Every month we get about 30 "complaints" from expat teachers in China about their employers but in reality maybe only 5 of the 30 are legitimate gripes. The vast majority are simply misunderstandings due to language barriers, cultural misinterpretations, or lack of communications.
Keep in mind that for 5,000 years Chinese culture has programmed their citizens to be "harmonious" and avoid conflicts. Your employer does not want problems with you. They need you and usually want you to be happy. Granted there are exceptions where some unethical employers will try to exploit you, but they are not the majority.
If you can keep calm and cool, you can resolve about 80% of all your gripes with your employer. But there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. This is China and things are done differently here – and "face" is extremely important. This is not your country. You are a guest here and need to adjust to local ways and protocols. There is no BBB, FTC, or Congressmen here to run to when you have issues. Your embassy will NOT get involved in labor issues so don’t waste your time nor theirs. You need to be your own diplomat first, and usually that will be sufficient to work things out. Only when you cannot accomplish a mutually-acceptable settlement will we intercede on your behalf.
The CFTU offers a free guidebook to "China Labor Relations & Conflict Resolution" and we offer it both to teachers and schools. Send for it by email and it will prepare you for your next argument with your employer, and hopefully you will have less and less "misunderstandings" after reading this free publication. You can request it at firstname.lastname@example.org
Before accepting any teaching job in China, please visit http://www.ChinaScamBusters.com Know Before You Go and get a free copy of China’s labor laws from the CFTU (Just request by email)
23 January, 2015 at 5:17
Total posts: 6
Reply To: China Foreign Teacher Tips For Dispute Resolution
Foreign instructors in China occasionally have contract disputes with their employers. Employees should be sure to get everything put into writing and not to rely on verbal promises. If possible one should receive an official copy of the contract before arriving in China, including a copy in Chinese.