ETUCE member organisation SONK has been demanding a decent pay rise for teachers and other education personnel, whose salaries were below the national average. After a warning strike in September 2019 and tough negotiations, the North Macedonian government has agreed to SONK’s demands.

The members of the ETUCE Committee convened on 5-6 November 2019, situated between the EI World Congress and the run-up to the 2020 ETUCE Conference. Welcoming the new Committee members Anna Maria Gunnarsdóttir, KI, Iceland and Aigul Mukasheva, KTUESW, Kazakhstan, ETUCE President, Christine Blower, congratulated PSZ, Hungary, representative Zsuzsanna Szabo and NASUWT, United Kingdom, representative Jennifer Moses for their unions’ strong and continued commitment for quality education on the occasion of both unions’ 100th anniversary.

Education trade unions from across Central and Eastern Europe have issued a bold pledge to stand together in their efforts to shape European and international policy. This year’s CEE Roundtable was hosted by our Georgian member organisation EFSTUG, welcoming 70 union activists alongside ministers and EU representatives. We developed plans and practices for international union solidarity, trade union renewal and the role of education trade unions in education policy making.

Schools in the Netherlands are struggling to pay their way, while a teacher shortage is getting worse and worse. The government offered a one-time €460 million boost, but teachers are standing firm for structural increases in funding that can preserve the profession and guarantee quality education for all in the Netherlands.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science is under new leadership. ETUCE’s member organisation TUESWU met the recently appointed minister and the Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Science and Innovations. TUESWU expressed concern about the draft budget for 2020, which could lead to 3000 school closures, and demanded decent pay and working conditions for teaching professionals.

ETUCE is increasingly concerned about reports from Northern Syria. Recent incursions by Turkish forces are having a disastrous impact on students, schools, education workers. The closure or destruction of schools creates chaos in children’s education, and the displacement or flight of Kurdish families will have a negative impact on schools and teachers across the region. The consequences of the current situation could last for years. We strongly condemn the use of military force against civilian targets like schools and call for an immediate end to the violence.