Grumbling about low wages in Kaohsiung

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Re: Grumbling about low wages in Kaohsiung

Postby TheGingerMan » 29 Apr 2012, 18:53

SillyWilly wrote:Let the free market mechanism decide what to pay teachers in each "local" market. If you're not happy with the free market rate, then move somewhere where the rate is higher, change careers or return to your domicile. If you want to get paid more, offer a better service, build a good reputation, or work for yourself. The idea of a foreign teachers' union is laughable. :loco:

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Re: Grumbling about low wages in Kaohsiung

Postby KPSeventy » 29 Apr 2012, 20:25

ChewDawg wrote:Typical Canadian liberal arts entitlement. They take courses on the history of basket weaving in 17th Century Wales and expect 2000NT/hour. :lol:


I felt the unexpected need to help you be more specific, ChewDawg. :)
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Re: Grumbling about low wages in Kaohsiung

Postby dan2006 » 30 Apr 2012, 19:29

For everyone that thinks that the free market is a good decider of wages, I would counter that Taiwan is not a good example of this as the typical method is to try to get everything for cheaper here.

So the buxiban tries to lower the prices for the parents and pays the teachers lower, which causes other schools to have to do the same to keep the business, and then we have a race to the bottom in terms of wages.

It is happening in Canada currently where there is a pretty high unemployment rate, yet they continue to open the doors to immigration at a rate that isn't sustainable as they compete with the Canadians already here for jobs. Some jobs used to pay higher but not now as this immigration policy is an employers dream as they have thousands of applications for only one job, and people will take whatever wage offered and are told they are "lucky" to have a job.
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Grumbling about low wages in Kaohsiung

Postby headhonchoII » 30 Apr 2012, 20:06

Trying to form an association and protecting workers rights and conditions is an effective method in many cases , I just think it will be extra difficult here in Taiwan due to the very low minimum wage and growing lack of customers IE young children, along with the factors that
Dan outlined above.
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Re: Grumbling about low wages in Kaohsiung

Postby SillyWilly » 30 Apr 2012, 22:09

headhonchoII wrote:Trying to form an association and protecting workers rights and conditions is an effective method in many cases , I just think it will be extra difficult here in Taiwan due to the very low minimum wage and growing lack of customers IE young children, along with the factors that
Dan outlined above.


Firstly, it wouldn't be "difficult," it would be impossible to administer. There is a steady stream of newbies flowing into Taiwan. They would all be scooped up at lower wages before "joining the union." Or more and more schools will recruit directly from abroad, paying the lowest wages possible to desperate job seekers.
Secondly, a high percentage of foreign teachers work illegally to begin with (yes, kindy jobs and working at buxibans not on your ARC). :no-no: So how exactly do you negotiate a wage for someone who isn't supposed to work at a school in the first place? It's impossible! :2cents:

What makes foreign teachers so special, anyway? Migrant labor has existed since the dawn of time. No unions, few rights, low pay, harsh conditions. Just because we have bachelor degrees (or more advanced ones) doesn't change that fact. Am I the only one who recognizes that foreign teachers in Asia are essentially nothing more than over-educated migrant workers?
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Re: Grumbling about low wages in Kaohsiung

Postby bigduke6 » 30 Apr 2012, 22:21

Silly Willy, you cannot call those who are making a life here migrant workers. There are guys like Bismark who have citizenship, guys like me married to locals, as well as those with APRC's. You cannot clump every foreigner here under one umbrella.
Those with permanent or relatively permanent status should be offered a certain measure of protection that exists in most developed countries, for permanent residents or immigrants.

This and other many other reasons make it impossible for to classify Taiwan as a developed first world economy, contrary to what many believe.
When my wife, then girlfriend, lived with me in South Africa, she had more rights as a girlfriend than I do as a husband. She got residency based on the fact that she was my life partner. No demeaning medical exams except for one x ray and a note from my doctor stating she was healthy, she had state unemployment insurance, she could apply for citizenship without having to renounce her Taiwanese citizenship, if I died after she lived with me for say 40 years, she would not be deported.

In Taiwan, the rights of foreign residents are pathetically crap.
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Re: Grumbling about low wages in Kaohsiung

Postby Abacus » 30 Apr 2012, 22:30

dan2006 wrote:For everyone that thinks that the free market is a good decider of wages, I would counter that Taiwan is not a good example of this as the typical method is to try to get everything for cheaper here.

So the buxiban tries to lower the prices for the parents and pays the teachers lower, which causes other schools to have to do the same to keep the business, and then we have a race to the bottom in terms of wages.

It is happening in Canada currently where there is a pretty high unemployment rate, yet they continue to open the doors to immigration at a rate that isn't sustainable as they compete with the Canadians already here for jobs. Some jobs used to pay higher but not now as this immigration policy is an employers dream as they have thousands of applications for only one job, and people will take whatever wage offered and are told they are "lucky" to have a job.


You're not living in reality or you're out of touch with teaching in Taiwan. It's always been a free market for English teachers. The reason that there is currently a problem (overblown imo) is that the market is getting smaller and the supply of teachers arriving is increasing. Putting in a system of wage controls does not solve either of those issues.
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Re: Grumbling about low wages in Kaohsiung

Postby SillyWilly » 01 May 2012, 00:02

bigduke6 wrote:Silly Willy, you cannot call those who are making a life here migrant workers. There are guys like Bismark who have citizenship, guys like me married to locals, as well as those with APRC's. You cannot clump every foreigner here under one umbrella.
Those with permanent or relatively permanent status should be offered a certain measure of protection that exists in most developed countries, for permanent residents or immigrants.

This and other many other reasons make it impossible for to classify Taiwan as a developed first world economy, contrary to what many believe.
When my wife, then girlfriend, lived with me in South Africa, she had more rights as a girlfriend than I do as a husband. She got residency based on the fact that she was my life partner. No demeaning medical exams except for one x ray and a note from my doctor stating she was healthy, she had state unemployment insurance, she could apply for citizenship without having to renounce her Taiwanese citizenship, if I died after she lived with me for say 40 years, she would not be deported.

In Taiwan, the rights of foreign residents are pathetically crap.


Allow me to clarify. In my view, the profession of ESL teaching in Asia is a migrant market. I don't know the precise numbers, but for argument's sake, lets say 95%-98% of all foreign teachers who work in Taiwan return to their home countries eventually. They are over-educated migrant labor.

Those of us who remain in Taiwan and make it our permanent home are not migrant workers, but we still work in a market dominated by migrant workers. Foreigners holding Taiwanese citizenship, APRCs, or JFRVs, have greater flexibility and freedom in this market, making it easier to move into higher paying positions, otherwise-illegal positions (kindy), or private enterprise (own school, tutoring).

However, because of the nature of this market - dominated by non-permanent (migrant) workers - wages are set by supply and demand for ESL teachers by private business (with no government interference). This is to the benefit of the English teaching industry (the market). It allows them the freedom to hire or fire at will. Leaving the foreigner unprotected and sometimes exploited.

bigduke6: You've got to ask yourself though, is it the nature of the ESL industry that leaves non-migrant English teachers economically vulnerable or government regulations (or the lack of them)? I would have to say it's the nature of the industry because the government shouldn't interfere in the operation of the free market. Once you involve the government all bets are off! Generally, more regulations = Less market participation by entrepreneurs = Fewer new schools = Less new jobs for existing teachers.

Worker protection and over-regulation in developed countries have created rigid and inflexible labor markets, which lead to less new job creation compared to free markets. My advise to those of us who have "open work rights" and are planning on staying in Taiwan permanently is to make the most of it and to stop worrying about our lack of rights and protection. The free market is an amazing thing. Embrace it. It might make you rich(er). :2cents:
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Re: Grumbling about low wages in Kaohsiung

Postby dan2006 » 01 May 2012, 00:51

SillyWilly wrote:
bigduke6 wrote:Silly Willy, you cannot call those who are making a life here migrant workers. There are guys like Bismark who have citizenship, guys like me married to locals, as well as those with APRC's. You cannot clump every foreigner here under one umbrella.
Those with permanent or relatively permanent status should be offered a certain measure of protection that exists in most developed countries, for permanent residents or immigrants.

This and other many other reasons make it impossible for to classify Taiwan as a developed first world economy, contrary to what many believe.
When my wife, then girlfriend, lived with me in South Africa, she had more rights as a girlfriend than I do as a husband. She got residency based on the fact that she was my life partner. No demeaning medical exams except for one x ray and a note from my doctor stating she was healthy, she had state unemployment insurance, she could apply for citizenship without having to renounce her Taiwanese citizenship, if I died after she lived with me for say 40 years, she would not be deported.

In Taiwan, the rights of foreign residents are pathetically crap.


Allow me to clarify. In my view, the profession of ESL teaching in Asia is a migrant market. I don't know the precise numbers, but for argument's sake, lets say 95%-98% of all foreign teachers who work in Taiwan return to their home countries eventually. They are over-educated migrant labor.

Those of us who remain in Taiwan and make it our permanent home are not migrant workers, but we still work in a market dominated by migrant workers. Foreigners holding Taiwanese citizenship, APRCs, or JFRVs, have greater flexibility and freedom in this market, making it easier to move into higher paying positions, otherwise-illegal positions (kindy), or private enterprise (own school, tutoring).

However, because of the nature of this market - dominated by non-permanent (migrant) workers - wages are set by supply and demand for ESL teachers by private business (with no government interference). This is to the benefit of the English teaching industry (the market). It allows them the freedom to hire or fire at will. Leaving the foreigner unprotected and sometimes exploited.

bigduke6: You've got to ask yourself though, is it the nature of the ESL industry that leaves non-migrant English teachers economically vulnerable or government regulations (or the lack of them)? I would have to say it's the nature of the industry because the government shouldn't interfere in the operation of the free market. Once you involve the government all bets are off! Generally, more regulations = Less market participation by entrepreneurs = Fewer new schools = Less new jobs for existing teachers.

Worker protection and over-regulation in developed countries have created rigid and inflexible labor markets, which lead to less new job creation compared to free markets. My advise to those of us who have "open work rights" and are planning on staying in Taiwan permanently is to make the most of it and to stop worrying about our lack of rights and protection. The free market is an amazing thing. Embrace it. It might make you rich(er). :2cents:


The idea that if regulations are put in place by the government, the market of participation by enterpreneurs will go down is a fallacy.

For example, a few years ago the credit card companies in the USA were doing very unethical things by cancelling credit cards of people they thought were risky who never even had one late payment, balance chasing by putting peoples credit limits just above their balance which destroys the persons credit rating, forcing them to pay off the balance quicker, rate jacking by increasing the interest rates on people with a balance, etc.

Eventually the government got involved and said No to the industry and set out guidelines on how they are to act to their clients. The companies bellyached and said that if the government got involved, they would pull credit from the market, essentially threatening to turn off the taps.

Well, the government called them on that BS and guess what.. they are still in the market of issuing credit cards and loans. They can threaten to leave, but they won't leave behind money, so in the end they sucked it up.

Now if the Taiwanese government put some regulations against exploitations of foreign workers, and even raised the standards on dealing with their own local, overworked and underpaid population, guess what again? The companies won't pull out of the market because it will still be profitable, cry as they might.
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Re: Grumbling about low wages in Kaohsiung

Postby bigduke6 » 01 May 2012, 07:54

Willy, you do not have to lecture me about free markets. I have done business in many countries and am well aware of where gov intervention is positive or negative for an economy.
I am also well aware of supply and demand, free markets, positive or negative externalities, wage price spirals, and any other economic principals you would like to discuss. I can discuss with you for hours if you wish.
I am not talkin about any type of protectionist policy. I am simply stating that the way foreigners are treated by the gov is an absolute disgrace, and foreign workers, even blue collar should have some basic rights which prevents any type of exploitation.
This has jack to do with a free market economy which btw, I am a strong proponent of.
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