Liaison forum meeting in Belgium
On 3 April, a liaison forum meeting was organised by DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion in Brussels. European cross-sectoral and sectoral social partners shared information on recent developments in social dialogue in their respective fields: topics included the European Commission’s initiatives to increase the attractiveness of vocational education and training.
Marie-Armelle Raverdeau, a European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) intern, attended the event.
ETUCE committee spring meeting in Belgium
From 3-4 April, in Brussels, the new ETUCE Committee held their second meeting since the ETUCE Conference in Belgrade last December. The main topic on the agenda was the preparation of the consultation on EI’s structures, developments on education and training policy, social dialogue, and economic governance.
ETUCE Statement on Copyright in the Digital Single Market
At its meeting on 3-4 April, ETUCE adopted a Statement on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, expressing its views on the proposed European Commission Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.
In its statement, ETUCE reiterated that education is a public good and urged European institutions to promote social dialogue and collective bargaining agreements in the education sector by including social partners as main actors in negotiations on national copyright regulations in education. It also notes that the use of digital materials for learning requires sufficient public investment in an adequate infrastructure and up-to-date digital equipment in schools, as well as teachers’ and researchers’ initial and continuous professional development.
The report of the European Parliament on the Directive on Copyright will be voted in plenary in June 2017. The ETUCE called on its member organisations to lobby MEPs in support of the ETUCE statement.
ETUC Women’s Committee meeting in Belgium
On 4 April, ETUCE contributed to the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) Women’s Committee meeting in Brussels. The main points of discussion concerned the annual 8 March survey and the gender pay and pension gap.
Rossella Benedetti, from UIL Scuola in Italy and Chair of the ETUCE Equality Committee, participated in the meeting.
ETUC Employment and Labour Market Committee meeting
On 6 April, ETUCE contributed to the ETUC Employment and Labour Market Committee meeting in Brussels. The main points of discussion concerned the drafting of the ETUC position on Quality Jobs, the work and contribution to the upcoming European Union Pillar of Social Rights, as well as the collection of feedback and review of the 2017 Country Reports of the European Semester to which ETUCE and its member organisations contributed from the education sector perspective.
ETUCE Coordinator Paola Cammilli participated in the meeting.
BFUG working group meeting in Belgium
From 6-7 April, ETUCE hosted in Brussels the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) working group meeting on Policy development for new European Higher Education Area (EHEA) goals. ETUCE Vice-President Andreas Keller is the working group’s co-chair. This meeting prepared a report to be presented at the Bologna Ministerial meeting.
Danish teacher union delegation’s visit to ETUCE and EI head offices in Belgium
On 25 April, the Executive Board members of the Danish Teacher Unions (DLF) visited ETUCE and EI head offices in Brussels to learn about the latter’s international work. The delegation included DLF President Anders Bondo Christensen, and DLF and ETUCE Vice-President Dorte Lange.
The delegation was welcomed by ETUCE European Director Susan Flocken.
European Pillar of Social Rights
On 26 April, the European Commission unveiled the European Pillar of Social Rights, a long-awaited initiative first announced by Commission President Juncker during his 2015 State of the Union address.
The Pillar, a set of proposals and working documents, reaffirms 20 principles and rights, aimed at improving the living and working conditions of European citizens. Highlights include the proposal for equal rights of parental leave for women and men.
ETUCE issued a press release following the Pillar’s publication, acknowledging the initiative as an encouraging sign of the European Commission’s commitment to social rights. ETUCE also warned that the Pillar’s full completion represents the last chance for the EU to relaunch social Europe and put the interests of the citizens first.
ETUCE’s call for action in Moldova among its member organisations
Over the course of several months, theEducation and Science Trade Union Federation from Moldova, an ETUCE member organisation in Moldova, has been tirelessly fighting for an increase in salary for education personnel. With no progress in this matter, ETUCE urged its member organisations to demonstrate solidarity and unity with education personnel in Moldova via letters, using a template provided, to the Moldovan authorities.
Networking Project Day for project promoters on social dialogue
On 27 April, ETUCE contributed to Social Dialogue Unite, a networking day for project promoters organised by the European Commission.
It presented its current project, “Education Trade Unions for the Teaching Profession. Strengthening the capacity of education trade unions to represent teachers’ professional needs in social dialogue” to sectoral and cross-sectoral social partners, as well as research institutes. The project is co-funded by the European Commission under the social dialogue budget line.
At this networking event, project promoters exchanged experiences and good practices in order to foster mutual learning and achieve a wider dissemination of outcomes.
Ekaterina Efimenko and Eduardo Nadal, ETUCE Programme Officers, attended the event.
2nd joint ITUC/ETUC mission in Turkey
From 3-5 May, ETUCE joined the 2ndInternational Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)/ETUC mission to Ankara. Jaap Wienen, ITUC Deputy General Secretary, and Luca Visentini, ETUC General Secretary, led the delegation that included the ETUC President, representatives from two national confederations – the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) and the British Trade Union Congress (TUC) – as well as the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), and the UNI Global Union and IndustriAll Global Union.
During the mission, the delegates met with the four ITUC/ETUC Turkish confederations - Türk-iş, Hak-iş, DISK and KESK – along with representatives of the main Turkish political parties, the EU delegation and the International Labour Organization (ILO) office, non-government organisations (NGOs) and human rights associations, the Turkish Bar Association and the Ministry of Labour. The delegates also met with Mesut Firat, Eğitim Sen General Secretary, and a delegation of dismissed public workers, including education personnel.
The ETUCE Programme Officer, Valeryia Despaihne, participated in the mission.
ETUI/ETUCE training in VET in Germany
From 4-5 May, 25 vocational education and training (VET) experts of ETUCE’s member organisations from 20 European countries met in Munich for training on ‘Improving skills provisions in VET’. This was the sixth year that the joint training seminar was organised for national VET experts of teacher trade unions, supported by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) and by the financial assistance of the European Commission.
This year, many VET experts came not only from the EU/European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and candidate countries but also from non-EU countries, such as Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Ukraine, and Tajikistan.
The training participants discussed new challenges facing VET teachers and trainers and learned about recent EU policies on skills provision in VET, trainers’ and teachers’ skills and competence development, and supporting VET teachers.
ETUCE Director Susan Flocken, ETUCE Coordinator Agnes Roman, and ETUCE Programme Officer Ekaterina Efimenko participated in the meeting.
European Social Partnership-Round table of education social partners in Portugal
On 8 May, ETUCE and the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE) met with Portuguese social partners in education in Porto at the occasion of a social dialogue round table kicking off the joint-project, “ESSDE [European Sectoral Social Dialogue in Education] capacity building III”.
The social partners reflected on opportunities and challenges in social dialogue at national and European level and highlighted key obstacles for their involvement in the shaping and implementation of policies in the education sector. They also discussed the role of the social partners in promoting the teaching profession, including through initial training and continuous professional development. The meeting succeeded in fostering the integration of the national social partners into the ESSDE.
Paola Cammilli, ETUCE coordinator, chaired the meeting.