In one of the countries most affected by the COVID-19 health crisis, the Spanish education union FECCOO is negotiating with the government regarding measures to ensure the sustainability of the education system and has launched a guide with advice for teachers.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Spain has been one of the hardest-hit countries in the world, with over 94,000 confirmed cases and around 8,000 deaths as of 31 March 2020. Schools have been closed since 12 March, affecting some 10 million students who are currently being supported by around 700,000 educators working from home.
Federación de Enseñanza de Comisiones Obreras (FECCOO) has called for the closure of all schools and has asked that neither teachers, including management personnel, nor non-teaching staff are asked to go to work. In addition, the union highlighted the crucial role of education workers during these difficult times. “Teachers are facing this health crisis as they do everything else: with professionalism, determination and in many cases imagination in order to overcome the challenges of teaching in these difficult times”, stressed the trade union, a member organisation of Education International (EI).
Open competitions affected by COVID-19
FECCOO is also seeking government approval for around 80,000 positions to be filled over the next three years, so that increases in staffing levels are also taken into account and not just pension schemes and the stabilisation of the teaching profession.
The union has also requested clarity on the announcement of open competitions for 2020 and has asked that, regardless of when they are held, the decision be the same for all the autonomous communities. To this end, the Ministry of Education must fulfil its coordinating role, especially when these public employment offers originate from a formal government agreement. Furthermore, the government must ensure that neither jobs nor signed contracts awaiting implementation are lost.
Guide for educators
The education union has also published a Practical Guide to Education Workers’ Rights that answers questions such as “Are education departments and universities obliged to allow teleworking?”, “Can you refuse to go to work if the employer forces you to?”, “Can you adjust your schedule if you have children?”, “Can an employer force you to take time off?”, and many more.