Teachers working for a global corporation, which sells English language courses, are asking for solidarity. The corporation, Kaplan International, offers English courses in eight countries, including the US and Australia. It says of its teachers on its website: "All of our teachers are fully trained and enthusiastic about teaching you and helping you get the most out of your English course." 

However as the campaign video from Kaplan teachers in New York explains, the company keeps 90% of its teachers on part-time contracts so that they don't have to pay holidays and sick pay and pays a little above the minimum wage. Kaplan teachers have been locked in an eleven month dispute over pay and conditions.

Kaplan made $49 million in profit in 2012 and gave a sacked CEO a golden handshake of $76 million - enough to pay the annual salary of 3000 Kaplan teachers.

This is not the first English language school to have treated its teachers in this way - the multi-national Berlitz school was also locked in a dispute with its teachers in Japan, over amongst other things, firing a teacher who was undergoing treatment for breast cancer, and suing teachers for going on strike. That dispute was only resolved at the beginning of 2013, four years after it started.

Companies like Kaplan and Berlitz were the trailblazers for all the for-profit companies, who are either getting a slice of the potential profits from all phases of education - including primary and secondary schools - or are getting ready to do so. It is no accident that the first things to go, when school systems begin to privatise, are hard won pay and conditions - a development which is happening increasingly for example in England and the US. With these agreements goes collective bargaining and potentially the collective power of teacher unions. However, even in such profit oriented systems as  Kaplan and Berlitz, teachers have shown the determination and the possibility of resistance.

Go to the solidarity and action page, or the video above, to find out how to send solidarity to Kaplan teachers.