Education International
Education International

EI and ETUCE express solidarity with Greek Unions

published 6 May 2010 updated 6 May 2010

Education International and the European Trade Union Committee for Education have issued full support and solidarity to the Greek teaching unions, OLME and DOE, in their struggle to protect teachers’ salaries and pensions in order to maintain standards of living.

At a meeting on May 5, both EI and ETUCE signed a declaration to express grave concern about the welfare of teachers and other education workers in Greece, and other countries in Europe, as a consequence of the harsh economic situation.

The declaration calls for measures to address the effects of the crisis on teachers. Any action should acknowledge the principle that those who have historically benefited most from the generation of wealth should pay the most, and these proposals should be negotiated with and accepted by the social partners.

President of the Pan-European Structure, Ronnie Smith, stated that: “In many countries across Europe, teachers and other public sector workers are expected to bear the brunt of cuts in public spending through a reduction in their salaries, pensions and conditions of employment. This will not solve the economic crisis in Greece or in any other country.”

Against this background, the EI and ETUCE Bureau have agreed to address the EU and the global financial institutions, on behalf of teachers, to insulate against the harsh impact of economic austerity measures which are imposed on European countries as part of economic rescue packages.

The EI-ETUCE declaration also supports the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) call on European policy makers to stop speculators destroying the European Social Model, which has four key demands:

  • To enlarge and increase substantially the Commission’s balance of payments fund so that it covers all EU member states;
  • To review the conditions attached to Greek loans, and those of others, so that they are no longer abused to push through a model of deregulation, liberalisation and privatisation;
  • To mobilise the central banks in Europe as a ‘buyer of last resort’ to fight against the speculators, in the same way that they took tens of billions of low-rated private debt from the banks onto their own balance sheets;
  • To suspend the use of rating agencies’ sovereign debt ratings by monetary and financial policy organisations and look seriously into the creation of a European Rating Agency.

President of the ETUC, John Monks, added: “There was no hesitation about bailing out the banks in 2008. They got what they wanted. There was no doctrine of moral hazard then. Today, all EU countries should approach Greece with respect, not tabloid racism; with sympathy, not scorn; with generosity, not suspicion.”