Elink Vietnam, the dodgy English teaching company that threatened me for not working without payment and that ignored me for days when I asked for my last salary, finally paid me. Why? Because of a big scene I had to do in front of the Public Schools where I worked in Hanoi.
Apparently, it is a common practice in the country not to pay on time, to threaten foreigners that decide to quit (if they are attached to a company, as was my case), and not to pay the last salary, if the person quits before the payday. Of course, I found out about this when I lived it first-hand when working for Elink Vietnam.
Al mal tiempo buena cara!!! Pese a toda la tragedia porque me paguen mi salario y me dejen renunciar en #paz en #Vietnam. Pese a los malos tratos, abusos y amenazas, hay que tener la sonrisa siempre como prioridad. . La solución llegará por sí sola 😊 . 🇬🇧 Smiling despite the bad weather!!! Despite all the tragedy because the company where I worked as English #teacher in #Hanoi doesn't want to pay me my salary and let me quit in #peace. . Despite the mistreatment and threats, smiling must be the priority. . The rest will come along😊 . #dametraveler #solotraveler #vietnamese #temple #saturday #goodvibes #instamood #red #me #traveler #instaviajeros #instagramers #smile #work #caligraphy #small #viajes #viajosola #independent #strong
As I told you in the first part of this post, I rejected the options that Elink Vietnam “offered” in some intimidating e-mails, and reminded them that they said they understood my reasons, days before. As imagined, there was an absolute silence.
Elink Vietnam´s muteness about the salary
Nothing weird: when they needed something, you had to answer immediately. For answering questions related to the teacher´s salaries, always muteness from Elink Vietnam. That was the behavior I had noticed during all those months. Therefore, I had no expectations and planned my next move.
A veces me arrepiento de ir a clase sin mi cámara. Varias veces he visto caer ese sol rojo por el puente de Long Bien en #Hanoi y pienso lo mismo: la hubiera traído, con el trípode!! . Pocos paran. Todos van en sus respectivos afanes, pitando, manejando la moto con una mano y con la otra, sosteniendo el celular. Es un puente solo para motos, fotógrafos y modelos amateur. #sunset #tuesday
As Elink Vietnam didn´t respond to politeness and dialogue, I decided to press a weak point that is common to some Asian cultures. A friend told me long time ago that “losing face” was all they cared about in Vietnam, and that I wouldn´t get anything by talking nicely.
Unfortunately, he was right: I had waited too much to react but finally, I was on my way.
The strategy against Elink Vietnam
I wrote a text for my students´parents, explaining the situation: who I was and that I stopped teaching because they didn´t pay my salary. Also, that Elink Vietnam threatened me to kick me out of the country if I stopped working.
Besides, I told the parents that I feared for the education of their kids, taking into account that the teachers were not being fully paid by Elink Vietnam, and the way they were treating the employees. Everything, translated to Vietnamese, of course.
I printed more than 200 copies of the document, where I also put a picture of Elink Vietnam´s reception and the logo of the company, and waited in front of the schools, at the time that the parents went to pick up their kids.
I handled the papers and asked my students (that, by the way, liked me a lot) to please show them to their parents.
Of course, If you are paying for the education of your kids, and you realize that some teachers are not getting paid, you start wondering: where is the money going at Elink Vietnam?
According to the friend that suggested the strategy, they were going to pay me straight away. The same day, almost at midnight, I received a message from Elink Vietnam, saying that they were going to pay the next day.
They offered me an amount that I didn´t accept. At Elink Vietnam, they repeated like robots that I had not complied with the contract but that document said they had to pay interest rates if they were late. They had also promised in December a 10% pay rise which never came (lie). I had not forgot.
*English below Diferencia entre enseñar en escuelas públicas vs. escuelas privadas en #Vietnam: – 50 niños por clase vs. 10 – Prefieren cumplir un programa académico, usualmente siguiendo un libro vs. El énfasis es en los juegos – Necesitas hacer un "Working Permit" para trabajar vs. Puedes hacerlo con "Business visa", que es más fácil de sacar pero por menos tiempo – El pago puede ser menor (unos 18 USD/hora) vs. Pago negociado, dependiendo de la escuela (20-25 USD/hora) ¿Quieres saber más sobre enseñar inglés en #Vietnam? No te desconectes de mi #blog!! . www.viejaqueviaja.com . 🇬🇧 Differences between teaching English in #Vietnamese public and private schools: – 50 #kids vs. 10 – They prefer to follow an academic program vs. The focus is on the practice and games – You need a Working Permit vs. You can work with a Business visa (easier to get but for less time) – The payment can be less (18 USD/hour) vs. A negotiated payment, depending on the school (20-25 USD/ hour). #traveler
Elink Vietnam offered then a little more (never the 10% they had told us, as “it was not in the contract”. For sure: they conveniently used that document when it benefited them but never to comply with their obligations).
After all this soap opera, I thought the game was over. At the end, Elink Vietnam would have learned a lesson, I thought (sigh!). I expected they would return my original University degree and my TEFL certification and other documents… Well, guess what? Once again, they never replied any e-mails.
Another chapter of the Elink Vietnam´s nightmare
Weeks after I got the payment, I texted the Elink Vietnam ´s representative, saying I wouldn´t waste any more time waiting for them. They answered that they didn´t have the documents, as they were sent to the Ministry of Labour – again, according to them- to cancel my Working Permit.
I was already used to their lies over and over again… but to confirm, I asked some Vietnamese friends that worked in Human Resources if it could be true. They told me that it wasn´t and that Elink Vietnam was consciously keeping my documents.
I went to their office again, and they kept repeating that they did not have my documents (or any responsibility on them, when I gave them to do the Working Permit ).
Honestly, how many times did I have to listen to Elink Vietnam ´s threats and lies?
At the moment I am writing this, I am still trying to figure out how to get my documents.
Advice: a good dose of patience is always required with unprofessional companies that act like criminals.
UPDATE : Elink Vietnam returned my documents (19/04/2018)
After going to Elink Vietnam´s headquarters last weekend -really mad at them- to pick up my documents despite their lies, they repeated the same statement: that I “didn´t comply with the Vietnamese law” and that “their agent” had them, as they didn´t know “anything” about my degree and TEFL certification.
I already knew there was no way to talk like normal people at Elink Vietnam, as they had decided to “penalize” me for telling everyone the truth about their dubious practices.
Anyway, I went to the Police Station near the creepy company, together with a Vietnamese friend, to report the situation, in case they definitely wanted to steal my documents.
Elink Vietnam : a company or a gang?
Their agent said, few days later, that I had to return to their headquarters to “talk about how I was not complying with the Vietnamese law, related to foreigners” (Excuse me? all I needed was my degree. I didn´t have time nor patience to listen to their false speech over and over again).
Elink Vietnam wanted me to go alone (was it an English teaching company or a mafia gang?), which, of course, I was not going to accept.
They said Elink Vietnam´s director was going to call my friend (so he DID have time then but when I asked for my payment as an employee, months before, he was always “very busy”).
Nothing new: Elink Vietnam insisted on making me lose time, money, and patience, so I put myself a deadline.
Hadn´t they realized, when I handled those papers, that I wasn´t going to stop until they finally corrected their mistakes? Apparently, Elink Vietnam learned nothing from how I made them pay my last salary.
The next move on Elink Vietnam
If the person did not state when and where Elink Vietnam would return my degree, I would start sending e-mails to whoever had a working relationship with Elink Vietnam.
So I did. I talked with their business partners and waited. I put myself another deadline to start sending e-mails to all my students (as I used to put them homework). I was writing those texts when I received a message from Elink Vietnam:
“One staff of Elink will bring your documents to you around 4 pm tomorrow. Where can he go?”
That was all I wanted. They could have saved all the scandal by doing things right since the beginning, but… Hey! Those were the practices of Elink Vietnam, as I found out when I talked to other teachers about my problem.