For the first time in four years the number of complaints dropped by almost 20% and more than 1,000 schools, universities, kindergartens, and learning centers were white-listed in 2014, while the blacklist grew only by 6%. The number of expat teachers enrolled in a TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA program jumped to a new high of 8% - a 5% increase from 2013.
As Gregg Finch, one of the two co-administrators remarked, "Aside from the air pollution, and the record number of expats deported for working without Z visas, 2014 was a good year for China's foreign teacher community" Despite the good news however, fewer foreign ESL & TEFL teachers chose China as their career destination in 2014. There are 3% less expat teachers working in China today from 2013 and a 27% drop since January of 2010. At present SAFEA confirmed that there are 28,378 foreign teachers legally working in China today. Finch siad that less teachers choosing China would bode well for the teachers who remain in China as now employers are forced to increase pay and benefits to avoid further attrition. He attributed the exodus of teachers to the following factors:
* Horrible winter air pollution in major cities
* Pay that is roughly 50%-80% less than Korea, Japan, and Singapore
* The many visa hassles and expense of renewals
* Still too many unethical and greedy recruiters and employers who skim
* The fear of identity theft
According to Finch, the priority for the CFTU in 2015 will be increased pay and the establishment of a "minimum fair wage" for teachers that are truly qualified. 2014 saw a sharp increase in both verification and enforcment on teacher qualifications. The CFTU wants to raise the bar for both teaching standards and teacher pay. Below are some more interesting stats collecting by the CFTU which now reports a membership of 6,893 members in 19 provinces across China.
Teachers still remain the lowest-paid expats in China, but in 2014 average wages increased by 5.7% which is roughly half the wage increase that other foreign employees enjoyed for the year. The CFTU insists that wage disparity will get most of their attention in 2015 and they have already requested meetings with the Ministers of Labor and Education to review and discuss this critical issue.
One of the most shocking things learned this year by the CFTU annual survey is that a whopping 70% of China foreign teachers did not even know they had any employee rights and less than 10% of them could actually cite at least 5 of the 15 rights. Finchs admits that his volunteers "dropped the ball" in this area and will certainly assign more people to the "China Law Team" which currently has five volunteers doing research and distribution of China's many labor, visa, and civil laws. The team just held a Labor Law Worshop today at Renmin University that was attended by 60 newbie teachers in Beijing. Skype webinars are planned for February, and Finch says if they go well they will become a weekly activity. In the interim, the CFTU offers 15 publications and even free VPN service to it members. Non-members are still welcome to request the following in ENGLISH for free by email from the CFTU just by sending an email to request@ChinaForeignTeacherUnion.org :
* China Visa Laws
* China Labor Laws
* China Job Interview Tips
* China Expat Employee Rights
* CFTU Guide To Dispute Resolution
* China Direct Employers List
* CFTU SAFEA Directory
* CFTU China Marriage Guide
* CFTU Employment Contract Suggestions
* CFTU School & Recruiter White & Blacklist
* CFTU Listing Of Known Identity Thieves In China
* CFTU DIY Guide To China Job Recruiter Verification
* CFTU China-Wide Wage, Salary & Pay Scales Of China Foreign Teachers
Established in 2010, the CFTU is a NPO comprised of volunteer teachers dedicated to providing a support network to new arrivals and fellow teacher colleagues in China resolve their professional problems and adjustment to the Chinese culture and lifestyle, protect and promote their interests, and provide continuing education and training to increase the teaching standards within China. The CFTU does not sell, endorse, promote, nor advertise any product nor service and is 100% agnostic and apolitical. Various social functions and activities are held regularly along with training workshops and seminars. Please visit their website to read the CFTU mission statemnt in full.