Solidarity with affiliates in Cyprus
On 13 July, the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) expressed its solidarity with the Organisation of Secondary School Teachers of Cyprus (OELMEK), the Association of Teachers of Technical Education Cyprus (OLTEK) and the Cyprus Greek Teachers' Organisation (POED)
in their fight for their right to be consulted on education-related issues.
The education unions also explained that, among other things, the elimination by the authorities of special programmes potentially affects 35 percent of the total student population and jeopardises the right and access to quality education for all in Cyprus.
Advocating for the principle of consultations with education social partners in due time, ETUCE is actively carrying out solidarity actions with its member organisations in Cyprus.
Social Dialogue Liaison Forum meetings
With a view to exchanging the latest developments in social dialogue at European level, ETUCE participated on 16 April and 2 July in the European Commission (EC)-organised Social Dialogue Liaison Forum meetings with social partners from all sectors.
Cross-sectoral and sectoral European social partners met with the EC to discuss the latter’s proposal for a European Labour Authority, the social fairness package, the initiative on work-life balance, the Posting of Workers Directive, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and its relevance for social partners, as well as the Eurofound proposal for a detailed sectoral analysis on working conditions.
The positive outcome of the activities conducted within the cross-sectoral social dialogue in 2018 can be seen in the increase of trust and mutual understanding between social partners, both at national and European level, and the enhanced involvement of social partners at all levels (European, national, regional, local) in shaping the European labour market and social policies for a fairer European Union (EU). There is clearly a shared will to strengthen social dialogue as the core element of the European Social Model, providing EI member organisations with additional space to engage in social dialogue both nationally and at European level.
Partnership in the “Promoting Social Partnership in Employee Training” project
ETUCE was a project partner in the “Promoting Social Partnership in Employee Training” project between 2017 and 2018. This project, led by the cross-sectoral European social partners, i.e. European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), BusinessEurope, European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (UEAPME), and European Centre of Employers and Enterprises (CEEP), aimed to present a study and bring together trade unions and employers’ organisations to discuss employee training.
The final conference took place on 19 June in Brussels, Belgium, and adopted a joint statement. The key objective is defending trade unions’ views on ensuring rights and access to training for employees. Also, teacher training is not ensured by employers, and the joint statement will help ETUCE member organisations in national social dialogue discussions on ensuring free and high quality continuous professional training for teachers, and in their fight for fair and quality teacher training.
Final conference ESSDE Capacity building project III
European and national social partners wrapped up the results of three capacity building projects carried out during the last four years, and which have brought the European and national social partners around a table in 20 European countries.
During the conference, held from 13-14 June in Sofia, Bulgaria, education trade union and education employer representatives gathered to address joint education policy building and the creation of a solid basis for the continuation of their dialogue process.
The conference hosted speakers from the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and the EC, addressing the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Education Area 2025, and the European Semester. Participants discussed the attractiveness of the teaching profession based on healthy working environments, equity and equality, and support to teachers including through continuous professional development. The conference agreed on a joint declaration to be negotiated by the European Sectoral Social Partners in Education (ESSDE) Plenary delegates in their meeting in November 2018.
Through the ESSDE capacity building project activities, the European social partners are helping national social partners to learn more about the instruments of and the opportunities brought by an efficient social dialogue. The project activities also contribute to raising awareness among ETUCE’s participating member organisations about the European topics relevant in education and social dialogue. These project events are supporting the building of mutual trust between the partners.
“Europe needs a pay rise. It’s time for our recovery” campaign
On 4 June, ETUCE joined the European trade union movement’s campaign, “Europe needs a pay rise. It’s time for our recovery”. ETUCE expressed its solidarity with its member organisations denouncing low funding and pay for teachers and educators, advocating and/or negotiating for a pay rise, and demanding that the right to collective bargaining be respected.
ETUCE continues to monitor the long-term legacy of pay cuts, pay freezes, and other austerity measures on teachers and education personnel across Europe. By campaigning for a full restoration of the right to collective bargaining and social dialogue in countries that have seen salaries stagnate or even be cut due to urgent economic needs, ETUCE raises awareness and continues to denounce the detrimental effects of austerity and of the economic crisis on employment and decent working conditions, also considering the gender dimension (gender pay gap) as well as the geographical dimension (east-west pay gap). ETUCE also supports its member organisations through solidarity actions and awareness-raising media campaigns.
European Commission Multi-stakeholder Platform on SDGs meeting
The EC Multi-stakeholder Platform on SDGs, Management Sub-group on Equality, Justice, Inclusion and Decent work met on 18 May to discuss the Education Area and the Upskilling Pathways as a means to improve the quality of education, skills, and adult learning in the EU, as well as the European Pillar of Social Rights.
ETUCE and affiliates advocated for the sufficient and equitable long-term financing of education, and the protection of public education systems, teachers, researchers and education employees, students and children against the negative effects of political and economic crisis.
ETUCE also ensures that affiliates are represented in expert groups working on the implementation of the SDGs.
ETUCE Conference on “Enhancing gender equality in and through education” in Azerbaijan
This Conference, held from 7-8 May in Baku, provided the opportunity for trade union representatives from more than 15 countries to exchange experiences and ideas on how education trade unions can address challenges for gender equality in education and the teaching profession, in particular in Central and Eastern European countries. Members from Poland, Tajikistan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Romania, Georgia, and Kazakhstan presented trade unions’ good practices on overcoming gender stereotypes, enhancing the representation and participation of women in decision-making in all education sectors, and making the teaching profession more attractive to both men and women.
Conference participants discussed concrete education trade union activities aimed at promoting a gender-sensitive approach in education, challenging gender stereotypes in education and society as a whole, and overcoming gender segregation among different education sectors and subjects. They adopted a Conference note with suggestions on how trade unions can ensure gender equality in the education and teaching profession.
Third workshop of ETUCE Project, “Education trade unions for the teaching profession - Strengthening the capacity of education trade unions to represent teachers”
Participants at this workshop examined various teacher training systems in Southern Europe and assessed how different education trade unions contribute to the improvement of initial and continuous teacher training through social dialogue. Participants also learned about the main challenges in teacher training in Italy, which are linked to budgetary cuts and the decrease in resources allocated to education, as well as about the work of the IRASE Nazionale, UIL-Scuola’s training institute, which provides individualised teacher training. In order to obtain a more practical view on initial teacher training in Italy, workshop participants visited a public elementary and nursery school in Rome, where they met school mentors and student trainees.
The project seeks to build the capacity of education trade unions to represent teachers’ professional needs in social dialogue, and training workshop give members the opportunity to share their experiences on the topic.