Some clips of Flight of the Conchords. "Business Time" and "Jenny" are partcularly great. Two very talented and funny Kiwis!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Guardian Guards Its Profits!

Thanks for the EL Gazette for the next couple of stories. The first is about the Guardian which it is now alleged is breaking the law!

BRITAIN’S LEADING left of centre newspaper company is paying freelance native speakers of English the UK minimum wage to conduct conversation classes online. Guardianlanguages. com, a website belonging to the Guardian News and Media Group, is offering £5.52 an hour to native speakers.

Paying minimum wage is not illegal; advertising for native speakers is more contentious. To 'justify discrimination' Guardian News and Media believe they have to show that it is a ‘proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’, according to Jason West, whose company, languagesoutthere, developed the programme. Legal advice given to the Gazette states that courts require hard evidence in order to justify discrimination. We asked the Guardian for their evidence but none has been provided.

Only native English speaker ‘partners’ qualify for payment but no educational requirements are specified. Qualified EFL teachers with nothing better to do will also initially be paid minimum wage rate. West is confident that over time qualified teflers will earn more as users are asked to rate the lessons they receive and ‘partners’ receiving consistently good ratings can ask for an increase on £5.52.

Qualified teachers in London earn about £20 an hour for private conversation classes. Those who do sign up in the hope of earning more than £5.52 an hour can opt to download one-hour lesson plans costing £20. In the UK 120 hours of course material retails at around £25. The same amount of material would be £2,700 from guardianlanguages. Asked to justify the cost difference West said he was confident about both quality and price of the materials. 'Self-study students can purchase packs for just £1 each,' he pointed out.


Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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JasonOutThere said...

Can you contact me at so that I can send you some information about Guardian Languages that you might like to read, check for yourself on our website and then publish?



Alex Case said...

Why would the Guardian newspaper get involved in something like that?? Aren't they supposed to be holier than thou (or holier that whatever the Old English version of "us")?? If even the Guardian are getting cynical, does that mean the rest of us have to ratch our cynicism up a notch?

Sandy said...

Nice to see you back, Inspector. I was beginning to think you might have met an undeserved sticky end in a downtown Korean restaurant, but I'm pleased to read that you've just been recharging the pipe at a conveniently secret location.

More power to your pipe, mon!!