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New Eurydice publication on recommended annual taught time in full-time compulsory education in Europe
The Eurydice data collection on taught time targets recommended compulsory curriculum by grades/stages for full-time compulsory education. The taught time presented in the national fig-ures corresponds to the most common general education programme in the country concerned. It includes the time spent by a student in receiving instruction on all the subjects integrated in the compulsory core or compulsory flexible curriculum in the school premises or in out-of school activ-ities which are formal part of the programme.
The report presents both data by subject and country as annual compulsory taught time in hours of 60 minutes per grade bearing in mind the number of taught days and weeks per year as well as the number and length of the class periods.
ETUCE in solidarity with the Danish teachers
The situation in Denmark
In Denmark the employers’ organization (Local Government Denmark) and the national government want to remove all work time agreements in the education sector.
The Danish government is interfering in the free collective bargaining negotiations by presenting a proposal for a school reform that is conditional on a reduction of the teachers’ preparation time which is part of the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations.
By doing this the government intervenes in the free negotiations between the employers and employees negotiations in which the acting parties should enter into mutually binding agreements, of which both parties are responsible.
Today the agreements guarantee reasonable time for preparation of the teaching and reasonable working conditions, and also, the agreements prevent discretionary treatment of the employees. The employers’ organisation want to abolish all work time agreements with the teachers’ unions so that the maximum of a teachers ‘weekly classroom lessons will be defined entirely by the Head of School. In this way the teachers’ unions are disconnected from the possibility of negotiating work time rules for their members to ensure proper preparation time in order to achieve quality in the education.
On 27 February the employers’ organisation has declared unilaterally that the negotiations had collapsed and the employers´ organization have given notice of lockout of all teachers employed under the collective agreement with the Danish Union of Teachers (DLF) . If the parties cannot reach an agreement with the interference of the Institution of Conciliation within three weeks, the industrial action come into force and all the primary and lower secondary schools will be without teachers for an unknown period.
This situation will be precarious for the government, who, after a period of industrial action, is expected to intervene with legislation. With the government’s current interest to cut down on public expenditures DLF does not expect that will benefit the teachers.
If the employers’ organisation get it their way the public school will be set back 30 years . The teachers’ engagement and the quality of education will deteriorate.
The Danish teachers are ready to fight
This was the spirit in Odense Congress Center on 5 March 2013 where 2200 shop stewards were gathered to hear Anders Bondo Christensen, President of the DLF, give an update of the situation and the threatening lockout of 50,000 teachers.
Anders Bondo could not go into details about the confidential negotiations facilitated by the Institution of Conciliation, but he had called in the shop stewards to prepare them for an industrial conflict. He told the shop stewards that DLF will not accept working time rules without time allocation for proper preparation of the teaching.
“The employers’ organization has presented a work time model to us without any limitations on the teachers’ number of weekly classroom lessons. Nobody would benefit from that, not even the employers, for it would only result in demotivated teachers”, Anders Bondo Christensen said.
ETUCE therefore ask all Member Organisations to show their solidarity by sending statements to the Danish Government .
Click here to read the ETUCE Statement >>>
Yes to jobs for young people!
Representatives from ETUCE member organisations and staff from the ETUCE Secretariat joined the ETUC rally “Together for a better future: No to austerity! Yes to jobs for young people!” On 14 March 2013, 15.000 trade unionists from all over Europe gathered in Brussels to unite their voices in support of youth employment. The Rally took place as the European heads of state met at the European Summit to discuss further measures to revive the economy, generate jobs and help unemployed young people.
Sending a strong message to those who believe that austerity is the path out of the crisis, the demonstrators called on the members of the Troika, European leaders and national policymakers to replace austerity with strong growth-enhancing measures and increased investment in education and in young people. Austerity has not produced growth. It has not created new jobs and has not strengthened the European social model.
In solidarity, the European trade unionists requested a change of course with the emphasis on a sustainable recovery with more and better jobs, based on sustainable investment. Building on industrial relations and social dialogue, social protection and public services, the campaign made clear that the European social model is a source of support and not an obstacle to competitiveness and growth.
Denmark: The lock-out of 69.000 teachers a, reality
Despite intense attempts in last minutes and new offers from the Danish Teachers Union (DLF) the Employers lock out of nearly all teachers in primary and lower secondary teachers in the whole country has become effective from the 1 April. The lock-out prevents approximately 875.000 pupils from getting their normal teaching as teachers are not allowed into the schools. Teachers do not receive any salary during the conflict, but DLF is offering partly compensation from the strike funds.
The conflict comes as the parties haven’t agreed on a new work arrangement and the employers have been pressing for lifting all restrictions and regulations in the current agreement. DLF has refused an agreement without any limits on working time arrangements. The conflict has also been increased by the Danish Government`s wish to reform the education law and give more lessons to the pupils financed by teachers taking more lessons per week. DLF has been accused of not being flexible enough and out of line with modern working arrangements. DLF has on the other hand accused the Government and the Employers of together plotting against the teachers by initiating such a huge conflict calling for the Government to intervene as the whole society will suffer as a result.
The ETUCE has sent messages of protests to the Danish Government and asked member organizations to do the same and letters of protest from all over Europe have been sent to the Danish Government. “ETUCE supports the Danish teachers. It is a very serious conflict and the Employers and the Government have not negotiated seriously, “ says the European Director Martin Rømer and continues: “ if they get along with this other groups may face the same next time, and they further more vandalise the so called Danish Model, where there has always been a tradition of finding a compromise.”
The Social Investment Package – a new way forward?
In response to rising poverty and considerable levels of unemployment in some parts of Europe, the Commission published its Social Investment Package on 20 February 2013.
The Package proposes that spending on social policy should not be seen as consumption but as investment on equal footing with investment in e.g. capital, as social investment offers economic and social returns over time. There is a great variety in the amounts of social spending in different Member States relative to its associated efficiency and effectiveness and therefore, in many Member States more can be done in order to make better use of funds.
The Package aims to reorientate the policies of Member States towards social investment along the following axes:
-Strengthening social investment as part of the Country Specific Recommendations and the European Semesters as well as the National Reform Programmes. -Taking into account the social investment dimension in the use of EU funds. -Enhancing reporting on the performance of Member States’ social systems. On 1 March 2013, ETUCE attended a Liaison Forum meeting in the European Social Dialogue on the topic of the Social Investment Package. It was informed that the Package was generally positively accepted by relevant stakeholders even though some questioned its effectiveness due to its non-binding character. Also the ETUC has taken a rather sceptic position to the Package, expressing their disappointment with the lack of specific and additional funding. However, the Package may have at least one important impact, namely that of supporting the discussion on the nature of social spending, an issue discussed by e.g. Vandenbroucke et. al. (2011) p. 11: “While all the available evidence suggests that investments in childcare and education will, in the long-run, pay for themselves, existing public finance practices consider any form of social policy spending only as pure consumption.” The Social Investment Package is in line with the Commission’s Employment Package of April 2012, the Youth Employment Package of December 2012, and the overall 2020 Strategy. Click here for material on the Social Investment Package, which includes the Communication towards social investment for growth and cohesion, a recommendation against child poverty, and seven staff working documents.
General strike in Silesia region/Poland: NSZZ Solidarność’s teachers went on strike in Silesia region and demonstrated in front of regional governor’s office
On 26 March 2013 a general solidarity strike was organized in the whole Silesia region for several hours. Up to 100.000 workers from urban transport, railway, energy industry, mining, hospitals and schools joined the action.
The Strike Committee had already been established on 23 October 2012. Representatives of the largest trade union centers such as Solidarity, OPZZ, the Forum of Trade Unions and the FTU August 80 and ZZ Versus decided to organize a common strike. The decision was made due to a lack of an agreement following talks with the government on the implementation of the demands of the Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee Protest.
The striking workers have put forward a series of demands. They were calling among other things for the continuity of pension arrangements available to workers with special needs and a halt to school closures as well as the shift of responsibility for public education funding to local governments.
Turkey: 22 trade unionists released after court hearing in Ankara
On 10 April 2013, 22 trade unionists were released on bail after 289 days of imprisonment. Mehmet Bozgeyik, the general secretary of the Turkish ETUCE member Egitim-Sen was among the released trade unionists.
ETUCE participated in an international delegation to attend the court hearing showing solidarity with its Turkish colleagues and to increase pressure on the Turkish government to release them. Just like the successful outcomes of the missions to Ankara in October and December 2012, also this time the outcome clearly illustrated the importance of a strong international presence. The trade unionists were charged for alleged links to terrorist organisations, though no concrete evidence for this had been found. Despite the release, charges against the trade unionists have not yet been dropped.
Teachers’ agreed working hours are similar to those of other professions
According to a new Eurydice report on Key Data on Teachers and School Leaders in Europe 2013 Teachers in Europe are contractually bound to work at least 35-40 hours per week across all education levels.
The report presents information for teachers in pre-primary, primary and general lower and upper secondary education. It examines different stages of a teacher's career from initial education to entrance into the profession and professional development up until retirement. School leadership is addressed in terms of conditions of access to the position of school head and the main required activities of the leadership role.
The report also addresses characteristics and conditions of teachers and school leaders, including age, gender, working hours, salaries and mobility, as well as information about their daily working lives such as student teacher ratios, are also addressed.
Read the latest issue of the ETUCE Newsletter >>
New attack on Greek teachers: Not allowed to strike
The ETUCE is supporting OLME, its member organisation, in the struggle against the government’s civilian mobilisation order which prevents trade unions from exercising a right to strike action. During Easter, the Greek government adopted measures to lay off 10,000 substitute teachers, transfer teachers across the country, increase teaching hours, merge schools and increase the number of students in the classroom. ETUCE member organisations are invited to extend their support to teachers in Greece in this difficult time.
Peace education: an international meeting in Cyprus
On 17 - 18 May 2013 the ETUCE organised an international meeting in Cyprus on the topic of peace education. Up to 90 delegates attended the meeting in Famagusta with the participation of renowned speakers.
Among others, professor Volker Lenhart from the University of Heidelberg discussed examples of peace education in conflict areas while professor Joanne Hughes of Queen’s University in Belfast spoke on the benefits of shared value guidance in schools in divided societies. Teachers Without Borders, the global NGO, was represented by Stephanie Knox Cubbon who spoke about teacher training in peace education. Naghmeh Sobhani, a regional director from Education for Peace, the Canada-based organisation, explored peace-building through the role of civil society alliances.
A statement emerged from the meeting expressing solidarity with the organisations opposed to the Turkish occupation of the northern part of Cyprus. In this document, the delegates encouraged three ETUCE member organisations in this part of the island to “stand firm in their genuine and serious commitment against the occupation and political paternalism by the so-called ‘Northern authorities’”. The meeting called on all Cypriot teacher trade unions to engage in a sensitive and efficient dialogue “to make a valuable contribution to the future of the next generations.”