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European Law regarding employment has been in place for many years now. It spells out the rights of employees and the duties of employers. Redundancy procedures are also very clear. What amazes me is that a British Organisation such as the British Council would appear to ignore the law, be flagrantly (or blissfully) ignorant of it and would chose a pathway of confrontation instead of mutuality of interest in these matters. Diplomatic immunity or not, if you invite someone to do a job, specify requirements, materials, location, hours needed etc and keep this going for 7 years, you have yourself an employee - with rights. I wonder how the many 'freelance' IELTS examiners world wide, 'engaged' by the BC, fit into the European framework of the law or the BC's interpretation of it?

What's wrong with doing all this the right way?


Thanks Tony, and good to hear from you again. I think the BC is congenitally out of touch because the FCO is out of touch. The organisation is so used to privilege and in extremis trotting out the "diplomatic" argument that they are too lazy and too arrogant to read the rule book.


The BC's current Director in France is Chris Hickey. Chris cut his teacher industrial relations teeth in the 90s in Spain, where locally-engaged teachers and London-contract staff were routinely subjected to the exactly the same kind of treatment - denials of statutory rights/claims of BC 'Diplomatic' status with Ambassadorial assistance/dubious BC tax position/legal prevarication/etc - that GE suffered. The untaxed cash generated by the teaching operation in Spain made it the Council's biggest ELT revenue earner.

Chris received the CMG (Order of St Michael and St George) in the 2009 Birthday Honours List. NIck Clegg has visited him recently:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5915990826/in/set-72157627147008248
Doesn't it make you proud to be British?


Thank you, Arthur - very nice to hear from you again. Yes, sickbag stuff, and I have no doubt there are many other such cases. I think a few people in the ranks have to get their CMG in order that the DG, or "Chief Executive" as he calls himself, can get a KCMG, which is no doubt imminent.


Yes, thank you Arthur. Business as usual, I see. What exactly is the British Council promoting abroad ?


BTW, the BC is never blissfully unaware of its legal position in any country in which it operates. It spends a small fortune on retaining local lawyers. Men such as Madrid-based lawyer Jorge Dominguez Roldán.

Sr. Roldán was awarded the MBE for 'legal assistance to British entities in Spain.' He has one British client: the British Council.

Sr. Roldán has provided enormous assistance: in addition to defending the Council's constantly shape-shifting position in countless IR cases over the years, he led the BC negotiations with the Spanish Inland Revenue for a tax exemption; and, most importantly, he devised the change in British Council status in Spain which led to the organisation being recognised in 2009 as a charitable foundation, only obliged to show the costs of its 'charitable' work, and not its income.
http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2009/03/12/pdfs/BOE-A-2009-4201.pdf. The BC had operated in Spain for 68 years at that point, without ever realising it was a charity, a benign and disinterested body just dispersing donations from grateful supporters.

The BC Director at the time of this historic change was Chris Hickey. Coincidentally, Chris got his CMG that same year. It is not recorded whether he and Sr. Roldán celebrated together.

Neil Robertson

Update on the case being brought in Abuja Nigeria against British Council by another former employee:


Neil Robertson

This case in Nigeria trundles on: http://dblackie.blogs.com/the_language_business/2011/02/cultural-relations-in-nigeria.html

Neil Robertson

Heartened to read that The Speaker's Corner Trust has recently appointed the brave Nigerian woman lawyer who sued The British Council in Abuja as SCT Director in Nigeria: http://www.speakerscornertrust.org/speakers-corner-projects/international-projects/nigeria/

Neil Robertson

http://www.ventures-africa.com/2012/03/administrative-injustice-unlawful-dismissals-and-the-right-to-fair-hearings/ Useful case study and legal advice - from a barrister!

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