Teachers and staff at Kaplan, as in most of the rest of the English teaching industry, are facing deep redundancies across the company. What makes Kaplan different is that alongside the redundancies, the company is demanding their workforce accept a 10% across-the-board pay cut even if they’re lucky enough to keep their jobs.
Kaplan, which oversees a vast corporate empire in education, business, and finance, is one of the largest language school chains in the world with a yearly revenue of 1.5 billion dollars. Kaplan and its parent company, Graham Holdings, are massive conglomerations with deep, deep pockets. When times are good, Kaplan uses that money to handsomely compensate executives and stockholders. Now that times are rough, it’s workers who are being asked to sacrifice. Well the TEFL isn’t going to stand for it – we won’t allow Kaplan to take out the cost of the crisis on their hard-working staff!
Below, a worker at Kaplan outlines the situation, explaining the situation and why Kaplan’s reasons for the pay cut don’t add up.
1. The take home pay is already low. Pretty much all single teachers I know can be categorised as working poor. The rest can only survive because of the partners.
2. Kaplan is trying to present the 10% cut as being fair because it applies to every level. This is clearly rubbish. A 10% cut for a high-level manager is NOT the same as for a teacher.
3. We’ve effectively had our remuneration reduced for years. In the past we had decent, performance-based bonuses, which created a massive salary boost. We also used to get summer bonuses (for not taking holiday over the summer). Those were scrapped, the performance bonus being removed quoting the alleged protest from …teachers (!!!) who were not lucky enough to get those bonuses.
Plus, once a year they increase our pay rate by 1% – this has been consistently below the inflation rate (2019 – 1,79%; 2018 – 2.48% and 2017 – 2.56%). Effectively, Kaplan implements year-on-year pay cuts as a matter of company policy. Now a 10% pay cut on top of this? In the middle of the biggest financial and public health crisis in a century?
I found an interview with one of the teachers involved in the successful unionisation effort at Kaplan in New York City some years back. In it, the teacher being interviewed discusses getting a letter from Donald Graham himself (the owner of Graham Holdings which, in turn, owns the Kaplan brand) saying how teachers are the backbone of the business.
Well, we agree. Staff are the backbone and staff have a backbone. And we’re standing up to the pay cut.