Within the framework of EI's new Middle East and North Africa (MENA) programme, EI organized two training workshops with EI members in Lebanon, the League of Secondary Public School Teachers in Lebanon (LPESPL) and the Teachers’ Syndicate in Lebanon (TSL).
The trainings are the first in a series of activities under a longer term plan of cooperation between the two unions established within the MENA program. Cooperation with EI started in 2006 when the two unions became members and in spring 2008, EI conducted a series of planning meetings involving the two unions.
The first training was with LPESPL on August 28- 30, 2008, followed by the TSL training on October 3-5, 2008. Alain Salvador and Christine Dupius from UNSA Education, the French EI affiliate and member of the MENA Working Group, were lead trainers in both workshops.
Topics covered during the training workshops included the importance of union work, communication, and negotiations. This responded to the needs of the unions, in view of the long struggle that LPESPL, among other teacher unions, is leading against the proposed governmental reform on public sector employees in general, and on public teachers in specific. The proposed reforms would undermine public education, and rescind many of the basic rights and benefits of the teaching profession.
LPESPL and TSL are the driving force behind the Teachers Union Coordination Committee, which regroups all the public and private teachers unions in Lebanon, and they are committed to keeping it free from political interference and to retaining its independence in working for better protection of rights and acquired interests of public and private teachers.
LPESPL is confident the training will activate and enhance collective union work, which will enable the Lebanese unions to prioritize the social welfare of teachers over partisan concerns.
On the other hand, the TSL president referred in his opening speech to the recent salary increase and its impact on schools. Although TSL welcomes this increase and the retroactive dues, they are aware of the need to coordinate with the educational institutions to find necessary resources to absorb this increase and thus anticipate budgetary changes and prevent a loss in jobs.
LPESPL and TSL thanked EI and UNSA and stressed the importance of forming further partnerships with other unions. Participants received certificates of the training and medals of appreciation were presented to EI and UNSA Education.