Resolution on fighting austerity to defend rights, status, jobs and salaries
The 7th Education International (EI) World Congress meeting in Ottawa, Canada, from 21nd to 26th July 2015:
1. Noting that austerity policies are being stepped up throughout the world, under the aegis notably of the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, in order to respond to the demands of the financial markets, and that they are aimed at placing the burden of the debt on the shoulders of workers, who are not in any way responsible for the economic and financial crisis;
2. Observing that these policies are accompanied by a reduction in taxes on profits and on the rich, leading to shrinking tax revenues, depriving the public sector of resources;
3. Noting that these polices translate into massive budget cuts that have a disastrous effect on Education, and that the private sector is playing an increasingly bigger role in public education;
4. Observing that these policies have resulted in many countries in the dismissal of teachers, on a massive scale in Greece for example, and that teachers are in an ever more precarious situation;
5. Observing that the salaries of Education personnel are under attack, that the introduction of performance pay creates inequality and that the advantages given to some come at the price of pay reductions for the vast majority of staff;
6. Noting that working conditions are becoming more and more difficult with ever more overcrowded classes;
7. Noting also that job stability is no longer guaranteed for millions of teachers, which is in violation of:
a. The 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation: “OIT/ UNESCO de 1966 :« Stability of employment and security of tenure in the profession are essential in the interests of education a well as in that of the teacher and should be safe-guarded even when changes in the organisation of or within a school system are made; »
b. The 1997 UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel: «Security of employment in the profession, including tenure or its functional equivalent, where applicable, should be safeguarded as it is essential to the interests of higher education as well as those of higher-education teaching personnel; »
8. Reaffirming that it is vitally important that teachers enjoy high status not only because of the quality of education itself but also for the progress of all societies (EI Washington Congress);
9. Expressing its solidarity with all our colleagues and their trade unions who are fighting to defend their demands and their rights, to protect their democratic and social achievements, for the right to education, training and to work, for the right to jobs protected by collective agreements and statutes, often forced into strike action;
10. Noting that these attacks are aimed at destroying the rights that workers and democrats have fought for, for over a century, at the national and international level;
The World Congress therefore:
11. Mandates the Executive Board, in cooperation with member organisations, to:
a. Denounce austerity plans, which are having a devastating effect on Education and youth, and fight against the growing precariousness of the education profession, to put an end to the dismissals
b. Press for the creation of programmes to strengthen or rebuild the public sector instead of « rescue plans » and structural adjustment programmes
c. Defend and strengthen the recruitment of Education personnel on a permanent employment basis guaranteed by statute, and take action to ensure security of tenure for all education personnel in a precarious situation.
12. Mandates the Executive Board to:
a. Set up a campaign to defend security of tenure for teachers guaranteed by a statute.
b. Press for the above demands by vigorously lobbying the relevant intergovernmental organisations, such as UNESCO, UNICEF, ILO, OECD, the World Bank and the IMF, and ensuring that they make these demands known to the whole world, and regularly publish reports on the progress made in meeting these demands.
This should be done in order to ensure that the above recommendations are respected and that the quality of Education takes precedence over economic returns.