Unequal Pay for Identical Workloads

The Union Professional Educators – Voice of the Workers has been alerted to a very unfair practice currently being condoned by the Ministry of Education, whereby teachers of equal status and equal loads are being remunerated differently. After having analysed the issue in question, the blatant unfairness of the way in which this situation is being handled was deemed as being justifiable of action, and was discussed with representatives of the ministry who in turn continued to turn a deaf ear onto the existence of unequal pay for identical workloads.

In the above images one can see two timetables which at first sight, and for all intents and purposes are of an equal load, and yet teacher A is being considered as having a greater load and is thus being remunerated better than Teacher B. The number of lessons on both of these teachers’ schedules sums up to a total of 8 face-to-face lessons which, under normal circumstances, would yield an additional load of 4 periods for support and a further 2 periods for recorded lessons.

The necessity to have support and recorded lessons arose from the current COVID situation. Prior to the pandemic, Teacher A would have had 16 face-to-face lessons in total or 4 lesson slots per group. When the pandemic broke out, the lessons were halved and the forfeited face-to-face lessons were only partially replaced by the support and recorded lessons.

Under pre-COVID conditions, Teacher B would have had 2 option groups scheduled which would have yielded a total of 8 lesson slots but, as the need arose, in these exceptional times, Teacher B’s two original groups were then divided into 4 groups, each having two lessons. As one can see from the timetables themselves the two teachers now have equal workloads, thus their remuneration should reflect this reality: yet, in a stunt which totally defies common sense, this is not being considered so.

Teacher B, on the other hand, despite having a workload which is equal to that of Teacher A, is being considered as having a workload of just 11 lessons. The illogical reasoning behind this is that, according to the Ministry of Education, since the groups were originally just two, when it comes to support and recorded lessons they should still be considered as just two groups, even though each of these four individual groups is progressing at its own pace, in separate slotted times during the week, and are not coming together at any point in time.

Thus Teacher B’s workload is being drastically down-sized to a half-lesson for support, and a quarter- lesson for recorded lessons. Bearing in mind how highly the Ministry considers offering a tailor-made education which is meticulously worked upon for all of our students, this “discounted” approach is nothing more than a devaluation and a blatant disregard of the work which teachers like Teacher B are doing.

Where Teacher A is being told that support lessons for each group are of a 40-minute workload, Teacher B’s work is being afforded a meagre 20 minutes. Furthermore, where Teacher A is being afforded 20 minutes for recorded lessons, Teacher B, on the other hand, is being granted a laughable 10-minute workload per group per week. To add insult to injury, as if the workload was not enough, Teacher B is more likely to have more replacements during the week than Teacher A, thus significantly cutting down on Teacher B’s preparation time.

If this situation is not considered painful enough, this discrepancy puts salt on the wound at the end of the month when one receives one’s pay and one has an even heftier workload. Teacher C, in the timetable above, has 10 option groups which originally were 5. This teacher’s workload was modified to meet the demands posed by COVID-19 protocols thus amplifying the need to differentiate lessons to suit the individual needs of the individual option groups. With a load of 20 lessons, this teacher should be granted 10 support lessons and 5 recorded lessons for a total of 35 lessons a week but, despite having 20 face-to-face lessons, Teacher C will be granted 5 lessons of support and merely 2.5 lessons for recorded lessons for a total of 27.5 lessons a week. This translates financially to a very depressing sum of money considering the effort made to adapt to such an enormous workload which exceeds the 25-lesson workload stipulated by our “historical” agreement.

The numbers speak for themselves, our educators are being expected to take on so much more than they should, and have willingly done so to the detriment of their own private time with family, only to be discounted by a Ministry which has no shame at refusing to pay for the sterling service they are being provided with.