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Foreigners on strike in Torun

This is from Gazeta Wyborcza's Torun edition:

Native speakerzy z UMK rozpoczęli strajk

Założyli czerwone opaski na ramiona i zbojkotowali egzamin - tak native speakerzy języka angielskiego z toruńskiego uniwersytetu protestowali w piątek przeciwko temu, że uczelnia nie chce zatrudnić ich na stałe.

Anglicy Robert France (z lewej) i Thomas Anderson protestowali w piątek przed Instytutem Filologii Słowiańskiej

Bunt native speakerów na UMK (13-06-07, 23:00)
Sytuację zagranicznych nauczycieli z Katedry Filologii Angielskiej UMK opisaliśmy w czwartkowej "Gazecie". Lektorzy zatrudnieni są na podstawie umów o dzieło. Walczą z uczelnią o możliwość pracy na pełnym etacie, bo to - ich zdaniem - zagwarantuje im rozwój zawodowy, a studentom wysoką jakość kształcenia. Apelowali do władz uniwersytetu, pisali listy. Bez skutku. Zdesperowani poinformowali o problemie Państwową Inspekcje Pracy oraz Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego.

W piątek zorganizowali strajk. Nie poszli na egzamin, który mieli przeprowadzić. Stanęli pod Instytutem Filologii Słowiańskiej przy ul. Podmurnej, gdzie się odbywał. Na ramiona włożyli czerwone przepaski z napisem "Strajk". - Chodzi nam o szacunek do drugiego człowieka i równe traktowanie - mówi Anglik Thomas Anderson, jeden z native speakerów. - Godziwe wynagrodzenie za uczciwą pracę należy się wszystkim. Przykro, że nikt z władz nami nie chce na ten temat rozmawiać.

- Stanowisko uczelni w tej sprawie nie zmieniło się - mówi Marcin Czyżniewski, rzecznik UMK. - Każdy z tych państwa dostanie indywidualną odpowiedź. Poza tym podpisując umowy, wiedzieli, jaki mają zakres obowiązków i jakie warunki im proponujemy. Decyzja o liczbie grantów na przyszły rok władze wydziału podejmą po zakończeniu naboru.

Protestujących native speakerów poparło wielu studentów. Na znak solidarności przypięli czerwone wstążki. - To dobrzy nauczyciele, a zasady, na jakich są zatrudnieni, wydają się nam skandaliczne - opowiadali żacy.

- Trochę tylko szkoda, że z powodu strajku uczelnia zapewne nie przedłuży nam umów na następny rok. A takich dobrych i sympatycznych studentów tu poznaliśmy - żali się Australijka Khrystene Dalecki.

Źródło: Gazeta Wyborcza Toruń

You might remember Khrystene as somebody who used to post regularly on this forum. An explanation of it all in English can be found here: http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=53019

Re: Foreigners on strike in Torun

Interesting as I was thinking of teaching in Poland.

First post


I, as one of 3 Natives working at the English Dept. at UMK Torun, have lodged a complaint of discrimination against the University to the "Izba Pracy" (workplace relations or some such).

Although we do the same work as our colleagues and those natives at other universities, UMK refuses to hire us on Umowa o Pracy. They have no reason why not, other than we are not qualified enough. Yet we are teaching students to 5th year, including marking MA theses. AND if we're not qualified, as they say, then why were we hired. One of us, for 4 years, the other 2 and I 1 year. Poznan Uni doesn't do it, nor does Lodz. I dare say, it's most likely only Torun that has this tradition.

When asked, where it states that they are allowed to use this tantamount 'illegal' contract to hire us, they cannot show us or will not say.

This fight has been contained within the department by the 2 bosses we've had. And only now, in disgust are we unleashing this on the public. We feel the public has a right to know and we have a right to express our distaste and disgruntlement.

I recently asked if anyone was hired in a state institution on Umowa o Dzielo. No one replied. So from that, I presume it is only us.

It's time for these relics of laws from Communism, were overturned and new laws set in place that benefit not only the teachers but also the students. As with the high rotation of native teachers at this University, there is little consistency nor stability. And they shouldn't suffer.

I in all conscience cannot stand by and have myself disrespected by my boss nor be forced to shut up by their idle threats. We have tried every 'official' angle. To no avail. SO now, the law will see what's right and what's wrong.

Thanks for listening


Re: Foreigners on strike in Torun

"They have no reason why not, other than we are not qualified enough."

I would imagine that this is the crucial point .

Re: Foreigners on strike in Torun

But if they aren't qualified, why did they hire them?

Re: Foreigners on strike in Torun

"Beggars can't be choosers"

Re: Foreigners on strike in Torun

Clearly someone with lesser qualifications shouldn't be employed under the same contract. Being a native speaker of any langauge shouldn't equal special treatment as a teacher.

Re: Foreigners on strike in Torun

I'm sure they can easily be replaced either by Poles or other native speakers wishing to spend time teaching in Eastern Europe.

Re: Foreigners on strike in Torun

It isn't as simple as that. The types of contracts differ in terms of healthcare, pension etc, rather than amount. And a 'Polish Magister' is worth less than a British BA - the Bologna Process is establishing this at the moment - so really, some of those native speakers with BA are better qualified than those with a 'polish Magister'.

The universities in Kraków and Warsaw already recognise this.

Re: Foreigners on strike in Torun

"I'm sure they can easily be replaced either by Poles or other native speakers wishing to spend time teaching in Eastern Europe. "

Paul Manser !

The illiterate British native speaker who wanted to teach in Poland. Remember him

Re: Foreigners on strike in Torun

But i done a corse and Im qwolified now.
Anywhey spelling and teeching is somefing difrant.
iam gona teech english not grammer.

Re: Foreigners on strike in Torun

"I have some experience at UAM in Poznan and was astounded by what goes on there and what is considered study"

Can we get an example? Just curious.

Re: Foreigners on strike in Torun

Interesting. I have personally interviewed several Polish university grads for various positions (this was several years ago, I would think things are different now) and found that most lacked any tangible experience one would have upon receiving a business degree in the US. The curriculum in Poland does not place sufficient emphasis on internships, etc.

Everyone wants to be ‘Pan dyrektor’ and thinks that ‘mgr’ makes them special.

Anyway, from what I heard Warsaw University business program is well regarded.

Re: Foreigners on strike in Torun

My wife studied French at Warsaw University to a very high level.
A superb translator I work with learnt English at Poznan back in the 80s and is full of praise for the English dept there.

Interestingly, UK teaching qualifications are NOT recognised in France, whereas French qualifications are recognised in the UK. Now, why is that?

Re: Foreigners on strike in Torun

The problems described here with higher education in Poland were not present to any extent prior to say 1995. Mass access has led to these problems.

Re: Foreigners on strike in Torun

The head of the English Faculty at Poznan University was also responsible for Matura and Olimpiad materials for the Gorzów area in the past.

As I recall, they too bore very little resemblance to reality, both in the language used, correctness of said language and topics covered.

One teacher I knew referred to him as 'a tosspiece of the highest order'.

Re: Foreigners on strike in Torun

Re head of English at Poznan University, a friend of mine who studied there said:

"I agree - he was a humongous turd in a sea of Communist pus. Although I never trusted the guy, I admired his energy, determination and organizational skills. On balance, I believe the English Faculty at Poznań University owes him a lot (however weird and politically incorrect this may sound at the moment). FORMER (GRATEFUL) STUDENT"