The first EI workshop on negotiations and organising was held in Tbilisi, Georgia, on 12 -13 March 2009, thus paving the way for a new initiative to support its members in the South East European region.
Twenty-one representatives of EI’s affiliate, the Educators and Scientists Free Trade Union of Georgia (ESFTUG) from 10 different districts received training on bargaining for improved wages and working conditions, collective bargaining structures and joint negotiating machinery. Funded by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), and organised by EI in cooperation with ESFTUG, the workshop was conducted by Gerald Fawcett, an experienced trainer who has been working for the National Union of Education in the UK as negotiation officer.
The workshop was seen by all participants as a great success and extremely helpful in order to enable ESFTUG representatives to better negotiate with employers.
This new initiative is the result of a conference that was held in May 2008 on “Strengthening teacher trade unions in non-EU South East European countries.” Trade union leaders from 11 teacher unions in eight countries gathered in Tbilisi to identify common needs and challenges the unions are facing. Priority issues were: enhancing democracy within the union structures, retaining and attracting new members and strengthening collective bargaining structures. Further workshops will be conducted in the course of this year in different countries yet to be determined.