Human and Trade Union Rights

Introduction Top

One of the founding principles of Education International is the advocacy of Human Rights and Trade Union Rights of all education personnel, including the Education Right of all children. As such, EI encourages the ratification and implementation of international conventions on the protection of such rights. Should any national government be found to be violating a treaty that it ratified, EI helps its affiliate to file a complaint at the intergovernmental body concerned.

EI aims to strengthen the ability of teacher organisations to form and join unions, engage in collective bargaining and promote equal opportunities for all (see the EI campaign to defend collective bargaining in the education sector).

Under Human Rights, EI works on education rights, children rights, academic freedom, equality [non-discrimination in terms of gender, national or ethnic origins, sexual orientation or identity, disability, age, religious belief(s) and political belief(s)].


Policy Top

The policy which EI formulated for its work on human and trade union rights is based on the resolutions passed by its World Congresses. Other resolutions related to human and trade union rights but dealing with issues such as Gender equality, Children rights, LGBT or Indigenous peoples can be found under the relevant EI websections.

Human and Trade Union Rights resolutions:

Country resolutions:

The international instruments which guide EI's policy are the international conventions, treaties and recommendations, such as:

Activities Top

EI assists its member organisations to become aware of their rights, to adopt strategies to extend the scope of trade union rights in their country (through lobbying for the ratification by their country of internationally binding instruments such as human rights treaties and ILO conventions), and to make their country accountable in respecting core labour rights.

When member organisations are confronted with violations of their trade union rights, EI’s first objective is to restore a dialogue at the national level. By extending international support to its member organisations and by putting a spotlight on a country, EI sometimes succeeds in restoring a dialogue between authorities and teacher organisations.

EI has also assisted member organisations to structure themselves in networks to allow a rapid exchange of information and efficient trade union response and support.

When all avenues for dialogue with the authorities have failed, EI supports its members through protest letters, Urgent Action Appeals, investigation or support missions, audiences with embassies, networking, and eventually complaints with intergovernmental bodies such as the ILO, the Committee of Experts, CEART, the Council of Europe, and other agencies.

EI assists member organisations in lodging complaints to the Committee on Freedom of Association (CFA) of the ILO in the case of the violation of the Freedom of Association. The procedure in question may be brought against governments even if they have not ratified the ILO's freedom of association conventions.

In addition to the permanent flow of emergency requests for support from member organisations, EI focuses on countries which present long-term and/or systematic challenges through defence actions and organisational support.

EI also collaborates with ACTRAV (the Workers Bureau of the ILO), with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), with other Global Union Federations, and with Human Rights groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), and others.

In December 2008, EI published a Trade Union Rights Manual to guide national teacher organisations in bringing forward to international institutions evidence of violations of trade union and human rights in their country.

EI takes actively part in the Workers delegation at the ILO Committee on Application of Standards during the annual International Labour Conference, where EI highlights the situation in the education sector (status of teachers as well as child labour and minorities’ access to education).

Education International also publishes its Barometer of Human and Trade Union Rights in the Education Sector every four years. Based on sources provided by its affiliates, the Barometer measures the extent to which human and trade union rights are respected in each country against the international conventions and treaties the country has ratified.

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Documentation Top

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