bag ... :)