Well, we find ourselves again at the end of the school year and for many the end of our contract. If like I and my three colleagues, you're wondering if your school will reward you financially for your services for the past year, think again.
As one of my colleagues was looking through this website for his next job, he came across a detailed blog about Thai employment law.
“Wow! have you guys seen this”. And he began to read through the multitude of laws that benefit foreigners living and working here in amazing Thailand.
We all sat with our mouths open and our minds running at a million miles an hour. Within seconds we all had the same thought - the school has to pay us severance pay of 30 days. We were entitled to it.
Blog photocopied, we approached the department head and handed the information for them to read. Within seconds you could feel the anger and hatred oozing from every pore in their body. ‘No’ was the direct and forceful response. And then came an about-turn and a complete refusal to discuss the matter any further.
Left standing in bewilderment, we thought ‘well if that’s how you want to play it, then a visit to the city’s labor office is in order’
Armed with my contract and a freshly printed copy of the Thai labour law from Ajarn.com, my Thai friend and I made our way to the labor offices. Upon our arrival we were greeted by the office staff only to discover the school had called them beforehand.
Anyway, my Thai friend and I sat down with two labor department officers to discuss matters further, with my Thai friend doing much of the communication on my behalf.
“Basically you don’t have any rights in this situation” said one of the officers. When I questioned why, he slid a copy of the law, written in English, across the table and pointed to section four.
Section 4: This act shall not apply to: central administration, provincial administration and local administration; and state enterprises under the law governing state enterprise labour relations.
So, basically 90% of foreign teachers that work in government schools and the above are not covered by many of the laws in this book. And basically the school can put whatever it wants in your contract and once signed you have no comeback.
I think the thing that pisses me off most is if one of these Thais lived and worked in England, after five years they would be given residency and the right to work freely. They would also enjoy the same rights as myself under British law. And my country’s law would afford them the same protection as me.
I’ve lived in Thailand for many years. I’ve abided by their laws and learnt their culture to the best of my ability. I’ve paid my taxes and the salaries I’ve received have been spent within Thailand. I’m not Filipino or African that sends a large percentage of their salary home to families. The money I earn in Thailand, stays in Thailand.
No wonder good teachers are leaving this country in droves. Working in Afghanistan would be easier than this place.
Ajarn.com says - It's worth pointing out that the 'labor law' article which serves as the basis for this post is an article written by Teacher Andre and appears in the ajarn guests section of the website under the title 'The Thai Labor Law'. It is not an article written by ajarn.com. However, that's not to say the information in the article is deliberately misleading in any way but is accurate to the best of the writer's knowledge. I know a number of teachers who have sought advice from Thai labor ministries - some have been successful and others haven't. As anyone who has lived here any length of time will know - Thailand is nearly always fifty shades of grey. Even when it comes to laying down the law it would seem.