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Stressless Project 4th Meeting, September 2012 : "Improving Educators resilience to stress"    Find more info on EDU-OSH >>>

2 March : European Equal Pay Day
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Urgent Action appeal for Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina
EI called upon all their affiliates to support our Member Organisations in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina hit by the most disastrous flood since 120 years in the region.
EI and ETUCE wish to express their full solidarity with colleagues in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina and urge member organisations from Europe and from around the world to join the relief efforts and make donations to the Solidarity Fund.

Read the Action appeal letter >>>
Equality Recommendations Proposed
The ETUCE Standing Committee for Equality proposed a set of recommendations in its last meeting on 2-3 June 2014. The recommendations shall be presented for adoption to the ETUCE Committee in October 2014.
Recommended actions aim to identify and strengthen competences teachers and other education staff need for addressing diversity issues, to include migrants in education, and to support education staff dealing with disability and special needs education. A wide range of equality issues were addressed in the committee meeting.

While gender equality remains on top of the agenda, current developments in Europe call for teacher unions to discuss teaching competences framed by a broader understanding of equality.
In many countries, society is growing more diverse in status and income. The European elections made the rise of right-wing political parties and extremist groups visible. In his opening address, ETUCE European Director Martin Rømer stressed the responsibility of teachers to fight for a democratic development in Europe and to give access to free and public education for all.
Under the heading “Mainstreaming Diversity and Tackling Inequalities”, three guest speakers provided valuable input which fostered the discussion in three working groups. Dan Taubmann, ETUCE representative to several OMC working groups and senior national officer at the University and College Union (UK), highlighted knowledge, skills, values, understanding and attitude teachers need to address diversity in their work. These competences should be included in initial teacher training and in professional development and managerial and team support. Rubina Boasman, independent consultant on social performance/global development management (The Netherlands), called on teachers to realise the key position they play. Creating equity involves a change in consciousness and goes beyond the curriculum. Education can enhance children to a better future, so failures ultimately result in missed opportunities in society. Teachers need to reconnect to their original role which is preparing someone for the next step in society. Francisca L. Castro, Regional Committee Member from the EI Asian-Pacific Region, spoke of the need of unions to be sensitive to their communities’ equality problems. Teachers must ask themselves for whom they teach. In the Asia-Pacific Regions, inequality is connected to the cultural diversity in the region. More boys than girls attend school, and poverty and a lack of infrastructure force one third of children to work instead of attending school. Education plays an important role in addressing these issues and teacher unions should tackle these challenges.

Teacher trade unions in Europe and the United States call on President Obama and President of the European Commission Barroso to safeguard quality education in TTIP
A common letter by Education International, ETUCE, AFT and NEA calls on US President Obama and President of the European Commission Barroso to safeguard quality education in TTIP.
The letter raises the common concerns that the inclusion of “private” adult learning and “other education services” into the scope of the TTIP agreement poses potentially serious risks for educational policy, for public schools and other educational institutions, and for teachers, students and communities in both the EU and the US.

Furthermore, the common message stresses that countries need to maintain the authority to appropriately provide for public goods like education and consequently the teachers unions are greatly concerned that the inclusion of education services in the TTIP negotiations will undermine the democratic decision making.

The European Director, Martin Romer who has been heavily involved in getting this letter together said : " This letter represents an excellent transatlantic cooperation between  the teacher unions involved and it also symbolises the fact that we need strong cooperation within the EI family  to go up against the inclusion of education in the TTIP. We will continue to work with our American colleagues on this issue." Read the letter >>>
103rd session of the International Labour Conference
From 28 May to 12 June representatives from workers’ organisations, employers’ organisations and governments convene for the tripartite dialogue in Geneva to review the implementation of international labour standards and discuss employment issues. The delegation from the EI/ETUCE follows upon the cases concerning their member organisations and social dialogue and collective bargaining in the education sector.

From Europe, amongst others, the cases of Greece regarding social security standards, Croatia concerning freedom of association and right to strike and Portugal concerning employment reforms are being debated.
Follow the conference and read up on the discussion at:

ETUCE Guidelines to the EC’s public consultation on modalities for investment protection and ISDS in TTIP
The European Commission runs a public consultation on investment protection and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in TTIP until 6 July 2014. ETUCE strongly encourage all member organisations to respond to the consultation. Therefore, ETUCE has drafted a set of guidelines to the European Commission’s public consultation on modalities for investment protection and ISDS in TTIP.

The public consultation was launched after very substantial criticisms on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in TTIP – the granting of legal rights to private investors to sue governments 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.

The European Commission runs this public consultation in all official EU languages.
ETUCE Culmination event of the Unite for Quality Education Campaign:  join the European event in Brussels on 22 September 2014!
On 22 September 2014, the EI initiative Unite for Quality Education Campaign will reach its peak in the European Region. On this special day, ETUCE is organising a Public Hearing on the Future of Quality Education, hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Brussels, to celebrate one year of Campaign activities.
As the European region’s culmination event of the EI initiative Unite for Quality Education, the hearing links to the culmination event of the global campaign that takes place in New York at the United Nation General Assembly in October 2014.

In the morning, the final conference of the project ‘Development of Teacher Union Expertise in Exiting the Crisis through Quality Education’ is held. Through the first screening of the ETUCE project film-documentary, participants have the opportunity to look in depth into the real impact that austerity measures and budget cuts in the education sector have on quality education in Europe as well as on teacher trade unions and society as a whole.

On that day, one year will have passed since the launch of the EI/ETUCE initiative Unite for Quality Education.  Since then, Member organisations have mobilised with a view to promote the teacher union vision of quality education and to support high quality education for all as one of the fundamental pillars of a just and equitable society. Strong actions were organised by teacher trade unions throughout Europe to promote the 10 ETUCE key messages on “What is needed to improve the Quality of Education in Europe?”, adopted by the ETUCE Committee on 23-24 October 2013. Besides, ETUCE member organisations’ campaign work has tied in with the election of the European Parliament in May 2014. Thanks to teacher unions’ advocacy work, many members of the European Parliament have pledged for the ETUCE 10 key messages.

On 22 September 2014, we join in the European region culmination event of the EI/ETUCE initiative Unite for Quality Education, to take stock of a year of campaign activities, to discuss about the Future of Quality Education, and to ask European decision-makers courage and long-term solutions to defend and enhance quality education. The hearing will be an important occasion to share with MEPs, high-level European Commission representatives and other stakeholders in education visions on the future of quality education, challenged by a still fragile recovery from the economic crisis, and the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Quality Education in Europe – still a long way to go. Soon an ETUCE film documentary to state it
On 22 September 2014 ETUCE’s final conference of the project “Development of teacher unions’ expertise on exiting the crisis through quality education” is taking place in conjunction with the European culmination event of the EI global initiative Unite for Quality Education. The aim of the project has been to produce a film that looks in depth into the real impact that budget cuts in the education sector have on the school community and on society in general. It also shows how teacher trade unions have reacted to the economic crisis.

To this end, since the beginning of March, the ETUCE, together with external film experts and guided by the Project Advisory Group members (OLME – Greece, TUI – Ireland, FLC-CGIL – Italy, FNE – Portugal and FECCOO – Spain) has conducted five country visits around Europe.
The first visit in Athens showed the severe situation in the country and in the education system. The film team carried on in Madrid, Rome and Porto. During these shootings, the film team interviewed precarious teachers with uncertain salary, students without any form of financial support forced to drop education, or parents putting themselves on the frontline to grant pupils safe and clean school environments. Despite the institutional emphasis on growth and economic recovery, these countries are still facing tremendous obstacles in their education systems, which should be of a great concern for all the industrial sectors. Cut-backs in the education systems are strongly jeopardizing the future of the European society.
The last country-visit in Dublin demonstrated how Ireland has benefited from a strong social dialogue where social partners in education and the government have incessantly negotiated for solutions, throughout all the difficult years of economic and financial crisis.  
The cuts and downturns in the education systems have affected everyday people and made the prospects and opportunities for the younger generations more unclear. Many European Member States have not realised the crucial role that education plays to reply to the crisis and develop a brighter future for the younger generations. This ETUCE film-documentary is a wake-up call for the politicians in the EU countries and a new way forward for quality education.

Successful ETUCE round table meetings on the potentials of social dialogue in Slovenia and Croatia
On 4th and 5th June 2014, ETUCE held its second and third round table meeting within the project   “Promoting the potentials of the European sectoral social dialogue in education by addressing new challenges and exploring experience and knowledge”. The meetings took place in Ljubljana and Zagreb and therefore raised discussions on the status of social dialogue in education respectively in Slovenia and Croatia. Both round table meetings were carried out together with ETUCE’s affiliates and project partners in the two countries, the Education and Science Trade Union of Slovenia, ESTUS, and the Independent Union of Research and Higher Education Employees of Croatia, IURHEEC.

In both countries the meetings gathered participants from other organisations and representatives from the national Education Ministries. Among others, Slovenian State Secretary, Aljus Pertinac and the Croatian Assistant Minister for Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education, Sabina Glasovac, as well as EFEE’s recently elected President Michael Moriarty and Christian Welz from Eurofound contributed with highly interesting presentations to the successful meetings which launched vital debates among participants.
The meetings were useful for ETUCE and its member organisations in Slovenia and Croatia as it gave an insight on the current situation in the education social dialogue in each country. Like in Bucharest where the first round table meeting was held, the meetings revealed a deep concern about the status quo of education social dialogue and the developments or rather the lack of developments within the education sector in Slovenia and Croatia. Especially in Croatia the situation appeared to be far more complicated and problematic. The meetings proved the importance and need to focus more on requirements to promote the education social dialogue at national and European level. ETUCE hopes that the overall outcome of the project will generate solutions to the current challenges that the social dialogue in education faces.

Conference on homophobic and Transphobic School bullying in Europe
On 10 and 11 June 2014, European stakeholders in the field of education and discrimination prevention convened in Athens to exchange good practices and identify barriers and challenges concerning the prevention of bullying in schools, in particular on grounds of homophobia and transphobia. The event was organised jointly by the NGOs Smile of the Child and ILGA-Europe under auspices of the Greek Presidency.
The conference accompanied the launch of the European Anti-bullying Network, which strives for a common EU strategy on bullying.  In its work on anti-discrimination and the prevention of violence and harassment against teachers, ETUCE has in the past developed joint initiatives with other stakeholders such as ILGA-Europe on homophobic bullying in education as well as setting up concrete and practical guidelines for the prevention of cyber-harassment.
Find the joint ETUC-ETUCE-ILGA-Europe statement here: link
More information on the ETUCE work on the prevention of teachers’ cyber-harassment: link

Trade deal under fire from teachers - Leaked EU TTIP offer on services opens door to privatisation

The European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) - the European Region of Education International says the EU’s initial offer on services and investment in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that has been leaked to the press makes extensive offers in privately-funded education services that could lead to an influx of for-profit providers.
“With some minor exceptions, the EU is essentially opening the door wide open to for-profit American companies to provide education from primary school all the way to university,” stated ETUCE European director Martin Rømer. “And the rules of the TTIP will make it very difficult for Member States to effectively regulate these companies.”

Read the full press release>>>                                
More information on the TTIP

After 5 years of freezing of salaries in the education sector the patience was no longer to find amongst Lithuanian educators and their trade unions. On Wednesday 18 June, thousands of teachers demonstrated in front of the government's offices.

This was only the steam of many years of frustration as the Lithuanian education system seems to fall at the bottom of all international surveys. The employment structure for teachers is out-dated and looks more like a “feudal system” of hiring and firing. Year after year contracts are established on part time basis without guarantee for employment

the following year. In adddition, 20 % of the education workforce is filled by retired teachers, thus blocking the way for new colleagues as the numbers of pupils and students are dropping due to demographics and emigration. An unsuccessful attempt to decentralise competences to the local communities adds supplementary pressure and causes the education system to become a complete chaos, where responsibilities are totally unclear..
The trade unions have for 2 years tried in vain to establish a dialogue with the Prime Minister in an attempt to make the Government understand that it is the government’s responsibility to react.
At the demonstration, ETUCE was represented by the European Director, Martin Rømer, who also convened for a meeting with the Education Minister and the Prime Minister. At a press meeting Rømer said:”It is urgent time for the Lithuanian Government to resume responsibility for the quality of the education system and to make the necessary changes including an up-scaling of the teachers’ salaries.“
Martin Rømer continued “the Government needs to invite all parties to discuss all these complicated issues in a package-negotiation that has the potential to improve quality and teachers’ salaries.”
During the meeting with the Lithuanian Prime Minister, the European Director directly critised the Lithuanian government of not being aware of the serious developments in the education sector and called for a comprehensive reform negotiated with the trade unions. The Prime Minister for the first time in 2 years accepted that the trade unions should be involved and that all issues should be on the table. He acknowledged that the Government had the ultimate responsibility and directly invited to the establishment of a National Plan 2020.

Demonstration in Vilnius: ETUCE strikes deal with Lithuanian Prime Minister
Education policy faces similar threats from the ongoing TTIP negotiation and the Services directive
A recent EurActiv article illustrates how education policy faces similar threats from the ongoing TTIP negotiation and the Services directive.  The European Commission’s DG Internal Market initiated an infringement case against Slovenia’s Higher Education Act back in 2011 based on the Services Directive. The European Commission claims that the Slovenian law is “incompatible with freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services” in its reasoned opinion.  This is despite that fact that the provisions’ of the Service Directive clearly exclude education as a service of general interest and special meaning
from the scope of the directive. Crucially, the European Commission is thereby disregarding that education is the exclusive competence of the member states. The article also highlights that the ETUCE prior to the adoption of the Service Directive warned against the threats education policy could be faced with. Consequently ETUCE campaigned to entirely exclude education from the Service Directive. Likewise ETUCE demands a complete exclusion of education from the TTIP negotiations. The European Commission’s claim is that an exclusion of education is not needed in the TTIP when public services like education are protected through a public utilities’ exemption clause. With European Commission’s infringement case against Slovenia’s Higher Education Act, the European Commission has itself demonstrates how crucially it is to exclude education entirely from the ongoing TTIP negotiations.
Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) is a threat to quality education
Last week, Wikileaks released the secret draft text of the TiSA annex on financial services that has highlighted concerns about how the deal will be used to deregulate the financial sector at a time when stricter rules are needed to avoid a repeat of the recent crisis.

Read ETUCE's Press release.
The new Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work, presented by the European Commission in June, identifies seven strategic objectives for the years 2014-2020.

It proposes key actions and instruments for promoting workers’ health and safety in Europe. These actions should be implemented or developed in close cooperation with the member states, the social partners and other stakeholders.

Specifically, the seven strategic objectives of the Strategic Framework 2014-2020 are:

1)Consolidate national OSH strategies. Among other actions, it is recommended to review the implementation of national OSH strategies in consultation with social partners.
2)Facilitate compliances with OSH legislation, particularly at the level of micro and small enterprises.
3)Better enforce OSH legislation by the member states. The recommended action foresees to improve labour inspections in particular.
4)Simplify existing OSH legislation.
5)Address the ageing of the workforce. This means at the level of action to promote the identification and exchange of good practice on ways to improve OSH conditions for specific categories of workers. The European Agency for Occupational Health and Safety (EU OSHA) should identify and disseminate good practice on preventing mental health problems at work.
6)Improve statistical data collection on occupational health and safety.
7)Better coordinate EU and international efforts to address OSH and engage with international organisations. It is recommended for action to support candidate countries and potential candidate countries in their efforts to align their OSH legislation and to strengthen OSH cooperation with international organisations (ILO, WHO).

The seven objectives intent to meet three major challenges. The first challenge is the need to improve the implementation of risk prevention measures in the member states, especially at the level of small and medium-sized enterprises. Second, occupational diseases should be prevented better by tackling existing risks and taking into account new risks. Third, demographic change and the ageing of the EU’s workforce needs to be addressed by the new OSH Framework. If people are expected to work longer in life, occupational health and safety needs to enable a sustainable working life.
Although legislation remains key for OSH management, the framework foresees also other non-legislative tools, such as benchmarking, identifying and exchanging good practices, awareness-raising, setting voluntary norms and user-friendly IT tools.

Synergies shall be explored between contributions of the EU social dialogue at cross-industry or sectoral level and the implementation of EU strategic priorities on OSH but also with other policy areas, such as education, research or equality.
With regard to social dialogue, the work of EU social partners and their national affiliates in relation to OSH will continue to be supported by the European Commission. In particular, the social dialogue committees are invited to consider how to reach micro and small enterprises effectively (enterprises with fewer than 50 employees whose annual turnover does not exceed 10 million Euro).
EU funding, such as the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) programme, will be available to support the implementation of health and safety rules for the 2014-2020 period.
Regarding communication and information, the European Commission plans to encourage wider stakeholder involvement including social partners. Media, internet, online applications and social networks shall be used to reach young workers, in particular.

Health and Safety Framework 2014-2020
Better vocational training options lead to reduce early school leaving
Cedefop celebrated  a workshop in VET and early school leaving where interesting conclusions were drawn:
Early findings of the Europe-wide Cedefop study on the impact of vocational education and training (VET) on the dropout rate reveal that this effect is largely positive. In countries where vocational pathways account for a large share of education and training, rates of early school leaving are below the EU target for 2020 (10%). Conversely, in countries where VET lags behind, the dropout rate is higher than 10%; in some cases, significantly so.

Addressing the workshop participants, Cedefop Director James Calleja pointed out that the problem of early school leaving is largely for VET institutions  to solve: early leavers between 16 and 24 who return to education typically choose vocational options. Mr Calleja spoke of early leavers as ‘casualties of the education system’ whom public authorities have a responsibility to support
The participants discussed how to measure the magnitude and determine the causes of early leaving from VET as well as ways in which improved data and analysis can feed into targeted policy measures.

More information:

Indicators Key Data on Early Childhood Education and Care in Europe – 2014 Edition highlights crucial access and quality issues concerning education and care of the youngest children in 32 European countries (37 education systems).
Specific topics covered are the variation in enrolment ages across Europe, a persistent supply deficit for under three year olds and countries' efforts to tackle it, fees and availability of free provision, characteristics of home-based services

Read the report

New EURYDICE Report - Key Data on Early Childhood Education and Care in Europe
Declaration of Joint Principles ETUC/AFL-CIO: TTIP Must Work for the People, or It Won’t Work at All
The declaration clearly includes the ETUCE demand to carve-out education and public services: “The AFL-CIO and ETUC demand an exclusion of public services from the negotiations. The negotiators must meet the demands to carve out public services, including education, health and social services, water supply, postal services and public transportation from the scope of the agreement. A positive list approach must be taken to avoid opening liberalisation to services not explicitly listed.”

Read the Declaration of Joint Principles ETUC/AFL-CIO: TTIP Must Work for the People, or It Won’t Work at All

Ahead of EU-US trade negotiations the American and European trade unions – AFL-CIO and ETUC have issued a Declaration of Joint Principles.
“The AFL-CIO and ETUC demand a commitment from the E.U. and U.S. to achieve a “gold standard” agreement that improves living and working conditions on both sides of the Atlantic and guards against any attempt to use the agreement to lower standards or impinge on democratic decision making.  The risk of the current model of trade and economic integration agreements to democratic decision making cannot be overstated.  The U.S. has already lost state-to-state challenges to its anti-smoking, meat labelling, and tuna labelling policies and even now, European multinationals are using the investor-to-state system to challenge decisions to phase out nuclear energy and raise minimum wages.  Simply put, these policies are part of a government’s most basic responsibility to promote the general welfare of its people.”

On 10 July 2014 thousands of teachers stood up for education and public services in England and Wales, answering to the call to strike action made by the National Union of Teacher (NUT) alongside with Unison, FBU, PCS, GMB and Unite. The 5 unions called their members in education and local government to take action on the same day.
Rallies and marches were organised all over England and Wales. From the strike rally in Birmingham, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT and President of the ETUCE, stood up against blind UK government education policies: “detrimental to education and the profession”, she previously said. She called teachers and parents to ‘Stand up for education!’ and continue to keep up the pressure on the UK Education Secretary Michael Goves.
Commenting on the day of action, Christine Blower added:
“Extraordinarily the Government’s response to today’s action has been to completely ignore the issues and instead seek to reduce people’s right to strike. There is no point pontificating on the fact that citizens have the right to strike if every time they do so they are vilified. It is a clear indication that this Government does not want to listen to our concerns, nor do they want them drawn to the general public’s attention.
“The reason why this dispute is so long running is due to the absolute failure of this Government to engage in any meaningful discussions on the main issues of our dispute. The responsibility for today’s action lies fairly and squarely at the door of Government. It is high time that we saw some significant movement. Teachers love their jobs but unless their concerns on pay, pensions and workload are addressed teacher recruitment will certainly become an issue.”

This well-attended last-resort action came after another one-day strike in March, denouncing the effects of 4 years of austerity policies on teachers’ profession and morale.
Available on NUT website: List of rallies
Protect teachers Defend education: Photos from 10 July action
NUT’s campaign Facebook page for latest updates:

10 July 2014: UK Strike action – Keep up the Pressure
Legal dispute in Georgia over ESFTUG election results ended after four years
On 11 July 2014, a judicial decision by the Appeals Court in Tbilisi has finally resolved the legal battle over the legitimacy of the election of Maia Kobakhidze, President of the Educators and Scientists Free Trade Union of Georgia (ESFTUG). The complainants had requested to cancel the results of the teacher union’s Extraordinary National Congress in 2010. The Court now judged in favour of the defending party. It has taken almost four years until the Court ruled on the case “Martoleki and others against the Educators and Scientists Free Trade Union of Georgia (ESFTUG)”.
In short, the plaintiffs alleged that an insufficient number of delegates had been present during the vote. The evidence provided by the group of plaintiffs was not adequate to subsequently deny the legitimacy of the election results. According to ESFTUG, the legal arguments presented by the plaintiffs did not convince the Court either.
The judgement was made in due time before ESFTUG’s next National Congress which will be held on 25 October of this year.

On 15 July 2014, the European Parliament debated the European Commission’s suggestion to withdraw the proposed maternity leave directive and to not take it up again in the next legislature. Many MEPs urged the Commission and the Council of Ministers to resume talks with Parliament. The representative of the Italian Presidency announced that they will work to find a compromise solution.
The proposal foresees to extend the minimum length of maternity leave from 14 to 18 weeks. At the moment, current legislation provides for a minimum of 14 continuous weeks' maternity leave in the European Economic Area, so the directive would have made a positive difference to millions of women and their families.
The bill in question had been a priority initiative only few years ago - in the Commission's work programme for 2008. Now priorities seem to have shifted due to the opposition of the Council of the European Union. While a large majority of MEPs voted in favour at its first parliamentary reading in 2010, the Council blocked the legislation because of the opposition of eight member states (Germany, UK, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Sweden).
Last week, ETUC joined forces with the European Women’s Lobby to call on the members of the European Parliament and President Martin Schulz to oppose the withdrawal. ETUC demands to reiterate the Parliament’s support for better maternity rights and its full commitment to work towards a compromise with the Council so that the issue can proceed to a second reading.
Maternity leave matters particularly at times when Europe struggles to recover from the crisis. Throughout the EU, parenthood continues to have a significant long-term negative impact on women's earnings and their participation in the labour market. Unless better reconciliation of professional, private and family life is supported, the EU is unlikely to meet its objective of a 75% employment rate for women and men by 2020.
Fundamentally, maternity leave protects woman workers from dismissal or discrimination due to pregnancy or motherhood. It is also intrinsically linked to the application of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment between women and men in the European Union. Pregnancy and maternity security are essential for achieving gender equality and the protection of women’s rights.

Uncertain Future for Maternity Leave Directive
ETUCE Official EU-OSHA Campaign Partner
ETUCE has joint forces with the biggest occupational safety and health campaign worldwide, the Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress Campaign coordinated by EU OSHA in more than 30 countries. As official campaign partner, ETUCE will distribute and publicise information about the campaign and participate in benchmarking events.
The 2014-2015 campaign takes up the issue of stress - the second most frequently reported work-related health problem in Europe. Work-related stress is believed to be the cause of more than half of all lost working days. Although tackling psychosocial risks and work-related stress may seem challenging, this campaign aims to demonstrate that they can be dealt with in the same logical and systematic way as any other occupational safety and health issue.

So far, more than 60 organisations have become official partners of the 2014–15 campaign. They come from a variety of sectors across Europe and encompass employers’ and workers’ federations, technology platforms, non-governmental organisations and multinational companies. They are joined by campaign media partners, committed to communicating the importance of managing work-related stress and psychosocial risks.
National events have been rolled out across the continent, with recent campaign launches taking place from Finland to Greece. Leo Suomaa, the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, emphasized that good workplaces deal with this psychosocial risk though open discussions on workload distribution and how best to manage it: ‘organising your workload helps you to control work-related stress,’ said Suomaa.
During the campaign, benchmarking workshops will be held around Europe to give partners the opportunity to share good practice. Further upcoming events include:

European Weeks for Safety and Health at Work: October 2014 and 2015
Good Practice Awards Ceremony: April 2015
Healthy Workplaces Summit: November 2015

The report Financing Schools in Europe: Mechanisms, Methods and Criteria in Public Funding provides a framework for understanding the structure of funding systems of primary and general secondary education. It delivers an analysis of authority levels (central, regional and/or local level) involved and the methods and criteria used for determining the level of resources for financing school education. It covers 27 of the 28 EU Member States and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Turkey. With the help of national diagrams on funding flows, the report explains the different mechanisms, methods and priorities when it comes

New EURYDICE Report: Financing Schools in Europe
to funding staff, operational goods and services and capital goods.

Read the report
Read the highlights

During the Chief Negotiators' briefing, the EU’s chief negotiator Bercero claimed that the negotiators are dealing with the “technical” issues and consequently the political decision is to be taken at a later stage. Bercero declared that the regulatory issues are at the heart of TTIP, and the gains of TTIP are depended on this. He said that the regulatory issues were further discussed during the 6th round of negotiations, but maintained that until now no texts have been developed on the issue.
150.000 submissions have been made to the European Commission’s public consultation on ISDS. Barcero said the process to assess the high number of submissions will take significant time. A report on the public consultation is expected in November, and the European Commission will then discuss the outcome with the Council and European Parliament.

“EU’s chief negotiator is on the one hand emphasising the importance of including regulatory cooperation in TTIP, but on the other hand continues to claim that this is only “technical” work. The European Commission must not be mistaken that regulation goes to heart of democratic decision-making in our societies and it is therefore not a technicality to be decided behind closed doors,” stated ETUCE European director Martin Rømer.

Concerning the European Commission’s public consultation on ISDS, which has received a record high number of responses Rømer stated, “ETUCE insists that the European Commission takes very seriously the responses received to the public consultation on ISDS. Publishing a report is definitely not enough.”

ETUCE participated in the two stakeholder events organised by the European Commission during the 6th round of TTIP negotiations, taking place from 14 July to 18 July 2014 in Brussels.

During the TTIP stakeholder presentation event ETUCE explained to the negotiators the demand to entirely exclude education from the TTIP negotiations. ETUCE highlighted that the European and American colleagues stand united in the commitment to quality education for all. In the context of TTIP negotiations, this causes concerns as the inclusion of so-called “private” education services poses potentially serious risks for educational policy, for public schools and other educational institutions, and for teachers, students and communities in both the EU and the US. The ETUCE presentation is available here.

ETUCE message to TTIP negotiators: Safeguard quality education
EPNoSL Newsletter

Read the latest edition of the EPNoSL Newsletter >>>
Challenges identified by ETUCE concern the insufficient involvement of the social partners in supporting the implementation of the OSH Strategy, in particular regarding their consultation by national governments. Further, the prevention of work-related stress and the support for mental well-being needs to be given greater significance in the framework because it is an integral part of the health of all workers. Work-related stress is not limited to demographic change and the ageing workforce, nor is it connected uniquely to the use of technologies, as the framework suggests. In addition, the framework misses a gender perspective which highlights health and safety aspects that are relevant to women and men as well as the challenges linked to these. The education sector, like other public service sectors, is a female dominated profession. Therefore a special focus on the prevention of women’s occupational health and safety hazards is crucial.
ETUCE member organisations are encouraged to lobby their national governments in view of the upcoming October meeting of the Council of the European Union.
The position paper will be forwarded to the Council and is available for download here.

The ETUCE Bureau has issued a position paper regarding the European Commission’s Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2014-2020. With this position paper, ETUCE wishes to convey its opinion on this EU Framework to the Italian Presidency and to contribute to the on-going preparation of the Council resolution on this document. While ETUCE acknowledges the launch of a new common initiative and underlines the necessity to further invest in occupation health and safety in times of economic recession, the position paper takes up the opportunity to comment on a number of issues.
ETUCE position on the EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2014 – 2020
ETUCE Message on investing education
ETUCE has raised a deep concern on Eurostat recent statistics which document a general decrease in public spending in education both on the EU average level and on the level of the Member States - 14 out of 27 countries implemented deep cuts in 2012. To face this deteriorating situation, ETUCE has called on the European Council and European Commission to use all their powers and instruments, including the European Semester governance framework, to urge Member States to protect and increase resources allocated to education, while laying out a clear vision for targeted effective investments that aim to achieve the European long-term strategic objectives.

ETUCE member organisations are encouraged to lobby their national governments to consider education as one of the main growth-enhancing investments, therefore to stop considering education as an easy target for fiscal consolidation. The message has been sent to the EU Parliament, Council and the Commission, and it has received the favourable reaction of the Italian Presidency of the EU. It is available for download here.

The ETUCE Bureau has addressed the new European Parliament, the new Commission of the European Union, future General Affairs and Education Councils and Italian Presidency with a message on Investing in Education.

With this message, ETUCE wishes to demand to European leaders to prioritise investments in education as the sole way to increase potential economic growth in Europe and to reduce social inequalities. It also emphasises the need to strengthen social dialogue in education and training at any level, as an imperative condition to maintain and increase investments in education, thus playing a key role in tackling the economic crisis and achieving smart, inclusive and sustainable growth.

The validation of reflection tools for school leadership policy design and implementation.
The consolidation of case studies on  school leadership good practices. 

The development of place-relevant action plans on school leadership.

Click here for more information>>>

EPNoSL is organizing its next Peer Learning Activity (PLA) in Nice, France. Interested stakeholders are welcomed to join the event that will be attended by members of the wider school leadership community, including policy makers, educational leaders (school principals and head teachers, and teacher educators), researchers, representatives of professional associations, parents, and students.
The next EPNoSL Peer Learning Activity (PLA) will take place in Nice, France on 25-26 September 2014.

The PLA intends to promote the implementation of the priorities for the development of School Leadership and to stimulate knowledge exchange between policymakers, practitioners, researchers and other stakeholders towards enhancing school leadership for equity and learning. Specifically, the discussions in the context of the PLA are expected to contribute to:

Positioning School Leadership in the Agenda for School Reforms
Both Committees welcomed the recommendations of the European Commission to the countries in the European Semester to priorities and preserve growth-enhancing expenditure in education. This corresponds to the recent ETUCE Position on the 2014-2015 Country Specific Recommendations (CSR), which also denounces the severe under-financing of education in many Member States and demands that any recommendation targeting education and training should go hand in hand with appropriate sustainable public funding, with a stronger focus on quality  education.

The Draft Report of the Committee on Economic Affairs clearly recognise that structural reforms for growth and jobs must be complemented by longer-term investment in education and skills, research and development, and resource efficiency. The report however stresses that in all these fields private investment is more beneficial to growth than public investment.

The ETUCE Secretariat positively notes that the Draft Opinion issued by the Employment Committee clearly denounces that more than 20 Member States have reduced education expenditure as a percentage of GDP, thereby jeopardizing their growth potential. It also criticises the fact that not all the Member States have involved their national social partners in the European Semester process.

Back in July, ETUCE member organisations had addressed a message on Investing on Education, asking European leaders to prioritise investments in education as the only way to increase potential economic growth in Europe and to reduce social inequalities. The message was issued at a time when EU institutions were designing their future strategic priorities, and received positive feedback from both the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU and from the European Commission.

Following this message, ETUCE member organisations began to lobby their national governments to consider education as one of the main growth-enhancing investments, and to be involved into the various steps of the European Semester.

The European Parliament is fully back to work. Its Committees have been formed anew. One of the first topics they addressed, is the fundamental issue of the European Semester for economic policy coordination: the implementation of 2014 priorities.  In August, the European Parliament Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) issued a Draft Report on the implementation of the European Semester and the Employment Committee of the European Parliament (EMPL) commented on it.
ETUCE opinion on European Parliament reports on implementation
Coming Up: ETUCE Conference on teacher union actions on gender equality in times of austerity
The closing conference of the ETUCE project 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 convenes in Sofia on 25 and 26 September 2014. The event provides teacher union representatives and union experts on gender equality the opportunity to  discuss and amend practical guidelines for the promotion of gender equality in the education sector and within teacher union structures. These are founded on the debates of the gender equality seminar that ETUCE held in Utrecht in May this year following the results of the online survey among ETUCE member organisations. The survey analysed the actual impact of the crisis on gender equality in the education sector and within national teacher union structures. Major highlights of the Sofia conference are the presentation of the complete survey results by the project expert, Angelike Striedinger, University of Vienna and the panel discussion with leading gender equality experts from social partners in education and other stakeholders in Europe.

Read the Agenda>>>

The ROMACT Programme is a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, implemented with the support of the Council of Europe Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion, in order to promote the inclusion of Roma at local and regional level.
For more information click here

The European Commission convenes a high level international conference in Brussels on 2 and 3 October 2014 to take stock of progress and lessons learned in integrating Roma at local level with the support of the ROMACT programme. Roma are the largest and one of the oldest minority groups in Europe. Today, Roma are the ethnic group experiencing the highest levels of poverty and social exclusion across Western, Central and Eastern Europe. Despite policy and legislation in support of minority rights, the Roma continue to be excluded from fully participating in economic, social, political and cultural life and from enjoying a standard of living and well-being that is considered normal in the society in which they live.
High level conference on Roma inclusion
In the new brochure “Can Europe still be saved?” leading representatives of German trade unions explore the fault lines and the austerity-policy orientation of Europe from different angles.
Leading German trade union representatives find that the debate on the future of Europe cannot be limited to national level but has to be a European level discussion. Their analysis demands for an offensive EU-policy and shows that austerity policy does not stand uncontradicted. Opposition is increasing in trade unions and in civil society.
Download the English edition.

New Brochure: Can Europe still be saved?
The public consultation revolves around three questions:
-Views on concrete measures the European Commission can take to make the TTIP negotiations more transparent
-Examples of best practices
-Explain how transparency affects the outcome of the negotiations

ETUCE welcomes the public consultation and encourages all member organisations to contribute to this consultation. ETUCE has continuously requested the European Commission to improve transparency in relation to the TTIP negotiations and to involve stakeholders in an active and meaningful way.
The European Ombudsman’s public consultation follows the inquiry of the European Ombudsman towards the European Commission concerning transparency and public participation in relation to the TTIP negotiations. Particularly, the European Ombudsman asks the Council and the Commission to publish the TTIP mandate as well as a number of practical measures to enable timely public access to TTIP documents, and to details of meetings with stakeholders.
The European Ombudsman explained: "The EU institutions have made a considerable effort to promote transparency and public participation concerning TTIP. I agree that not all negotiating documents can be published at this stage, there needs to be room to negotiate. However, concerns have been raised about key documents not being disclosed, about delays, and about the alleged granting of privileged access to TTIP documents to certain stakeholders. Given the significant public interest and the potential impact of TTIP on the lives of citizens, I am urging the EU institutions to step up their proactive transparency policy."

The public consultation on transparency of the TTIP negotiations by the European Ombudsman runs until 31 October 2014. Submissions can be made in any of the 24 official EU languages and can be provided by email, letter or fax. The European Ombudsman will take into account the input received by the public consultation before presenting a set of further suggestions to the European Commission on how to proceed with the TTIP negotiations.
European Ombudsman opens public consultation on TTIP transparency
“One thing is abundantly clear: You don’t want to outsource quality. Education is a human right and a public good. It is the responsibility of governments to provide free quality public education for all” said EI President Susan Hopgood in her welcome speech to almost 100 participants. As the European region’s culmination event of the EI initiative Unite for Quality Education, the message raised at the hearing was brought to the culmination event of the global campaign taking place in New York at the United Nation General Assembly on 26 September 2014.
ETUCE member organisations promoted and recalled to high level policy-makers the 10 ETUCE key messages on “What is needed to improve the Quality of Education in Europe?”, adopted by the ETUCE Committee on 23-24 October 2013. Notable speakers included the Director General for Education and Culture from the European Commission, Xavier Prats Monné, who detailed the EC’s vision about the future of Quality Education; Marcello Limina Chair of the Education Committee of the EU Council of Ministers, who explained the Italian Presidency’s view for enhancing investments in education and welcomed further collaboration between ETUCE and the Education Committee of the EU Council; and Mirja Becker, First Secretary responsible for Trade issues at the German Permanent Representation to the EU, who strongly stated the German government’s position on excluding education from TTIP. Eventually, Marco Düerkop, TTIP Services lead negotiator at the EC, took deeply into consideration the ETUCE comment on the risk that TTIP could restrict the space for governments’ action on previously privatised education services.
Together with Members of the European Parliament from diverse political groups (EPP, Greens/EFA and GUE/NGL) they engaged to find long-term solutions to enhance Quality of Education in Europe. They agreed that Quality Education is a vital prerequisite for a democratic Europe, and it is the sole way to enhance quality growth, to recover from the economic crisis, and to build a fair and equitable European society.
In the morning, at the final conference of the project ‘Development of Teacher Union Expertise in Exiting the Crisis through Quality Education’, the first screening of the ETUCE project film-documentary ‘When Europe forgot its homework: Education in Crisis’, gave participants the opportunity to look in depth into the real impact that austerity measures and budget cuts in the education sector.
Click here to read a summary of the ETUCE public hearing, watch the key interventions and see all the pictures of the event.

On 22 September 2014, the EI initiative Unite for Quality Education Campaign reached its peak in the European Region. ETUCE affiliates, government and European Commission representatives, as well as various stakeholders in education took part in the ETUCE public hearing on the Future of Quality Education in Europe. The event was hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Brussels to celebrate one year of campaign activities.

Preparing for World Teacher’s Day – EU leaders engage to enhance investments on education and carve-out education from TTIP at the ETUCE Unite for Quality Education culmination event
To counter this plan, the 5 biggest trade unions in education have come together and are asking all education staff to sign a national petition that opposes the government’s new plan. On the day that the petition is handed over to the government, a joint rally with all public employees and civil servants is to be organised to call for a renewal of collective agreements.
ETUCE is deeply concerned about the Italian government’s plans which are not in line with neither the EU2020 goals nor the Italian Presidency’s priorities. ETUCE supports the Italian education staff in their struggle against worse working conditions and ultimately a decrease in the quality of education.

The 5 biggest Italian trade unions in education have joined forces to oppose a new plan set in motion by the Italian government. If carried out, the plan would extend the freeze of education workers’ salaries, which have been frozen since 2009, until 2018 and alter the structure of salaries in 2019. The changed structure would remove all forms of salary increase connected to the length of service, and introduce a job-assessment system which does not rely on a clear assessment framework.  Italian teachers are already among the lowest paid teachers in Europe, and without an increase of salaries, the real net income would decrease which would put teachers at risk of not being able to get by.
Italian education workers unite in opposition to new government plan
The directive in question foresees to extend the minimum length of maternity leave from 14 to 20 weeks. At the moment, current legislation provides for a minimum of 14 continuous weeks' maternity leave in the European Economic Area, so the directive would make a positive difference to millions of women and their families. In addition, the directive seeks to strengthen the rights of pregnant workers concerning dismissal.
In the upcoming months, the European Parliament will now have to adopt a new position on the maternity leave directive which is more likely to find acceptance by the member states. While the directive passed Parliament in 2010 with a large majority of MEPs voting in favour, several member states blocked the directive in the Council of the European Union (Germany, UK, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Sweden).
In the past, member states opposing the maternity leave directive were concerned about what they regard as the adoption of maximum - not minimum - EU standards, the lack of flexibility of the proposal to accommodate the various maternity leave systems that exist throughout the EU; as well as the financial consequences of providing a guarantee of 20 weeks on full pay.
The draft directive meets the standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which recommends 18 weeks of maternity leave with full payment and protection for women workers when returning from maternity leave.

ETUCE will closely follow the discussions in the European Parliament.
The EU maternity leave directive is back in the European Parliament. The newly-elected FEMM Committee in the European Parliament had a first discussion on amending the directive in their first meeting in September 2014.
Contrary to the European Commission’s proposal to withdraw the proposed maternity leave directive earlier this year, the European Parliament has decided to take it up again in this legislature. Before the proposed withdrawal of the directive was discussed in Parliament in July, many MEPs, trade unions and the European Women’s Lobby had demanded that the Commission and the Council of Ministers resume talks on the controversial directive.

Maternity Leave Directive Back in European Parliament
This report shows the recommended annual instruction time in full-time compulsory education in public sector schools. The report covers 32 countries of the Eurydice network (reference year 2013-2014). National sheets are included. Diagrammes allow the reader to easily access data on instruction time in general education according to country and according to subject. The report also provides additional information on specificities within countries. Joint data collection was undertaken by the Eurydice network and the OECD.

Eurydice launches new short overview on Annual Instruction Time
Greetings from Europe

Dear colleagues.

On this World Teachers Day of the 5 October  we all come together in solidarity to defend Quality Education, our salaries and working conditions. Never before we have had more need to internationally support each other. We are in the same boat, with the same goal: We want to be respected as professionals and to be fairly rewarded for our huge responsibility in educating the future citizens of our countries. On this day we come together and celebrate and remind our struggles. We do not stand alone. We are in this together with the support from than 30 million colleagues from all over the world.
Go to let the UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon know that you support Quality in Education.
You can submit your statement by
emailing to or
texting to +32-473-535735 or
tweeting with the hashtag #unite4ed

I wish you a happy and strong united Teachers Day.

Martin Rømer
European Director, ETUCE

Annual Eurydice report on teachers’ and school heads’ salaries
This year’s edition of the annual Eurydice report on teachers’ and school heads’ salaries and allowances shows that about half of the 33 surveyed European countries have applied salary cuts or salary freezes for public employees during the period 2009-2014. In these countries, teachers’ purchasing power in 2014 is still below the 2009 level. Furthermore, the report finds that the basic salaries for new teachers in primary and lower secondary education are lower than GDP per capita in around 75% of the countries investigated. This also holds for the majority of countries when looking at upper secondary education. In 16 of the 33 European countries that feature in the report, teachers’ salaries have increased compared to the previous school year (2012-2013). The increase in salaries is the outcome of salary reforms and adjustments to the cost of living.
The ETUCE is deeply concerned about the severe cuts in education expenditure that have taken place in many European countries in recent years. The ETUCE believes that the only sustainable way out of the crisis is not to introduce cuts in education but to invest in it and ensure quality education for all.
Read the Report>>>

ETUCE Committee – Preparing the ETUCE Special Conference
On 13 to 14 October 2014, the members of the ETUCE Committee met in Brussels for their autumn meeting. With a minute’s silence the Committee commemorated the deceased colleagues and fellow unionists, Veronica Rodriguez, ATL, UK and Agnes Breda, UNSA-Education, France, and staff member of the EI head office in Brussels, whose engagement for education and the teacher union movement outlasts their departure. 
Resuming the meeting, the ETUCE President, welcomed the new ETUCE Committee members Helen Van den Berg, CNVO, replacing Cees Kuiper, for the country seat of The Netherlands and Kamuran Karaca, Egitem-Sen, replacing Mehmet Bozgeyik for the country seat of Turkey.

In preparation of the ETUCE Special Conference in Vienna on 26 – 27 November 2014, the Committee members took the decision to submit the Resolution Shaping the Teaching Profession of the 21st Century for adoption to the ETUCE Special Conference. It also decided on establishing an EI/ETUCE Central and Eastern European Network (CEENET) for a 2 year trial period, in accordance with the By-Laws Art. 9.2 (IV) and to recommend to the EI Executive Board that it moves Kazakhstan, Kirgistan and Tajikistan form the EI Asia-Pacific Region to the European Region-ETUCE. The ETUCE Committee deems the set-up of an administrative and practical network necessary in order to promote better cooperation between the CEE countries and especially the Russian-speaking countries. This network is to ensure better opportunities for participation and access to resources as well as to facilitate enhanced activity and participation with EI/ETUCE. The ETUCE Secretariat is to support the network establishment with the extended use and provision of services in Russian, e.g. more extensive translation of meeting documents and the provision of the ETUCE website and newsletter in Russian. The launch of the CEENET is foreseen on 25 November 2014, in the frame of the ETUCE Special Conference.
In the wake, Vice-president, Branimir Strukelj, initiated a discussion on the membership fee calculation and payment to EI. As the payment of dues underlies the decision of EI Congress, the topic has been postponed to the Congress meeting in July 2015 in Ottawa.

Continuing on financial issues, the ETUCE Committee approved the ETUCE Action Plan on European Economic Governance (European Semester), which foresees to increase teacher union’s impact and visibility in the European Semester process. In order to ensure a timely exchange between the ETUCE member organisations and the ETUCE Secretariat on country specific recommendations from the European Commission in the field of education, the ETUCE member organisations are invited to designate a contact person to the ETUCE Secretariat on this issue.

From the Standing Committees for Higher Education and Research and for Equality, the Committee members adopted the Appeal from the European Higher Education and Research Unions to Defend Europe’s Scientific, Humanities and Academic Potential and the Recommendations on Mainstreaming Diversity and Tackling Inequalities. It also adopted the Practical Guidelines for Teacher Unions for the Further Implementation and Reinforcement of Teacher Union Actions on Gender Equality in Times of Austerity, which call on member organisations to strengthen their actions on gender equality as a common goal for both women and men, also in times of economic crisis.
Education and other public services -  an increasingly controversial issue in TTIP
The 7th round of the TTIP negotiations between the EU and the US closed on 3 October 2014. Education and other public services are becoming an increasingly controversial topic in the context of TTIP. During the joint press conference both the US and the EU chief negotiators , addressed specifically the issue of public services and claimed that public services would not be affected by TTIP. The EU’s chief negotiator, Ignacio Bercero, pointed out that especially trade unions have voiced their concerns around public services. Taking this as a sign of success, ETUCE continues to lobby for the carve-out of education in particular and public services in general.
The 7th round of TTIP negotiations seems to have devoted significant time to the discussion of the respective services offers as both sides disagree on the scheduling of the services offers. The US was disappointed with the EU’s offer and its hybrid approach of the negative list on national treatment and positive list on market access. Nevertheless, the comments from the European Commission show willingness to eventually adopt the negative list approach.
ETUCE stresses that the negative list approach poses significant problems, which is of particular concern for public services like education. Especially, the ratchet clause, which automatically binds any autonomous liberalisation, presents significant risk to public services. Regulatory cooperation was also discussed during the last round. According to the US chief negotiator, Dan Mullaney, the end goal is to address “unnecessary burdens”. New regulations may potentially also be subject to regulatory cooperation before their adoptions. ETUCE has repeatedly insisted that regulation is and must continue to be the responsibility of democratically elected governments.
Further to this, ETUI has recently published a policy brief on The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: exaggerated hopes from the liberalising agenda? The Policy Brief assesses that the economic benefits of TTIP will be extremely small. Therefore, it suggests that the EU should concentrate on wider policies that restore growth and investment. ETUI suggests that the EU should support an alternative globalisation agenda and should oppose the inclusion of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).

General strike in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) off the agenda for now
A strike in FYROM's education sector announced by ETUCE's Macedonian member organisation SONK on 29 September 2014 was averted at the very last moment. Following ETUCE's written intervention at the Macedonian Ministry of Education and ETUCE's ad hoc meeting with SONK in Skopje, the Ministry had suddenly agreed to return to the negotiation table only on the very day before the expected strike.
At this meeting the Ministry declared its readiness to resume a constructive social dialogue with SONK and to resolve a number of outstanding issues including those connected with teacher evaluation as well as with working conditions in early childhood education and culture. SONK's council made a decision that concrete results have to be achieved by the end of 2014. In the event of failed negotiations, SONK will discuss a new date for the general strike in the education sector. ETUCE continues to monitor the development of the coming weeks and months.
Successful Round Table Meeting in Vilnius
On 1 October 2014 the ETUCE held the 4th Round Table Meeting in Vilnius to promote social dialogue in the education sector. The meeting was conducted at a very opportune and important time as the trade unions and the Ministry of Education and Science are currently in comprehensive negotiations about reforms of the education financing model, the employment structure and teachers’ salaries.
The meeting was attended by the Lithuanian Minister of Education and Science, external experts on social dialogue in the Baltic Region, and representatives from the Lithuanian social partners. Lithuania has suffered from severe austerity measures in recent years which have had serious consequences for the teaching profession and affected all aspects of education.

The Round Table was a great success in that it not only highlighted the problems of the present condition but also set out a way forward for education and teachers in Lithuania. It was noted from both the employers and the trade unions that dialogue is essential and that the trade unions must stand together with a strong and coherent voice. The following Round Table meeting takes place in Podgorica on 17 October 2014.
Positioning School Leadership in the Agenda for School Reforms
Members of the European Policy Network on School Leadership (EPNoSL) network met in Nice on 25 -26 September 2014 to discuss the implementation of priorities for the development of school leadership to validate reflection tools for school leadership policy design and to share good practices. The meeting gathered teacher trade unions, experts on school leadership, ministries’ representatives, employers’ organisations, school principals and head teachers as well as teacher educators.

Network coordinator, Kathy Kikis-Papadakis, highlighted in her introductory remarks how EPNoSL and peer learning activities have enhanced collaboration between target groups and policy makers. The aim of EPNoSL is to provide a better educational experience for young people and to improve the working environment of teachers. Teaching is central to improve school outcomes and performances, and school leaders play a key role in driving the change.
The event stimulated knowledge exchange between participants and was directed at enhancing school leadership for equity and learning. Touching upon the concept of distributed school leadership onseveral occasions, the participants recognised that teachers’ professional development is essential for the improvement of the school environment, together with professional development programmes for school leaders, inclusive leadership and student engagement.
To know more, read ETUCE Policy Paper on School Leadership and visit the EPNoSL website.

The third Education, Training and Youth Forum of the European Commission took place on 9-10 October 2014 and brought together stakeholders and social partners to discuss on  challenges of implementing and on identifying the future priorities of the Strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET2020).

Martin Rømer, ETUCE European Director, brought the needs of the European teachers and researchers to the attention of participants of the forum during a panel discussion. “If we want quality in education, we have to tackle the forthcoming challenges: investment in education and investment in teachers’, he said, and added: ‘it is necessary to have a holistic view on education and training.

Read the ETUCE Press release>>>

European Week for Safety and Health at Work
Managing work-related stress is the focus of this year’s European Week for Safety and Health at Work. This week sees the start of the 2014 European Week for Safety and Health at Work, a highlight of the Healthy Workplaces Campaign. Taking place from 20 to 24 October, hundreds of events will be held across Europe to mark the occasion. Keeping with the current theme – Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress – the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) and its community of partners aim to get Europe talking about stress and psychosocial risks in the workplace and how we can tackle them together.

Partners of the Healthy Workplaces Campaign − including enterprises, employer and employee representatives, as well as OSH specialists − are coming up with a variety of ways to highlight the campaign messages: there are press conferences scheduled in Belgium and Slovenia, training activities in the UK, a conference in Iceland, and a Healthy Workplaces film screening in Estonia. Events are not only taking place at national level, Europe’s regions are also getting in on the action; Spain for example will see more than 57 events take place across the country as part of its European Week programme.
EU-OSHA, in collaboration with Eurofound, has also just published a new report ‘Psychosocial risks in Europe - Prevalence and strategies for prevention’.

The ETUCE Committee denounces the Investor-State Dispute Mechanism 

On 13 October 2014, the ETUCE Committee unanimously adopted the ETUCE Statement on Investment Protection in EU Investment Agreements. The Statement clearly conveys that the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) is a flawed mechanism, which is contradictory to and limiting on the right to regulate. The ISDS mechanism has consequences in all areas of democratic decision-making, but specific concerns are raised in respect to the education sector. Private companies could in the future challenge the quality and accreditation standards through ISDS if they felt these standards were “disguised barriers to trade” or “more burdensome than necessary”. As emphasised in the Statement: “These quality and accreditation standards are crucial to ensure the quality of education and therefore ISDS poses very significant risks to the education sector and democratic decision-making in general”.
Internship opportunities at ETUCE in 2015

the ETUCE Secretariat is offering two internship opportunities on the ETUCE premises in Brussels for a 10-month period starting on 1 February 2015 and ending on 31 January 2016. (A 5-month period, until 30 June 2015 is also possible). Based on its positive experience with previous internships, the ETUCE Secretariat kindly asks its member organisations for their assistance and commitment in filling these positions.