Fumier can be quite amusing, but when he ventures on to more serious subjects I usually disagree with him (very politely, of course), but I have to agree with him that ESF teachers are doing themselves no favours by letting Julian Harniess represent them in trying to stop the ESF from cutting their salaries.There is an advert in today's SCMP placed by the Association of Professional Teachers of ESF Schools (of which Mr Harniess is the chairman), arguing that ESF teachers receive "an average monthly salary of HK$39,024" and "offer real value for money". However the figure they quote appears to be seriously misleading - firstly because they quote the median rather than the average, and secondly because they exclude the benefits that most ESF teachers get:
The head of the English Schools Foundation [Heather Du Quesnay] has accused its teachers of misleading the public with a salary figure they have quoted in an advertisement today
She said the average pay for teachers was $47,800, with 78 per cent on the top level of the basic pay scale earning $51,911 a month. This did not include incentive allowances to 68 per cent of teachers for extra responsibilities, 25 per cent gratuity, and other benefits such as housing and education.
A couple of weeks ago the SCMP education section, published pieces written by Julian Harniess and Heather Du Quesnay putting the arguments for and against the proposed pay cut. I can't find the articles on the SCMP's horrible website, but the title of Mr Harniess's piece will give you a flavour: "Management ideals just tales by an idiot". All stirring stuff, and maybe his members were happy to see their case put so forcibly, but he seems to have rather missed the point.
The ESF is funded by taxpayers and parents. Given the choice, taxpayers would almost certainly stop the subvention (paid annually by the government for each child in ESF schools), and whilst parents appreciate the work done by ESF teachers they don't see why teachers should be paid excessive salaries. Morevover, the ESF has to demonstrate that it is acting responsibly if it is to preserve the subvention, and reviewing salaries is one way of doing that. Teachers may not like it (understandably so), but they are unlikely to win the argument unless they can put forward a logical case. Using accurate and correct figures.