European Trade Union Committee for Education
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The ETUCE is a European Trade Union Federation within the European Trade Union Confederation
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On 11 March an urgent appeal was sent to all member organisations to help assist STESU re-locate its offices and re-establish communication with its regional and local branches. The purpose of the assistance requested is not only to demonstrate international solidarity, but also to enable the organisation to forge unity among its members, which include half a million ethnic Russians, and help prevent the Eastern part of Ukraine from being annexed by Russia. Such a scenario would further destabilize the political situation in Eastern Europe and be a direct threat to peace in the region and, perhaps, globally.
On 4-5 March during a visit of EI/ETUCE representative Kounka Damianova to Kiev, the Trade Union of Education and Science Workers of Ukraine (STESU) made an urgent request that Education International send an international delegation to Kiev. The union is of the view that the democratic change in their country, which it fully supports, can only be achieved with the assistance of the international community. In the weeks prior to the ousting of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, protesters occupied the STESU offices (part of the offices of the labour confederation (FPU), located at Maidan Square in Kiev. The building was gutted by fire after becoming a target of Mr. Yanukovych’s police forces. The STESU, representing some 2,000,000 members in all parts of the country, is no longer able to function. Immediately following Kounka Damianova’s visit EI established a solidarity fund to help the Ukrainian education unions.
Iceland: Strike over better conditions for teachers
Following on the failure of negotiations on a new collective agreement for secondary school teachers, EI’s national affiliate, the Kennarasamband Islands (KI), called on its members, upper secondary teachers employed by the state, to go on strike on 17 March.
KI organises upper secondary schools, including vocational education teachers, employed by the state at the national level, as well as early childhood and primary school teachers covered by separate collective agreements and employed at a different level.
The previous agreement for secondary school teachers expired on 31 January 2014 and, after 30
bargaining meetings which started on 22 November 2013 without reaching an agreement, the strike was called for and started on the morning of 17 March.
This strike aims to improve secondary teachers’ salaries. According to KI, teachers now earn an average of 17 per cent less than other groups of university educated workers in the state public sector.
KI underlined that the collective agreement is not only about improving teachers’ wages, but also enhancing education and school environments for the good of society. In order for generations who will inherit the country to receive the education they are entitled to, teachers must have fair and just wages and safe working environments, the unions added.
Read more on EI’s website >>>
Most important, the brochure contains the Draft Practical Guidelines on How to Prevent ESL through ICT in Education. The brochure and poster are available in 10 languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Greek, Slovak, Portuguese and Russian.
Member organisations and stakeholders in education are invited to use these materials and disseminate them amongst their affiliates.
In the ICT&ESL project, four countries were visited by an ETUCE advisory group for case studies. The aim was to gather experiences on how to use ICT in education to prevent early school leaving. Teachers, students, school management and educational staff were interviewed in schools and teacher training institutions in Denmark, The Netherlands, Portugal, and Azerbaijan. The results were gathered and analysed in a research report. During a workshop and a final conference, practical guidelines on how to prevent ESL through ICT in education were developed and discussed. The guidelines will be presented to the ETUCE committee on 14 -15 April for approval.
The results of the ETUCE project Teacher Unions Preventing Early School Leaving through the Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Education were disseminated last week. ETUCE member organisations will receive brochures and CD-ROMs to disseminate the project results among their members and affiliates.
The CD-ROMs include the case study reports in five languages, the project dissemination postcards in 26 languages, the workshop and closing conference reports in English and French as well as the speakers’ presentations from these events and the final project brochure (including a poster).
ICT Project Results Published
Advisory Panel meeting: It is necessary to support the Ukrainian teachers in needs
On 17 March 2014, the Advisory Panel members met in Brussels, representing education experts of teacher’s trade unions from 9 countries. The current situation in Ukraine was discussed. Martin Rømer, European director reported about the special EI/ETUCE delegation in Ukraine of 12-13 March, which discussed with the political and education authorities in the country about the situation of the teachers in general and about the teacher’s trade unions in Ukraine in the light of the conflict in Crimea.
The Advisory Panel also discussed about the High-level proposal of Social Partners to the European Commission on strengthening the role of social partners in education and training policy. The OECD PIAAC results and the activities of the new European Commission’s Thematic Working Groups were presented.
The Public consultation on the investment provisions of a future EU-US trade deal, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) was reported to the members. The Advisory Panel approved the joint ETUC-ETUCE position on the public consultation on European Area of Skills and Qualifications.
Concerning the ongoing United for Quality Education campaign, the members agreed that it is necessary to improve quality teaching by national actions. Social dialogue should be ensured in the process.
The next Advisory Panel meeting will take place in Brussels in October 2014.
The campaign’s key aim is to help employers’ and workers’ representatives, managers and workers to identify and manage stress and psychosocial risks in the workplace. It further seeks to send out the signal that effective management of stress and psychosocial risks is possible.
ETUCE will engage in the campaign as a partner building on the knowledge gathered in a number of projects on work-related stress in the education sector. ETUCE’s engagement with the issue of stress and psychosocial risks at work has led to a number of publications including a policy paper on work-related stress, an Action Plan, and an Implementation Guide for the European Framework Agreement on work-related stress. All publications can be found on the ETUCE teachers’ health and safety website.
All materials concerning the on-going EU OSHA campaign, among those the campaign guide and leaflet, can be downloaded from the campaign website: http://www.healthy-workplaces.eu/.
An EU-wide campaign on ‘Managing stress and psychosocial risks at work’ is going to be launched on 7 April 2014 by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA). The campaign focuses on stress and psychosocial risks at the workplace and seeks to provide support and guidance for workers and employers to recognise and tackle effectively work-related stress. ETUCE will engage in the campaign as a campaign partner.This 2014-2015 campaign is part of EU OSHA’s campaign series Healthy Workplaces. It takes up the issue of stress as the second most frequently reported work-related health problem in Europe which is believed to be the cause of more than half of all lost working days.
Campaign on managing stress and psychosocial risks at work
New film from the Council of Europe
The Council of Europe has just made an new film explaining its work, promoting and defending human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
The film is available in the following six languages:
A serious harm to education workers’ rights is taking place in Greece. Alongside the dismissal of permanent teachers and other public servants, OLME has been denouncing the threat to teachers and students and to the whole educational system caused by the harsh saving measures in the public sector agreed with the Troika of international leaders. Prompted by the implementation of such measures, the access to public education for all Greek students is under severe attack.
The 8-month suspension of many specialties in Vocational Education is having an unprecedented impact on the precariousness of jobs of 1.800 teachers under suspension, on the 200 teachers undergoing dismissals, and on more than a 10.000 students - 1/3 of all the students enrolled in Vocational Education - prevented from the completion of their school career granted by the State. Unacceptably, these measures are leading Greek families, already suffering from the highest unemployment rates of Europe and from the severe cuts to basic social services, to turn to private education facilities or to force students to leave education.
A week of mobilizations and social unrest has been depicted in Athens, Thessaloniki and other Greek towns upheaving against the dismissals of 200 education workers announced by the Government for the 22 March. Demonstrations and strikes called by the EI/ETUCE affiliate OLME (the Greek Federation of Secondary State School Teachers) took place during the week 17-21 March with high peaks of struggle during the last two days leading to the dreaded date of the 22 March. On that day, neglecting the impact on Greek educational system as well as on society, the Greek Government has taken a first step leading to this unparalleled layoff, by announcing the dismissal of around 200 teachers under temporary suspension.
22 March, black Saturday for Greek teachers and students: Education is not for sale
The demonstration started outside the International Trade Union House, passed by the Schuman square in the area of the EU institutions and culminated close to the Parc du Cinquantenaire where several European trade union leaders addressed the demonstrating people. More information can be found on ETUC’s website at http://www.etuc.org/news . ETUC has also published a special edition of their newsletter on "A New Path For Europe" http://us6.campaign-archive2.com/?u=432f45140d9f6f58d0cb10aa1&id=a75277da86.
50.000 people from 21 European countries took to the streets of Brussels to participate in the large European trade union demonstration organised by ETUC on 4th April 2014 in Brussels. Trade unions from many different sectors and from all over Europe raised their voice against further austerity measures and for investment, quality jobs and equality.
ETUCE joined the rally with its own strong delegation including colleagues from the ETUCE and EI secretariats and several national member organisations. The group marched side by side holding up their key messages to protect and to promote public education in times of rigid budgetary austerity. More ETUCE member organisations came to Brussels following their national confederations to support the manifestation.
Euro Demonstration: 50.000 people demanded new directions for Europe
Icelandic social partners in education end labour dispute with successful result
On 4 April 2014, a new agreement ended the recent conflict between the Icelandic ETUCE/EI member organisation Kennarasamband Islands (KI) and the Icelandic government. In the background of the dispute which lasted for three weeks and culminated in several days of strike of the upper secondary teachers, there was the unions’ demand for a salary increase. Additionally, KI required further financial increases for the adaption to new procedures in work evaluation and to facilitate necessary adjustments in connection with a new high school law which will enter into force in 2015.
Last week, the increasing pressure exerted through demonstrations and walkout showed effects and brought the social partners back to the negotiating table. Now, the successfully concluded agreement covers the demands which were made. However, the additional financial means for the new procedures in higher education will depend on the outcome of a vote in early 2015. If KI’s members will then refuse parts of the agreement connected to the new procedures, the current agreement will expire with immediate effect.
According to the new agreement teachers’ work evaluation will include more areas such as the number and the workload of students and pupils, their background and combination in a group, teaching and learning methods, preparation and teaching hours, paper work, setting of assignments, examination, marking, feedback, competence level, and possibly more aspects.
The agreement is supplemented by statements of the Minister of Education and Culture and the Minister of Finance and Economy reaffirming their commitment. KI is satisfied with this result which also coincided with the end of KI’s congress.
The European Commission has declared that the public consultation is not a referendum on ISDS. Instead, the consultation is aimed at convincing critics that it is necessary to include ISDS in the TTIP by suggesting some modifications to the model. Subsequently, the European Commission announced on 1 April 2014 that it is planning to fund a new international transparency database for ISDS. The European Commission thereby made the case that such a database will increase transparency and accessibility to the public as part of the new UN transparency rules on ISDS.
Criticisms are not only coming from trade unions and civil society, but also from the member states. Both France and Germany have called for dropping the ISDS mechanism pointing out that there is no need for such a mechanism between the EU and US as national courts provide sufficient legal protection. ISDS provisions are controversial as they enable foreign investors to directly sue states before arbitration panels. As a result, foreign investors are given legal rights to challenge any regulatory or policy measure of the host-state it feels violates its rights to access a market. It will likely result in a policy chill because of the extraordinary cost of defending ISDS cases. Previous ISDS cases raise serious concerns both about the ability of states to maintain domestic regulatory space, but also about the accountability of foreign investors for damage caused by investment operations.
On 27 March 2014, the European Commission finally launched its public consultation on investment protection and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). The deadline for submission will be three months following the date when the consultation is available in all official EU languages. The deadline will be indicated on the consultation webpage when available in all EU languages. The consultation is accompanied by a consultation notice, consultation document and privacy statement. ETUCE is welcoming the public consultation and will encourage all member organisations to contribute to the consultation. ETUCE will prepare a guideline for the public consultation in due time before the deadline.
The European Commission declares that public consultation is not a referendum
The European Institute for Gender Equality meets Trade Union Representatives - Members of the ETUCE Equality Working Group share their experience with the institute
The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) invited trade union representatives for a cross-sectoral meeting on its premises in Vilnius on 25 March 2014. Among the ETUCE delegation were three members of the ETUCE Equality Working Group: Kounka Damianova, Chair of the Standing Committee for Equality, SEB, Bulgaria, Joan Donegan, IFUT, Ireland and Amaya Martínez de Viergol Lanzagorta, FECCOO, Spain.
The meeting provided both EIGE and the trade unions the opportunity to present their work on mainstreaming gender equality in employment and to exchange good practices with the aim to enhance the cooperation between EIGE and social partners in Europe.
showcased to EIGE how much work trade unions are able to carry out on gender equality in particular as regards collective bargaining. Building on the challenges that European governments face in gender mainstreaming and the lack of implementation at national level, and the EIGE’s Gender Equality Index, the participants discussed different strategies and actions on tackling gender stereotypes, notably ETUCE’s and its member organisations’ work in in this field. The meeting also allowed the union representatives to exchange good practices in the area of women’s entrepreneurship and to debate on Women and the Economy.
The success of this meeting has encouraged EIGE to envisage further meetings with the social partners and ETUC member organisations for 2014 and after, in connection with the priorities of each EU Presidency.
and inclusive growth is working towards policy coherence between the economic and social objectives of the Union. This is something ETUCE welcomes, but has been calling for in a long time by supporting the ETUC campaign “A new path for Europe” and its plan for investment, sustainable growth and quality jobs.
The survey data (from 2012) indicate: that poverty has increased and that nearly 25% of the European population was at risk of poverty or social exclusion; that since 2010 there are 6,7 million more people who live in poverty or social exclusion (an increase in more than 1/3 of the European Member States); that income inequality is growing across and within Member States, particularly in the countries that witnessed the largest increases in unemployment. The data from the report are worrying, but it supports the message that ETUC and its members have been spreading on the need of more social investment for a more sustainable recovery from the crisis. ETUCE participated in the ETUC Euro-demonstration on 4 April 2014, where unions from all over Europe demanded a new and more social direction for Europe. The report highlights this, too, as an important step toward a more sustainable recovery for Europe.
The full version of the report can be found under the following link:
The Social Protection Committee released the 2013 annual report on the social situation in the European Union named ''Social Europe – many ways, one objective" on 19 March 2014. The report stresses that the social situation in the European Union is not improving while in some countries the situation is even worsening. This clearly shows that the European Union is still not on the right path to a sustainable recovery and that its leaders have failed to protect the European citizens from downturns in the living conditions in ways such as increased poverty, social exclusion and inequality. The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) adopted the conclusions at its meeting on 10 March 2014, stressing the fact that the key factor for achieving the Europe 2020 objectives for smart, sustainable
New report underlines the fact that Europe is still suffering from the crisis
Social workers are more likely to come to work while sick than the average worker in EU28, a recent Eurofound report shows. The report compares working conditions for social workers in kindergartens, schools, youth services, and social care with the EU28 as a whole.
The report presents a mixed picture for the small but steadily growing sector in the European Union. While the social work sector shows some gains in terms of preventing wage cuts during the crisis, a high level of skills and training of workers, and women in management positions, it underachieves in terms of offering less indefinite contracts, fewer full-time positions, and poor health of employees.
As 83% of workers in social work are women, the sector is clearly female-dominated. This is also reflected in leadership positions, as the sector has more female bosses than the EU 28 average. 74% of women and 51% of men report having a female boss, compared to 47% of women and only 12 % of men in EU 28.
The health of social workers has two strands: On the one hand, social workers tend to be less absent from work because of work accidents and report more often that they will be able to do the job at age 60. On the other hand, however, they report more often of poor health and that they work even when they are sick. If these insights are two sides of the same coin or entirely unrelated findings, the report leaves open.
With regard to employee representation at the workplace, the social sector follows the EU28 pattern according to which the probability to have worker representation increases with the number of employees. In comparison to EU28, however, the social sector presents a relatively high presence of worker representation also in the smallest workplaces with less than 10 employees (40%). This means that social workers in small workplaces are almost double as likely to have employee representation as the EU28 average.
The report gives an overview of working conditions, job quality, workers’ health and job sustainability in the social work sector. The sector contains all social work activities, such as child day-care, social work in schools, child and youth services, care for the elderly and the disabled, and all other social work activities that do not involve accommodation. It is based mostly on the fifth European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS), which gathers data on working conditions and the quality of work across 34 European countries.
Social workers more likely to work while sick
Portugal: Trade Unions’ role in defining and delivering Quality of Education, FNE-CEDEFOP Study-visit on What role for social dialogue?
EI/ETUCE affiliate from Portugal - FNE (Federação Nacional dos Sindicatos da Educação) in cooperation with CEDEFOP (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training) organised a study-visit in Porto (PT) between 24 and 28 March 2014, as part of the EI/ETUCE Campaign Unite for Quality Education.
15 Education specialists from 13 countries in Europe gathered to discuss the topic of “Social dialogue in the definition and implementation of knowledge, skills and competences”. During the 4 days, participants were given the opportunity to visit companies, colleges, centres of research and schools with the aim of understanding the Portuguese reality and share their visions regarding social dialogue in Europe and at national level.
Portugal experienced a national financial collapse in 2011, being the third Euro-zone country to receive a bail-out. In July and August 2011, the new Portuguese Government announced cuts on State spending and increase of austerity measures. According to FNE, the cuts seriously affected the functioning of schools, the quality of education and the social support to students and their respective families.
The aim of this action organised by FNE and CEDEFOP was to promote the culture of peer learning, observation, and mutual learning based on the sharing of experiences, in order to encourage discussion about education and how to develop quality approaches and transparency of education and training systems. Read FNE 's entire report
Teaching Profession Now and in Future - Passing on Cultural Values
The Spring ETUCE Committee 2014
On 14-15 April 2014, the ETUCE Committee convened to debate on the major challenges and issues currently at stake in the education sector in Europe. Bringing the future priorities for teacher unions in Europe into focus, the Committee members decided that the ETUCE Special conference on 25-26 November 2014 in Vienna will have the theme “The Future of the Teaching Profession”.
Against this background, the presentation by Ricardo Ferreira from DG Education and Culture on the European Commission’s Opening Up Education communication, which seeks to prize open education resources for innovative teaching approaches, triggered a passionate discussion in favour of quality education, teacher training and working conditions. This cumulated into clear support for the ETUCE statement regarding the EU-US Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations and a call of actions to national teacher unions to request that education be excluded from this transatlantic agreement.
Mr. Christian Welz from EUROFOUND (see picture above) gave a shocking insight into the change caused by the crisis and the EU’s Economic Governance Regime on Wage Setting Mechanisms. In the wake, the committee members endorsed the various actions organised in the frame of the EI/ETUCE campaign “Unite for Education – Better Quality Education for a better world”, e.g. the pledge request towards candidates running for the European Parliament elections.
With regards to actions of solidarity, the ETUCE Committee decided to financially support its Ukrainian member organisation STESU. More details on this decision are to follow.
The Committee also adopted the recommendations on the promotion of healthy and safe working conditions in education in times of the economic crisis and the guidelines on how to prevent early school leaving through the use of ICT in education.
Resulting from the Status of Women Committee, the ETUCE Committee welcomed the organisation of three side-workshops on higher education, equal opportunities and the crisis impact on education, accompanied by an exhibition on teacher unions’ actions in the frame of the Unite for Quality Education campaign. In particular, the ETUCE Committee congratulated the chair of the Status of Women Committee, Gitta Franke-Zöllmer, for her order of merit, the Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse, which was bestowed upon her by the Federal Republic of Germany for her committed work on gender equality in education.
In the frame of the seminar, the participants visited two VET schools. The first school, HLA Baden, focused on the hotel and tourism sector. The second school, lbs Neunkirchen, is orientated towards the metal sector and industry. This visit was very illustrative and provided an insight into the Austrian VET system. The seminar participants had the opportunity to talk to the students and teachers to learn more about their experiences and concerns.
Both visits were very impressive and showed how important it is to provide a positive environment betweenteachers and pupils, wll- established contact between schools and industries, and teacher training. The participants also emphasised that the visits evoked new ideas to implement in their countries.
On 7 - 9 April 2014, 25 vocational education and training (VET) experts of ETUCE member organisations from 17 countries met in Vienna for a ETUCE - ETUI training seminar on The role of the teachers’ trade unions in quality assurance in all forms of Vocational Education and Training.
The seminar focused on the Austrian dual system in vocational education and training which is recognised as one of the most succcessful VET systems in Europe as it contributes to a high youth employment rate. The participants discussed the importance of linking VET programmes to the labour market with a view to decrease unemployment rates in Europe, especially in times of crisis.
Successful: Learning more about the dual VET system in Austria
Teaching Profession Now and in Future - Passing on Cultural Values
KeyCoNet, the European schoolnet’s key competences network, invites teacher, head teachers, parents, students and other education stakeholders to participate in an online public consultation on 21st century skills and competence-based teaching and learning in schools.
The survey exmines which school strategies are used to adopt a competence-based approach, and which obstacles schools encounter. In addition, it looks at which teaching and learning methods students most appreciate engaging in when they develop their competences, and how they are assessed.
KeyCoNet’s public consultation is online until 16 June 2014 and available in 12 EU languages. The public feedback will complement the expert analysis which is being carried out in parallel, and will be used to further improve and qualify the network’s recommendations for policy and practice. These reommendations are due to be published in October 2014, and to be presented at the KeyCoNet’s final conference in Greece.
Portugal experienced a national financial collapse in 2011, and was the third Euro-zone country to receive a bail-out. In July and August 2011, the new Portuguese government announced cuts on state spending and an increase of austerity measures. According to FNE, the cuts seriously affected the functioning schools, the quality of education and the social support to students and their respective families.
The aim of this action organised by FNE and CEDEFOP was to promote the culture of peer learning, observation, and mutual learning based on the sharing of experiences. Moreover the study visit sought to encourage a discussion about education and how to develop quality approaches, transparency of education and training systems.
ETUCE affiliates from Portugal - FNE (Federação Nacional da Educação) in cooperation with CEDEFOP (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Education and Training) organised a study-visit in Porto (PT) from 24 to 28 March 2014, as part of the EI/ETUCE Campaign Unite for Quality Education.
15 education experts from 13 European countries gathered to discuss the topic of “Social dialogue in the definition and implementation of knowledge, skills and competences”. During the four days, participants had the opportunity to visit companies, colleges, research centres and schools with the aim to learn about the Portuguese experience and share their visions regarding social dialogue and at national level.
Portugal: Trade unions’ role in defining and delivering quality education, FNE-CEDEFOP study-visit on the role of social dialogue
ETUC Women’s Committee, 10-11 April 2014
The women delegates from the national trade union confederations and European trade union federations discussed amongst other topics, the ETUC campaign towards the elections of the European Parliament and the new ETUC Resolution on gender equality. The latter is to be presented for adoption to the ETUC Executive Committee in June this year.
With a clear majority, the delegates elected Mrs Rosanna Ruscito from FIT CISL, Italy, for the post of substitute to the ETUC Women’s Committee Presidium.
ETUCE affiliates will have the opportunity to meet her personally at the upcoming ETUCE seminar on promoting gender equality in teacher unions in Utrecht on 7 May 2014 where Rosanna will be giving a presentation.
Analysing this year’s results of the annual ETUC 8 March survey, it is evident that a change regarding gender equality in trade unions is badly needed, with the female trade union affiliation rising disproportionally to the male affiliation and women remaining underrepresented at leadership level (number of women in trade unions: 19.350,285). The participants welcomed the outcome of the qualitative part of the survey, which showed that trade unions in Europe had focused on trade union action concerning violence against women. It showed an overall positive picture of trade unions engaging in this topic, covering both prevention of workplace and domestic incidents of violent acts against women.
Underlining this result, the presentations from Jane Pillinger, ETUC study on Bargaining for Equal Pay, Christine Jakob, EPSU study on the public services, and Juan Luis Barbolla Casas, European Commission, confirmed the picture of women being disproportionately represented in leadership and paid affecting other areas of life such as well-being, family and healthy ageing.
Manifold workshops provided opportunities to collaborate on practices that have improved equality for women and men in teacher unions, and to underline the importance of gender equality in education.
Treating participants to an intermezzo of folk music by Irish students in the decorative Dublin town hall on the second day, the conference culminated in high spirits with the participants jointly raising their voices in singing at the close of the conference.
Read more on the Conference website>>>
400 participants convened in Dublin on 7 – 9 April 2014 for (e)quality education. Following the conference motto, from words to action, female leaders in education and teacher unions from around the world gathered to tackle some of the biggest challenges for gender equality in education.
The conference successfully highlighted the impact that quality education for girls and women not only makes on improving the lives of individual students, but on how it strengthens families, communities and society as a whole.
Irish teacher unions host Education International’s second World Women’s Conference