February 13th: Unite, which represents English Language Teachers, today (Tuesday) welcomed the conclusion of a new union recognition agreement with the Academic Bridge English School in Dublin. Expressing the hope that other language schools will follow Academic Bridge’s lead, Unite Regional Organiser Roy Hassey said that improved working conditions in the sector will benefit students as well as teachers by reducing turnover and improving stability:
“While Ireland is the most popular destination for English Language students measured on a per capita basis, the sector has been characterised by widely fluctuating standards and exploitation of both teachers and students by unscrupulous schools and agencies.
“The sector needs to start focusing on quality as well as quantity, and the right of teachers to negotiate collectively through a union is crucial to raising standards.
“Unite would urge those schools where we have members to follow the example set by Academic Bridge and negotiate a recognition agreement with us so that their employees can negotiate terms and conditions collectively. Unite will work with ethical schools such as Academic Bridge in our goal of driving up standards and professionalising the industry”, Roy Hassey concluded.
Academic Bridge English School owner Ricardo Kindler added: “Academic Bridge are pleased to sign this formal recognition agreement with Unite the Union. We strive for the highest standards in our school and we understand that working with Unite is to the benefit of everyone involved”.
Unite the Union will be holding a members meeting later in the week to formally elect workplace representatives for Academic Bridge teachers.