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    • Warning about LCF Kids Club Spain


      By: Ciarán Elster < Show E-mail >

      Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2016

      Location: Europe (Spain)

      I worked for an academy called LCF Kids Club Spain in a small town called Palos de la Frontera in the province of Huelva, from January to July 2016. The same company also has an academy in Huelva city, and in a few other places in Spain.

      Having worked at their summer camp in the last week of June and the first three weeks of July, I still haven't been paid for it. Myself and my partner were offered €400 each to do the summer camp for the four weeks, an insultingly low salary as it is. We came to the agreement that they would pay my partner in cash and me by bank transfer, and they simply haven't made the bank transfer.

      Dsepite signing a contract saying that the bank transfer would be made on the 22nd July, the director never made the transfer. When I asked him about it several times, he told me that it was the director of the academy in Huelva who was making the payment. When I asked him, he told me that he would make the payment the next day, despite the fact that this was already nearly two weeks late. The following day he told me that he would pay me a week later, without giving any explanation for the delay.

      The next week I still hadn't been paid, and I asked a lawyer for advice. Following his advice I prepared a Demand Letter to send via a service called Burofax, and when I told both of the Kids Club directors I was going to send it, one of them threatened to sue me, despite having absolutely no reason or right to do so. The following day he told me that he had cancelled the bank transfer he had made (which I'm not sure is even possible, and I hadn't seen any evidence of any such transfer ever having been made) and that if I wanted my money I would have to sue for it. He also said that he was going to contact his lawyers to sue me for 'not fulfilling my contract', which he completely invented. His bad-tempered WhatsApp message included the sentence 'I already told you that the more annoying you are the later you will get paid' and finished off with 'don't disturb us anymore during the holidays'.

      I proceeded to send the Demand Letter, and the lawyer with whom I had been in touch also sent an email to the company informing them of our intention to sue. A few days later the director of my academy replied to the lawyer's email saying that the payment would be made again at the end of that week. That was a week ago now and I still don't know whether or not the payment has been made yet.

      As well as their reluctance to pay their employees, the two directors in question also have an extreme reluctance to do much work. During the camp, myself and my partner were left to plan, prepare and execute all of the classes and other activities with little or no help from either of the two directors, who very rarely bothered to turn up. They had told us that they would ensure the camp was fully equipped and that every day they would provide 'breakfast' for the kids. Almost every day they arrived late with the food, and almost always forgot or neglected to bring some of the things they had said they would bring. Before the camp started they told us quite clearly that they would organise the last part of the day, which would take place in the swimming pool, and as soon as the camp started they immediately began to put pressure on us to organise activities for the pool despite saying that they would do it. They also told us that we had the option of swimming or not swimming depending on whether we chose to or not, which they also tried to change during the camp. After a few days in the pool I had to stop swimming due to an ear infection, and both directors continued to pressurise me into swimming despite knowing of my health problems.

      Prior to the summer camp I worked as a teacher during the regular term for six months, and I noticed a constant lack of professionalism in the way the company is run. They demanded that teachers attend meetings which were not part of our contracts and for which they never paid us anything, and they let these meetings drag on for entire mornings with no consideration for our other commitments. They also quite often rearranged the times of meetings by WhatsApp with only a few hour's notice. During class time, the director hardly ever arrived on time and quite often didn't come at all, leaving teachers to deal with parents and answer questions regarding enrollment fees that we didn't know the answer to.

      When I started in Kids Club I met four other teachers who were working there at the time. Of these four, none have any intention of continuing. One of them left that very week, another left as soon as she could and declared that she will never work in teaching again (this having been her first teaching job), another allegedly got sacked for no reason (which the director's were extremely quiet about, I only heard about it through rumours) and another finished the term and made it clear that she has no intention of staying with the same academy.

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