I know a group of teachers last year that tried to take a well known private school to court over various acts of blantant labour abuses. They fell like rocks when a well known law firm (which also wrote the law book we were using to find information) told them the law they published did not apply to us. Since then I have been very cautious about my work contract.
I have been at one school now for a year and a half and have been told that I would be offered a new contract within the month. During a conversation about the changes in the contract which are minor. I ask how that applied to a spacific right. It was about giving a months notice to resign and the principal could reject it. If you left you would pay month months pay for damages and lose all bonuses etc....Now I know they can not do that because of the pay cycle but it is in the contract for a teacher at this private school. They want 90 days to allow them to hire, advertise, and do paper work blah blah blah. O.k. in a way that makes sense. They even tell you at least six months in advance you will not be rehired. So fair is fair.
The surprising thing I was told (and the reason for this writing), is the Human Resource Director who is very knowledgable said, "This is only a work agreement but you have a license from the Government of Thailand as recognition you are a professional teacher. That means we are bound by the Thai Labor Laws and the MOE Profession Teachers Labour Law. We must use them combined for you if you have a license. If you do not we do not have to use the law. I immediately began to think that foreigners can not hold a government position by law. So how can we be viewed as a equal to a government employee with rights guaranteed because we hold a license from the government? That sounds confusing I know. Especially, when the Thai teachers are also exempt from the law at a private school. (However, the Thai teachers have a different contract at most schools anyway.)
Thinking this was bull I asked her if I could see it and behold she had it. Quite plainly it said, "Profession Teacher Labour Laws" with Thai Ministry of Labour, MOE, Counsel of Teachers, etc.....all over it. She let me thumb through it and I did notice specific things like 30 days sick leave, 30 day notice to resign, professional development and payments for various situations. I admit I did not get a chance to absorb much as it was a fast thumb through. This book is not allowed out of the office. Does anyone know where it would be available as I can not find it on the web by the name I have?
Also, Attached in the front was a PDF file that caught my attention. Apparently in 200? (forgot the date, 2006 I think??) a revision endorsed by the king amended the Labour Protection act and specifically said all teachers and principals were covered by the same laws as everyone else. All persons working in Thailand were to be covered. I am home now and I appologize for not giving the correct title here. This I did look up. I have it at work and will post where to get it later. Note: In this amendment there is a article that does mention something that rings of the exception to teachers but it is very ambiquous and not forcefully stated as in the act of 2551 (1998). This makes me think that many of the clauses and conditions in the contract are there because we don't know about the laws and this protects literally 100% the school against a teacher that knows nothing about rights. Most foreigners do not rock the boat and do very well teaching and rights are not a big issue but when it does become an issue it is usually at the worst time. So you need to know just where you stand if you need to.
I am not wanting to ignite the rights of teachers again as it was a very emotional and stressing experience but it is important to know what is out there. Also, the law firm we used could also be working for the school we tried to address and did not want to go against them. What this means is the information is out there but as foreigners we are placed in a gauntlet at the very bottom of hell and told if we can find the map we are free to leave. This is why some teachers win and some lose.
As ajarn.com is a very well known and connected/established web site and/or company I am sure they have reputable and experienced legal staff or mimimumly competent representation. In addition, it confuses me as if this is the case and so many issues in this area come up constantly, why is there not a site, link or available access to finding these PDF, legal postings, etc...... for us to see. This is not for commentary of complaining but a directory that much like a search engine will direct you to the page that you can read and know it exist not just a mythical creature of knowledge. My own example: I have the PDF but forgot to bring it home. Why shouldn't we as advance professionals have access to an informational site that would show everyone what I have so my word is not the only thing you read.
Seeker of Knowledge