published 24 May 2018 updated 31 May 2018


Negotiations in Denmark

A lock-out of teachers in 2013 imposed employer positions on Danish teachers. It weakened the traditional authority of collective bargaining in determining wages and working conditions. The result was that crucial working conditions issues, particularly working time, relevant to the quality of education, were regulated by legislation rather than through free collective bargaining.

In the current round of bargaining, the Danish Union of Teachers (DLF) was part of a larger process that involved the entire public sector at national, regional, and municipal levels. Although an agreement was reached at all levels late in April, approval of the agreement depends on the outcome of membership votes, the results of which will be known on the 6th of June. EI and ETUCE have expressed their full solidarity with the DLF. Some details of the issues are provided in this update on the tentative agreement.

UCU Victory in the United Kingdom

After a long and effective strike, the University and College Union (UCE) made considerable progress on the major issue of the dispute. Management tried, unilaterally, to impose a fundamental change in the system of pensions. They moved to replace established defined benefit pensions with defined contribution pensions. That would have created uncertainty and insecurity and many employees would have had significant cuts in pension benefits. The strike generated considerable participation, media attention, and public support. The resolution of the dispute maintains the principle of defined benefit pensions.

Teachers hit by continued repression in Turkey

Repression in Turkey intensified following the failed coup d’état in the country in 2016 More than 37,000 education workers have been affected (dismissed or suspended) so far by the purge initiated by the authorities. Egitim Sen and KESK members are still being arrested on grounds related to their union activities. Elif Çuhadar, treasurer of Egitim Sen who was a panellist at the EI Conference on Refugee Education, was arrested in Ankara on 6 February. Six Egitim Sen local branches leaders and members were arrested in Izmir in March.  EI, ETUCE, and member organisations continue to extend solidarity to Turkish education workers and intervene at national, European, and international levels.

Trade Union Role on Professional Issues

The ETUC conducted a survey as a part of their project, “Education Trade Unions for the Teaching Profession. Strengthening the capacity of education trade unions to represent teachers’ professional needs in social dialogue”. Nearly two-thirds of education trade unions (out of 58 unions which participated in the survey) indicated that they provide professional training directly to members (62.1%). However, regarding involvement in social dialogue, the responses suggest that education trade unions are less likely to participate in social dialogue on professional issues than more traditional industrial issues. The project is designed, through capacity and confidence building, ensure that European trade unions are at the table in discussions that are relevant to the profession of teaching.

Gender Equality in the Teaching Profession through Social Dialogue

The ETUCE capacity building project on gender equality focuses on the work of ETUCE member organisations on promoting gender equality in the teaching profession and within education trade unions and providing them with concrete tools and practices to address the challenges of gender inequality in the education sector using different social dialogue instruments.

The project also intends to raise awareness on the need to include the discussion on gender equality in social dialogue at national and European level in the education sector with the aim to enhance the professional status of teachers, trainers and school leaders and to make the teaching profession more attractive for both men and women.

The ETUCE will examine national findings related to existing career segregation in the teaching profession, with a special focus on on sectorial segregation, work-life balance, career development and recognition, gender pay and pension gaps, and gender inequality in decision-making.

EFFECT Project in Higher Education

ETUCE is a partner in a project led by the European University Association. The "European Forum for Enhanced Collaboration in Teaching", (EFFECT) project aims to facilitate the exchange of experience and effective methods in terms of university teachers’ development at the European level.

The project reflects on such challenges for higher education teaching as the growing and ever more diverse student body; drop-out and retention; maximising opportunities; ICT-based learning; and recognising teaching excellence and its link to student success.

Education and Migration

Acompilation of four studies plus recommendations to the EU to improve education for refugees and migrants was presented at the European Economic and Social Council..  ,"The event brought together researchers from the project, trade union delegates, and interested parties to discuss the integration of refugee and migrant children into schools and the pathways to employment for refugee and migrant teachers.  Research in five countries (Italy, Germany, Spain, Sweden and Poland) was supplemented by national capacity building projects in Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain, and UK.

The ETUCE has participated in a number of EU consultations on migration and refugees and has stressed the role of social partners in ensuring that the children of migrants and refugees are properly educated and have the opportunity to be integrated and enjoy the rights of other children. Several ETUCE member organisations are active in migration-related education issues. The need to train teachers to deal with the problems of migrant children, including trauma has also been emphasised.

Bologna Process

The ETUCE Higher Education and Research Standing Committee (HERSC), a statutory body that meets twice a year, has been focusing on the: Implementation of the Bologna process, including influencing the Bologna-Follow-Up Group meetings, and its working groups and advisory groups, including:

·         Quality Assurance; participating in the European Quality Assurance Registry;

·         Academic Freedom;

·         External dimensions;

·         Governance reform;

·         Mobility;

·         Modernising universities;

·         The Social dimension;

·         Student-Centred Learning;

·         Supportive Environment for Learning;

·         Investment to higher education and research; and

·         University Ranking

During the 9-10 April 2018, HERSC meeting the HERSC members exchanged their views on the future of the Bologna Process and discussed the ETUCE Report and Recommendations for Bologna Follow Up Group Ministerial Meeting in Paris which is taking place on 23-25 May 2018.

ETUCE is trying to ensure that teacher unions will influence the progression of the Bologna Process and the European Higher Education Area, The priorities of education unions need to be part of conversations and policy making in regards to higher education at the European level.