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South of Spain, bullying at work ?

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by volvere, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything @gafleecey says....my life since leaving Spain has been exceptionally better in EVERY respect.
  2. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Established commenter

    How do we know you HAVE left Spain? You post about it every day and clearly know more about it than those of us who have lived here for years. I reckon you're in some cave up in the Alpujarras, living on Marmite Guinness and peddling pro-Brexit propaganda.
    lunarita likes this.
  3. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Damn...my secret is out ;)
  4. makhnovite

    makhnovite Occasional commenter

    Marmite and Guiness, not in the same glass surely! A new take on a Black and Tan. Maybe as a chaser?
  5. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Established commenter

    Marmite-Guinness (sorry, I forgot the hyphen): a dark and deadly melange of melancholia, megrims and monomania.
  6. makhnovite

    makhnovite Occasional commenter

  7. truth_seeker12

    truth_seeker12 Occasional commenter

    I am the same. I did not save anything in Spain. Left with not much money after many years. However, I am saving that amount per month in the new job. 1 years saving in Spain = 1 month saving where I am now only one one salary.

    Spain in not a country to save in. It makes it difficult to move elsewhere as everything is much more expensive out of the country. If you work in the ME, then you can are able to move anywhere and afford to do so.

    No country in person and each has its own issues. It depends on what you need and your intentions. If you need to save then Southern Europe is not the place.
  8. mrgarage67

    mrgarage67 New commenter

    Spain has very poor employment rights. Its who you know or a case of shut up and head down in some, not all schools. I work in a school where three staff of several years experience did not return after summer break. For no obvious reasons. One person was sacked last year simply because a senior member of staff took a personal dislike to her. Spain is remember a country where corruption and back handers are still not unheard of. Its pot luck at the end of the day.
  9. malagawolf

    malagawolf New commenter

    Not sure who you are Volvere..but I left the saintly school last year. What I was being put through at work this time last year is impossible to put into words. I tried to get people to see what was beginning to happen as I had been privvy to the thoughts about our school by one of the 'new' heads. She told me the school was 'rotten to the core' and she was going to sort it out!
    As you say, I sat in meetings where everything we had in place was criticised as were the two previous heads. I think I heard every member of our staff run down bar one...a friend of hers. Once I began defending what we had, the writing was on the wall. I spoke out and criticised too often...unfortunately not being one of those who can shut up and keep their head down. Bullying is certainly the word for it...constructive dismissal is another.
    My response was to get out voluntarily before getting sacked....not to leave spain but to move elsewhere in the country we love.
    The saintly school was a good place to work..I enjoyed it for 10yrs and really didn't want to leave the life we had built up in the area. But a year on, it is impossible to believe I let someone make my life a misery for so long. I am loving teaching again and still looking out at beautiful blue skies and sea. I am appreciated where I am and am again building up a great relationship with parents and children.
    There is life after the saintly school but you have to be brave enough to take the chance. Only other option is trying to stick it out in the hope it will change. But is your health worth it?.
  10. lunarita

    lunarita Established commenter

    That's simply not true. As a teacher in a british or international school you DO have rights under spanish law. It's up to staff to insist on those rights and in the end, management will get away with whatever you allow them to. If you put up and shut up, or if you walk without contesting, then you forfeit your rights.
  11. miketribe

    miketribe Occasional commenter

    This is simply not true. There IS legal protection for workers' rights if the worker can be bothered to take advantage of it. It's certainly true that there is a lot of corruption here and that appointments, promotions, etc will often be based on "who you know" or whether your face fits. However, every school has an absolute right to a comite de empresa with elected worker representatives who defend the rights of employees and negotiate with the employers. Members of the comite cannot UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES be fired. Other employees CAN be fired, but usually only if the employers are prepared to pay quite generous compensation. Employees also have an absolute right to join the trade union of their choice and can even deduct the dues from their income tax!

    The problem is that too many teachers adopt the "shut up and head down" attitude and refuse to join (or even consult) a union or to participate in the comite de empresa. When trouble does arise, instead of sticking to their guns and taking the school to court, they just leave...
  12. volvere

    volvere New commenter

    Hmmm, up to a point, members of the Saintly School who were setting up the comite de empresa were sacked on the last day of term last year as a warning to the rest of staff. The comite has just been set up but those on the list have now been targetted by mercenaries scraped from the dredges of the education universe on a pay as you fire basis.

    The union have been informed and have said that although what is going on is wrong they will have to wait to gather evidence and then go through the court system. In the meantime the health of teachers who have put themselves in the firing line, sorry about that guys, for their colleagues have their health run into the ground by the relentless negative pressure put on them. The latest initiative to raise standards by the leaders in secondary is lesson plans for all lessons to be available on demand from the beginning of the week. Every week.

    So I am sorry lunarita and miketribe, although you are correct regarding the letter of the law, the reality on the ground regarding legal protection is very different here in Málaga. Have either of you worked in a school which behaves like this, as a matter of curiousity ?

    How long does it take to do a masters in Outdoor Activities on another completely unrelated point :)
  13. gafleecey

    gafleecey New commenter

    It is all very well to criticise those of us who were bullied and treated badly. However, to say that we could have stood up for our rights is a denial of just how ruthless some owners can be.
    In my case, I was told that should I try to pursue the school for anything, that I would be accused of physical and verbal abuse, that all other school in Spain would be contacted directly and told not to employ me, that COBIS and other organisations would be informed, and that any reference going out from the school would state that I was not recommended for future employment. My children were threatened. I will not go in to the details of this on this forum.

    Everything that I was threatened with was done to two people that I worked with. In one case, and offer of employment in another country was withdrawn and in the other, the person had already started working in another school in Spain, and was given one week notice to leave.

    I did keep quiet, moved on and developed my career elsewhere.

    Please spare me all the stuff about rights in Spain. If you are dealing with a rich person who is enchufada- forget it.
    truth_seeker12 likes this.
  14. truth_seeker12

    truth_seeker12 Occasional commenter

    I have to agree with everything you said here. Dealing with a rich owner who is willing to do anything to protect themselves doesn't work for the employee. The systemperature is corrupt and it's very well known that employers get away with anything except fo a small number of instances.

    It's easy for someone to say how much rights the country gives people but not so much in practice. Iv seen people trying to defend themselves in tribunals but the rich owners of schools usually have links to the individuals in the government who deal with the cases and are able to influence outcomes to their benefit.

    Try speaking with any reasonable Spanish person and they will tell you about the corruption that is going on in every level
    dumbbells66 likes this.
  15. volvere

    volvere New commenter

    There is corruption everywhere and although yes the owners are often simply looking for a way to get rid of the longest serving staff members to reduce their bills it is the cynicism of their ex-pat henchmen and women who willingly provide the smokescreen for this behaviour which is what I was originally objecting to.

    Do these business professionals, invariably with flimsy academic credentials, ever reflect on the damage they are doing to the communities whose misfortune it is to host them. From failed music teachers to Outdoor pursuits graduates, is that even a subject at degree level ? it is understandable that they would not easily find employment within the mainstream international education system but what is less understandable is how smoothly they adapt to their new role of owner´s stoodge without it appears the slightest whiff of shame.

    So blaming Spain for corruption when so many of our fellow countrymen and women are such willing ablers and abettors in said immoral behaviour seems a little unfair to me..
    makhnovite likes this.
  16. malagawolf

    malagawolf New commenter

    Exactly. Until you are in this position it is difficult to say how you would react. The way these bullies work is to ensure what is said to you is in private...nothing is written down and in the end come down to your word against theirs. It is all very subtly done with all sorts of aligations being made against you..you are told some of these come from other staff members so in the end you feel isolated and not knowing who you can trust. In my case I had already joined the union..but I had no evidence to go to the union with. They set out to undermine your confidence and make you doubt your teaching ability. Thankfully I am putting that behind me and am loving teaching again.
    Even better is the news that this person is now leaving the saintly school...and heading for Thailand apparently!
    vayacohones likes this.
  17. makhnovite

    makhnovite Occasional commenter

    Of course I have a great deal of sympathy with the posters who have been treated badly by unscrupulous owners in ANY country, as I have myself, but volvere makes a very good and very serious point. What about the unscrupulous ex-pat managers who collude with the unscrupulous owners. The problem is not just the corruption in any one country, it is far more general thn that. However, what allows many of these owners to get away with their nefarious practices is the cover of our own fellow countrymen who make a very good living from aiding and abetting them. Bad schools will always find an ex-pat willing to sell his/her soul to the devil in order to get further up the 'greasy pole'. As I left one school, because the owner couldn't pay the staff, our leadership team was replaced wholesale by another group of expats who ran the school for about six months before they too went unpaid and left. All this despite the history of the school and my repeated warnings about the owner. Of course this is all part of the problem of a rapidly growing and unregulated industry that provides huge returns for both the scrupulous and unscrupulous.
    vayacohones likes this.
  18. nollaig

    nollaig New commenter

    As the final member of the diabolic triumvirate gets bundled unceremoniously out the back door clutching her greasy brown envelope it emerges that the saintly kingdom had appointed an executive director way back, who claims to be holding this position at present although no one has ever heard of or seen such a thing in these parts.

    Does that mean that the incumbent puppet will have his strings cut and be allowed like the others to pursue other presumably less remunerative but nonetheless more morally wholesome activities such as kite flying or tree climbing to which they were the manor born.

    What exactly is an executive director in the international school context. Any ideas as to what could be going on ?
  19. makhnovite

    makhnovite Occasional commenter

    Exactly part of the problem I mention above - this person will leave the saintly school but because of the fact they have the job title (Head of . . . . ? Director of . . . .? ) on their CV and the existing experience that so many employers now see as necessary they will walk into another job at another school in another country and simply ignore what they gave done. 'It's a money go round'.
    malagawolf likes this.
  20. malagawolf

    malagawolf New commenter

    What a pity we don't have a 'name and shame' board to make other schools aware of these people. I feel truly sorry for the poor staff in whichever schools these people are heading to as I wouldn't wish these 'managers' onto anybody.

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