Education International
Education International

Spain: Unprecedented attack on union representation

published 4 October 2012 updated 10 October 2012

On the occasion of World Teachers’ Day, EI's affiliates in Spain issued a joint statement expressing their indignation at the central government’s attack on the teaching profession in particular and on public education in general.

The Spanish government has put an end to trade unions staff attending trade union matters in the national level.

In June, during the negotiations on the Pacto de Derechos Sindicales(Pact on Trade Union Rights), education unions were led to believe that the trade union permits connected to the Ministry of Education would be maintained, albeit with significant cuts of up to 60 per cent in the personnel dedicated to trade union duties.

Nevertheless, on 13 July, the Council of Ministers approved Royal Decree-Law 20, which does away with the national trade union permits as of 1 October 2012.

Take a stand for your teachers now!

Against this background, and on the ocassion of World Teachers' Day on 5 October, the affiliates of EI in Spain, FECCOO, FETE-UGT, STEs and CSI-CSIF, issued a joint statement expressing their indignation at the central government’s attack on the teaching profession in particular and on public education in general.

“This year, more than ever before, we call on World Teachers’ Day for support for teachers to put a stop to the deterioration of the social and working conditions of teachers, and to the erosion of equality in and the quality of our education system,” the joint document states.

Political manoeuvre

Moreover, trade unions denounce that the cuts imposed on education and professionals for the last two years are endangering the future of Spain. At the present time, investments of more than €4.4 billion in education have been discontinued throughout the country.

“Citing the economic crisis as a pretext, the central government has used ideological and political chicanery to block the social dialogue and to dismantle trade unions,” José Campos, General Secretary of FECCOO, said.

“The Spanish constitution requires the public authorities to guarantee the right to education through the effective participation of all segments that make up the educational action,” stressed General Secretary of FETE-UGT, Carlos López.

International solidarity

In solidarity with the Spanish trade unions, the General Secretary of EI, Fred van Leeuwen, and the Deputy General Secretary, David Edwards, were present in Madrid to attend a press conference on the ocassion of World Teachers Day.

“World Teachers Day is the occasion to celebrate the teaching profession and recognise its relevance, instead of using teachers as scapegoats within the current political and economic climate,” said van Leeuwen.  “Spanish Government ‘reforms’ are damaging democracy at its roots as well as both educational equity and quality.”

Action Plan

EI supports the complaint lodged by the Spanish inter-branch unions, CC.OO and UGT, with the Director General of the International Labour Organisation for violation of workers’ rights.

EI will also present a complaint on the Spanish situation to the Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendation concerning Teachers (CEART). The CEART is a joint project involving UNESCO and the International Labour Organization, to monitor the implementation of the 1966 and 1997 recommendations.

“Spain cannot afford to be on an international black list”, pointed out EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, “we hope that the Spanish Government will be able to understand that.”

EI offers its whole support to Spanish trade unions in defending public education and the teaching profession, to guarantee equal opportunities and progress for the society as a whole.

To read the joint statement of the Spanish trade unions (in English), please click here

To show solidarity with the Spanish trade unions, please sign the Manifesto in Defence of Public Education now! ( www.levantatuvoz.es)