WORKERS facing potential redundancy by international language school Education First (EF) in UK and Ireland are being urged to join a new support group in order to fight for their rights as the company begins redundancy consultations.
A large majority of the company’s staff are already on furlough. Union sources at various locations report that admin staff and zero-hours teachers are no longer on the job, leaving only the core “contract” teachers still teaching online.
The EF Redundancy Support Group, which formed this month, aims to ensure all EF employees — whether they’re senior teachers or kitchen staff — have access to the support and information they need as the consultations begins.
According to the group’s mission statement:
“It’s our labour that made EF the successful, profitable company that it is. We want to make sure that EF doesn’t take the cost of this crisis out on us. The statutory minimum isn’t good enough.”
The group is calling on all EF staff at the company’s schools across the world to join their Facebook page [bit.ly/3dKfEd2] in order to communicate and coordinate a response to the consultation.
The TEFL Workers’ Union, part of the Industrial Workers of the World and which helped form the EF United Facebook group, has already attached an experienced representative, David Bailey, to the campaign.
“As the consultation progresses, the union will be here to facilitate communication between schools and offer legal guidance and organisational support to the EF staff,” said Bailey
“EF is one of the biggest and possibly the richest language school chain in the world. The wealth of founder Bertil Hult is estimated at 6 billion dollars. This is a company that can afford to keep staff and offer an extremely generous redundancy package. The TEFL Workers’ Union is here to hold them to account.”
TEFL, pronounced TEFF-el, is an acronym for “teaching English a foreign language”. English First is privately owned by the Hult family and has over 52,000 employees in 116 countries.
The TEFL Workers’ Union is open to all non-managerial staff in language schools and is part of the Industrial Workers of the World. For press enquiries please contact, Menelik Lee, the communication officer of the London IWW at london.comms [at] iww [dot] org [dot] uk