The Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees (LIZDA), ETUCE’s member organisation in Latvia, reported that the Ministry of Education and Science of Latvia took the decision to reorganise the Riga Teacher and Education Academy (RPIVA) by merging it with the University of Latvia by the end of August 2017 without any prior consultation with education social partners. LIZDA considers the Latvian authorities’ action aimed at liquidating the RPIVA with its eight branches all over the country not beneficial for education personnel nor for students in Latvia. The Ministry justifies its decision by claiming that it chose the best option in order to focus financial resources on the improvement of education personnel’s education and training in Latvia.

The Free Trade Union Federation in Education, FSLE, one of ETUCE’s member organisations in Romania, reported great concerns about spillover and disruptive effects of the 21 legislative decrees adopted by the Turkish government on the Turkish education personnel regardless of their place of residence.

The Independent Union of Research and Higher Education Employees of Croatia, IURHEEC, one of ETUCE’s member organisations in Croatia, reported that with the signing of the temporary collective agreement for public services employees, trade unions, including the Croatian Teachers' Union, CTU, and the Independent Trade Union of Workers in Secondary Education of Croatia, ITUWEC, ETUCE’s member organisations, gained some breathing room to negotiate a quality collective agreement. The signing of the temporary agreement took place last Thursday, 9 March 2017, following a two-month break and a serious dispute between the Croatian government and trade unions, among which three are member organisations of ETUCE.

The Higher Education and Research Standing Committee (HERSC) members of ETUCE met in Brussels on 14-15 March 2017 for their biannual HERSC meeting. More than 40 delegates representing 26 European countries attended the event.  HERSC is a permanent body of ETUCE, which represents 45 ETUCE member organisations  with Higher Education and Research staff.

In mid-February 2017, the Italian government adopted a reform of the unemployment aid scheme called DIS-COLL. With the adoption of the “Milleproroghe” Decree, PhD students who receive grants and researchers hired under short-time contracts can now benefit of temporary unemployment aid – a novelty for individuals conducting research under precarious conditions. This, however, involves a higher contribution to the social security fund from their net salary.

In a series of parliamentary hearings on the precarious situation of education support personnel in Portugal, launched today, 9 March 2017, FNE demands the legal recognition of non-teaching employee’s profiles, the creation of career paths for non-teaching employees and the launch of negotiations with the Ministry of Education to that effect.