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2 March : European Equal Pay Day
On 14 September 2013 the members of our Polish Member Organisations - SKOiW “Solidarność”, KSN “Solidarność” and ZNP - took part in a multi-trade union demonstration in Warsaw initiated by NSZZ “Solidarność”, together with OPZZ and Forum. Around 200 000 people participated in the peaceful demonstration to protest against the recent changes in the Polish Labour Code imposed by the government, introducing flexible working hours and a 12 month period of working time settlement. This amendment, in principle, eliminates bonuses for overtime and allows employers to impose 12-13 hours’ work days, including weekends, which are then compensated by days off in the following months.
The Trade Unions are asking, among other demands, for a nationwide referendum on these amendments, the withdrawal of harmful changes to the Polish Labour Code, the elimination of pension arrangements available to workers employed under specific conditions, the adoption by the Sejm (the lower house of the Polish parliament) of laws restricting the use of so-called “junk- agreements”, the creation of a shielding system of financial regulation and tax breaks for companies maintaining employment during the period of involuntary production downtime.
As for demands regarding education specifically, the Trade Unions called on their government to stop closing schools, stop shifting public financing to local authorities and to ensure access to free education.
The main slogan of the protest was “Stop disregarding the society”.
Theft at broad daylight
With the statutory intervention that stopped the one-month-long lockout of Danish teachers, the Danish government removed about DKK 300 million annually from the previous collective agreement funding. The Confederation of Teachers Unions has repeatedly requested that the Danish government address this matter; however this has been ignored by the government. The Minister for Employment confirmed that the government had involved the employers in connection with the intervention. It is unheard of that the government only involves one of the parties.
The Danish government is gambling with the Danish bargaining model
The government’s actions during the collective bargaining negotiations in the education area undermine the Danish collective bargaining model. The Danish collective bargaining model is a unique opportunity for taking joint responsibility for the challenges we are facing. The Danish Union of Teachers is encouraging employees and employers to stand united to defend the Danish model.
We are fighting for the future of the school
In today’s competitive society focus has changed; today the main objective of schools and the entire educational system is to educate efficient labour. We need a broad public debate and conscious political choices about how we prepare the Danish public basic school to qualify pupils for the future labour market as well as to become citizens in a democratic society.
DLF Congress 10-12 September 2013
The 2013 DLF Congress adopts 4 resolutions
Democracy must be enhanced
In the wake of the financial crisis, an increasing number of political decisions are made on the basis of economic necessity. In reality, crucial political reforms are being decided by a few powerful politicians on the basis of civil service calculations, without prior open political debate and social dialogue. Consequently, the Danish Union of Teachers will continue to work actively on enhancing democratic principles in the political decision-making process.
UK: Regional strike action over pay and conditions
The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) and the National Union of Teachers (NUT), two of EI’s national affiliates, have announced dates for regional rolling strike action in England as a further step in the dispute over pay, pensions, working conditions and jobs.
Strike rallies and marches will take place on:
· 1 October in the Eastern, Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside Government regions
· 17 October in the North East Government region, Cumbria, London, South East and South West Government regions
“We commend our UK affiliates for their continuous struggle in favour of teachers in their country,” said Martin Rømer, Director of EI’s European region, the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE). “The national public authorities must understand that to ensure quality education is to invest in education, i.e. schools and professionals working in schools with and for students.”
To learn more about this campaign to protect teachers, please click here
ETUCE Central Eastern Europe Roundtable 2013
On 26-28 September 2013 the ETUCE Central Eastern Europe Roundtable took place in Baku, Azerbaijan. Member organisations from the broader region get together every two years to talk about topics of joint interest and concern which they suggest and agree upon in advance.
A great deal of interest was shown in a presentation on the social dialogue in Central and Eastern Europe which was given by Jurca Ovidiu, ILO Senior Specialist at the ILO Budapest Office. His presentation was perfectly completed by three additional country case examples. Colleagues from Russia, Romania and Latvia shared their very practical experiences on national trade union strategies to counteract the impact of the crisis and strengthen social dialogue in Central Eastern Europe.
The well-organized meeting was rounded off by a final thematic block on quality education. It was introduced by European Director Martin Rømer’s presentation on the EI initiative: Unite for Education. Participants discussed in separated working groups as well as in a plenary session the challenges and their possible contribution to guarantee quality education both in their countries but also at European level. Each issue stimulated in-depth discussion among the 65 participants from around 30 teacher unions in the region which finally led to the unanimous adoption of a joint declaration on the future commitment of the teacher unions in the CEE countries.
This year, the central issue was clearly again the impact of the economic crisis on education. For this occasion, ETUCE had prepared detailed presentations on the results from recent surveys analysing among others the consequences of the shortcuts in education on the teaching profession and on quality in education. Participants learned about recent developments in Europe, recommendations for action made for the regional, national and European level and alternative approaches to austerity measures.
New Eurydice reports - How much do teachers make? How much do students pay?
Two annually updated Eurydice reports, published on 4 October, will give you clear and simple answers to these questions in addition to providing you with a comparable, European-wide overview:
Both reports are available on the Eurydice website in English.
Click on the following link to subscribe to the EPNoSL newsletter >>>
Spain: 83% of education employees take part in general strike
The Spanish unions CCOO, FETE-UGT and STES-I stated that the general strike of the education employees, which took place on 24 October 2013 across Spain and was called for by the National Platform for Public School, was very successful. The strike involved all levels of education and 83% of education employees took part in it to raise their voice, demand that the government should respect the needs of the education sector, defend an education model which ensures equal opportunities – highly compromised by the continuous budgetary cuts that the sector is subject to–, and that education be considered as a top priority for all governments. The organisations which called for the strike commit to go on with the mobilisation as long as the government goes on with the austerity measures, claiming that quality education can only be reached through serious investments.
Latvian Teachers on Strike
The Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees (LIZDA) organised a warning piquet at the National Parliament (Saeima) building in Riga on Thursday, October 24th and appealed the Parliamentary deputies to support the demands of teachers, university personnel and researchers to increase the educational and research budget for 2014 and the following years.
The government has not planned any funding increase for the higher education and research. Taking into account that during the crises the higher education funding has decreased for 55% and research funding – for 67%, the lack of funding is going to deteriorate the sector. Taking into account that existing legislation has determined the increasing public funding for education and research, the government turns clear back to the legislation adopted by the Parliament decisions and national legislation. Besides, the government has turned also a clear back to the Recommendations of the European Commission (2012) and the World Bank (2011) concerning the development of education and research sphere in Latvia.
LIZDA President Ingrīda Mikiško emphasised: „In order to survive, the education and research employees have to overwork, they work more than one workload, and that creates extra burden on education workers’ health, and in long term might have negative impact to the quality of education.
Read the ETUCE Support letter >>>
Around 2 000 education and science employees with their whistles have “whistled out” the governmental budget proposal to increase the minimum teacher salary from 280 LVL (398 EUR) to 295 LVL (420 EUR) because this proposal does not correspond with the qualification demands to teachers that are increasingly high. In comparison with the increasing minimum salary to 225 LVL (320 EUR), the teacher salary does not correspond to the demands towards work and stressful working conditions and is in contradiction with the quality of teaching and decent work in education.
UK: Strikes at universities
UK universities will be hit with the most widespread disruption for years on Thursday as members of UCU (ETUCE Member Organisation), UNISON and Unite take their first coordinated strike action in a row over pay.
UK universities will be hit with the most widespread disruption for years on Thursday as members of UCU (ETUCE Member Organisation), UNISON and Unite take their first coordinated strike action in a row over pay.
The unions said they were disappointed the employers had refused talks to try and divert Thursday's walkout, but said they are still prepared to meet for eleventh hour talks. However, they also admitted they were not optimistic this would be achieved as the employers had so far refused to talk.
Staff will be on picket lines in towns and cities across the UK from early on Thursday morning, with many then making their way to local rallies in their area. All three unions said they expected there to be widespread support for the action.
Classes will be cancelled as staff walk out in protest. Staff have faced a real-terms pay cut of 13% since 2008 which is one of the most sustained suppressions of pay since the Second World War.
UCU head of higher education, Michael MacNeil, said: 'There is widespread anger over the pay cuts staff have had to endure in recent years and all the reports we are getting is that Thursday's strike will be very well supported. We are amazed the employers are still refusing to sit down with us to try and resolve this without any need for disruption. There are precious few hours left now, but our offer of talks remains open.'
The last time there was strike action in universities over pay was in 2006 when members of the University and College Union walked out. This time their colleagues in Unite and Unison are also on strike.
Click here to access the UCU website for more details >>> ALMA-MATER organised together with two other ETUCE Member Organisations in Romania, FSLE and FSI Spiru Haret, a roundtable with students and parents’ organisations to discuss quality education. At this occasion the 10 key messages adopted by the ETUCE Committee on 24 October 2013 on ‘What is needed to improve the Quality of Education in Europe?’ were communicated to the Romanian minister of education, the representative of the prime-minister of Romania and the press.
Teachers Unions in Romania mobilise for quality Education
On Wednesday, 6th November 2013, more than 10,000 Romanian teachers affiliated with FSLE (ETUCE MO) marched through Bucharest to demand better wages and working conditions and an end to political interference in education. Teachers whistled, held banners and yelled: “Solidarity!”, “Without education, any nation would die!”.
During the protest in front of Government, a delegation of FSLI handed to the Government an appeal signed by the 10,000 teachers present in front of the building. The Romanian teachers’ appeal demands an allocation of more than 6% of GDP for education in 2014, the amendment of the national education law, including the part regarding the Status of Teachers and, among other claims, an early retirement for teachers – at least three years before reaching retirement age – without reducing the amount of the pension .
The Romanian teachers had various demands. First of all, they called upon the Romanian government to increase spending on education. FSLE is also calling for head teachers and principals to be appointed on merit and not on political criteria. As far as the wages are concerned, teachers complain that beginning teachers have a monthly salary that is inferior to half Romania’s average national salary which leads many teachers to give private lessons to supplement their income.
Simon Hancescu, President of the FREE TRADE UNION FEDERATION IN EDUCATION (FSLE) said that if, after this protest, the Government would not try to find solutions, all federation members will participate in a referendum to determine if they want to organize a general strike in education and when it would take place. "There are two options proposed by our colleagues: a general strike ahead of European Parliament elections or a general strike at the end of the school year in June, so as to block the school year." declared President Hancescu.
Romania: Thousands of teachers marching through Bucharest for better wages
Gender Equality project: Call for tenders
We are happy to announce that the European Commission has granted ETUCE with the funding for project on promoting gender equality within teacher trade unions and in the teaching profession II – Implementing and reinforcing teacher trade union actions on gender equality in times of austerity.
In view of the implementation of this initiative, ETUCE is launching a call for tenders for the expert work to be carried out in the framework of this project.
Replies have to be presented by 29 November 2013 the latest to ETUCE.
ETUCE FINAL Conference on the Teaching Profession, Berlin
The Final conference of the ETUCE project: “The development of the teaching profession in times of the economic crisis as a key task for social partners in education. Finding joint strategies to tighten the links between education and the labour market.” was successfully held in Berlin on 13-14 November 2013.
The high participation of conference attendees was remarkable. Moreover, many participants enriched the event with constructive and knowledgeable contributions which can be used in ETUCE’s and its member organisations’ further work to strengthen and empower the teaching profession in these difficult times. The participants of the conference were engaged and supportive which made the conference a good platform for a broader discussion on the findings that the project report has highlighted and made it possible to find common recommendations.
The outcomes of the final conference are priorities and recommendations for further action at the regional, national and European level. The core areas to take action in should concern a general promotion of the image of the profession in society and the media, on remuneration of teachers and on better continuous professional development in the teaching profession. These recommendations reflect that the attractiveness of the teaching profession has worsened during the years of the economic crisis and that time has come to encourage development and improvement in different areas to consequently also ensure the quality of education. The role for EU social partners in education should be to contribute to this work by disseminating best practices and elaborating new recommendations at European level.
The recommendations which ETUCE will distribute to member organisations addresses to social partners as well as national and European employment policy makers and emphasizes the necessity to invest more into education in order to reach the EU 2020 core targets both in education and employment.
Vacancy in the ETUCE secretariat
The ETUCE wishes to recruit a programme assistant for a full time position on a one year fixed-term contract starting in January 2014 at the latest. The position is available in the secretariat based in Brussels. Candidates should submit a letter of application, accompanied by a CV, indicating how their relevant qualifications, professional experience and personal competences meet the criteria for the post. Such applications should be sent by 8 December 2013 at the latest.
ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN is the largest global conference on technology supported learning and training for the corporate, education and public service sectors. Now in its 19th year, the conference will bring together over 400 speakers and more than 2000 participants from over 100 countries. In this environment which promotes international networking for all sectors ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN is the event for learning professionals to discover innovative solutions, absorb new thinking and bring home ideas in order to take action, implementing change in the field of technology and learning.
The use of technologies in formal education places specific demands on institutions and educators. With organisations increasingly influenced by cost, performance and society 3.0’s demands, how do educators approach the task of developing a diverse array of relevant learning tools? How can we change if the current system of learning cannot handle the challenges learners face? Which pedagogical methods are used and replaced, and how are institutions and learning providers themselves changing and learning as they redefine service delivery and focus on the new skillsets required for students?
Susan Flocken, the ETUCE Coordinator responsible for Internal Policy Coordination, Occupational Health & Safety has been invited by the organisers to present our ongoing project on ICT and Early School Leaving: Teacher Unions preventing early school leaving through the use of ICT in education. Follow the link to find out more on our project>>>
The Higher Education and Research Standing Committee met on 21-22 November 2013.
Many important issues were discussed during the meeting in Brussels, including the role of higher education in the Unite for Education campaign and the newly initiated high-level dialogue with the European social partners in education. The possible negative impact of the trade agreements between the EU and other parts of the world on public education was also discussed. The members were encouraged to include priorities on higher education and research in the national negotiations on the next year’s Country Specific Recommendations of the European Semester.
The two HERSC working groups on Early Stage Researchers and on Quality Assurance continued the work with respective draft policy papers. Both draft policy papers will be presented at the next HERSC meeting on 6-7 March, 2014 for adoption.
Financial Transaction Tax
During the last years, ETUCE has regularly informed member organisations about the activities of the coalition Europeans for Financial Reform (EFFR). The EFFR has been campaigning tirelessly for the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) in Europe. In the meantime, 11 EU-Member States have agreed to implement the FTT following a proposal from the European Commission. At the same time, the financial lobby makes every possible effort to delay the introduction of the FTT. Now, the EFFR mobilises its supporters to remind the governments of these 11 countries of their good intentions rather than to bow under the pressure of the lobby groups.
ETUCE is one of the early supporters to the EFFR. This is why ETUCE draws its member organisations’ attention again and again to this important campaign. It also recommends the EFFR’s new website for more information on this initiative and for news on possible actions that can be made at a national and European level. The new website will hopefully make work even more effective and improve the quality of the campaign. It will help the EFFR to enhance its outreach to European citizens. It will enable the EFFR to set up online actions such as petitions addressed to European leaders and finance ministers who have pledged to make the FTT a reality in Europe.
The campaign website was launched only recently and can be obtained via the link below: http://www.financialtransactiontax.eu/. It is fully available in English, German, Spanish, French and Italian. Users are invited to send their statements to all the heads of state or government and the finance ministers of those 11 countries who agreed to implement the FTT within the enhanced cooperation procedure. Additionally, they can also upload pictures or post personal comments on this webpage.
On the website, the EFFR presents its new web-petition that is being forwarded to the responsible politicians in mentioned 11 EU member states and in the EU institutions. ETUCE asks its member organisations to support this e-action and to continue promoting the campaign through their organisational structures.
The secratariat will be closed between
20/12/2013 and 5/01/2014
Longstanding legal battle in Georgia ends with success for ESFTUG
During the last three years, the ETUCE has regularly reported about the somewhat bizarre dispute over the legitimacy of the results made at the Educators and Scientists Free Trade Union of Georgia’s (ESFTUG) Extraordinary Congress in 2010. Then, Maia Kobakhidze was elected as ESFTUG President. She was immediately challenged again by ESFTUG’s former government controlled group who questioned the lawfulness of the election results and filed a law suit. The Congress was attended by an EI special delegation and by other international guests.
By its decision on 26 November 2013, the court had finally completed the proceedings and acknowledged the legitimacy of the Congress election result. The decision has hopefully also brought the exhausting struggle to an end which ESFTUG had to go through to save this teacher trade union from disintegration and from its final collapse. Despite all the difficulties ESFTUG has managed to even strengthen its organisation and to recruit new members. The next Congress is planned for the coming year.