With more than 100 000 members, FECCOO is the most representative trade union organisation in the education support personnel (ESP) sector in Spain. Our union believes that the work of ESP in schools around the world is vital for achieving the right to quality education.
ESP, like education workers in general, receive little recognition for their work, despite the fact that during the recent health crisis it became clear that they are essential to education systems worldwide.
International Declaration on the Rights of ESP
We affirm that we are part of the educational workforce in schools. We are workers, professionals in all educational categories. We are in all schools and work at all stages of education, from nursery to secondary education.
We carry out all kinds of tasks and functions: administrative, educational, health, cultural, assistance, surveillance and control, cleaning and maintenance... We are present at all negotiating tables.
At the first Education Support Personnel (ESP) Conference in May 2018, Education International issued a Declaration on the Rights and Status of Education Support Personnel, calling for its implementation everywhere in the world.
The declaration refers to our sector as “education employees working in a broad range of roles and careers across all levels of education in both public and private education institutions”.
We carry out very important tasks and play a vital role in guaranteeing quality education for all, and in providing a public education service to meet the needs of the 21st century.
We foster positive and safe learning environments, ensuring that educational institutions function effectively so that every student can learn, because we are educators.
We play a key role in shaping the “whole student”, helping to ensure that the academic, socio-emotional and practical needs of the individual student are met, fostering equitable and inclusive education systems.
The entire educational community agrees that one of the most pressing challenges for schools is to develop programmes, projects, and activities in line with the needs of a just transition to a green economy, and the new challenges and policies of environmental sustainability.
For all these reasons and because of the involvement of all education support professionals (monitors, librarians, psychologists, cleaners, counsellors, etc.) in the day-to-day life of schools, we reiterate that we play an essential role in helping to achieve these challenges.
Demanding decent work
It is important to train and equip education support professionals (not only teachers) with key tools on topics such as bullying, coexistence, environmental education and sustainability, to give just a few examples.
In our union, we celebrate World ESP Day on 16 May, defending their fundamental work, as well as continuing to fight to improve collective bargaining to recover lost rights and achieve working conditions and salaries in line with the needs of each professional in the sector.
In addition, we are working in the framework of a new dedicated bargaining scenario in the education sector in order to qualify education support roles in a way that recognises their specificity and differentiates them from similar positions in public services.
The rights and working conditions of education support personnel must be protected against privatisation and outsourcing of public services.
Their right to decent work, i.e. to the four basic pillars of the International Labour Organisation: social protection, rights at work, social dialogue and quality employment, must also be guaranteed.
As part of the education community, we have the opportunity to participate in and contribute to decision-making in educational institutions. In FECCOO, we are working to achieve a greater level of participation of ESP in decision-making in schools.
We are entitled to high quality employment conditions in order to be able to perform our duties in a professional manner, and to serve our students in the best possible way.
All aspects of our employment should be free of any form of discrimination on grounds of race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, political opinions, socio-economic status or origin, ensuring gender pay equity.
We have the right to be safe at work and not to suffer harassment, abuse, or violence in the workplace. Education administrations must ensure the safety and health of workers in our sector.
All these demands for the rights of education personnel set out by Education International coincide with, and are part of, the proposals and demands that our organisation defends and takes to negotiating tables across Spain.
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect any official policies or positions of Education International.