I apologize for interrupting your regularly scheduled programming of travel and leisure to bring you back to a show we recently canceled and are re-airing as “2 more months!” At least this time my principals had the good will to inform us first thing in the morning that we wouldn’t be paid on time. We “might get paid by Thursday” when the 5th was technically payday at CPIS.
In other news we also found out the owner/CEO (aka guy who causes all the problems) has been stealing our pensions. Yep, he takes it from our paycheck but not only fails to deposit his matching share but fails to deposit anything into our pension accounts. The pension money isn’t a huge sum but its even more of a slap in the face from this asshole.
The sliver of good news was that we were given permission to have “more play time” today; you better believe every student had a blast today. Even without the most recent salary shenanigans we were all beat from our trips and planned for an easy day. I’m fighting off what I hope is simply a cold I brought back from the Philippines and I know I wasn’t alone in being exhausted on this lovely Monday morning.
At the end of the day I was planning on meeting with my coworkers to discuss our plan of action when the director called me into her office. Her first order of business was a suggestion from the accountant that she deduct the airfare from my salary to which I flat out refused. I reminded her that there was no chance of any transaction without a documented receipt and used this as an segway to bring up the pensions.
“I have to check my pension and my paycheck but based on some of my coworkers it appears that [the owner] has been deducting our pensions from our monthly pay but failing to deposit the money in our actual pension. That’s stealing. I understand the school may be having troubles and while I am quite angry the paychecks are delayed, again, I can understand. He is blatantly stealing our pensions and we won’t stand for it.”
It took a few more go arounds before she fully understood what I said. Halfway through I apologized for appearing upset with her and she reminded me that she too is [the owner’s] employee. I realized she understood the pension situation when she teared up a bit.
“But Mike, this IS my problem. I just got here and was not sure why everyone was so mad at [the owner] but now I see. I am not paid too.”
We had a solid talk and I told her that the signs continue to point to the school closing in the not too distant future. I let her know that my best advice was to downsize. Rent out one of our 5 floors or condense the 11 classrooms; heck why not both. I explained how the most critical point for her as a new director will be March & April when we all leave; if [the owner] continues these practices with 11 brand new teachers I doubt she’ll be able to contain the shitstorm that erupts.
Suddenly 4 of my coworkers walked in. They discussed our predicament beforehand and repeated my statements about the pension. This time with proof. Sara handed our director her payslip where it indicates “national pension” and amount deducted. She explained her call to the pension board and that the advice was to file a formal complaint with the board; they would take the necessary legal action against [the owner] and seize his assets to ensure we get what we are owed.
They also brought up how big the lump sum he’ll be required to hand out with 10 severance bonuses and flights home in addition to our regular pay. Not to mention the costs of flying new teachers in. She started to see the bigger picture and told us that she was worried too. She had confronted him in the past and began to worry if he was lying to her too. [The director] ensured us all she would get to the bottom of it and let us know tomorrow or Wednesday.
I honestly believe her commitment to us. She just arrived and has found herself dealing with the same issues her employees are complaining of. We are doubtful she’ll be able to get any answers or change from [the owner], even after she lets him know he’ll be facing legal action, promptly thanked her and left.
We’ll see what happens but I think I may find myself more acquainted with Korean labor laws and lawyers in the near future.