To amplify the argument and demands of education trade unions to fully establish social dialogue and collective bargaining in order to drive a necessary pay rise for education workers, ETUCE joined the European trade union movement’s campaign “Europe needs a pay rise. It’s time for our recovery”.

In response to the financial crisis of 2008 and the sharp fall in investment across Europe, the public sector was often used for unilateral adjustments in view of reducing public debt and deficit levels due to strict budgetary constraints, often at the expense of social partners’ involvement. The decline in social dialogue justified by more imminent economic concerns and the reduction of the scope and/or freezing of collective bargaining has led to a deterioration in teachers’ working conditions, pay and rewards.

Among the major consequences:

  • In the large majority of European countries, many public sector workers across Europe, including in the education sector, were directly affected by pay cuts or pay freezes imposed by governments;
  • At the same time, recruitment freezes and employment cuts left many teachers and educators to face higher workloads to maintain the quality of education with fewer workers and increasing societal demands;
  • More constraints to the daily work of teachers and other education personnel resulted in a declining attractiveness of the teaching profession, and a decline in the retention rate;
  • A new ‘efficiency’ narrative and business-like practices in the management of schools backed the drive towards performance-based remuneration for education workers, adding pressure  on the professionals in the sector.

In support of the campaign, ETUCE expressed its solidarity with its member organisations denouncing, inter alia, low funding and pay for teachers and educators, advocating and/or negotiating for a pay rise, respect of the right of collective bargaining  e.g. in Czech Republic in September 2017, Spain in March 2017, Moldova in March, April 2017, the United Kingdom in May 2017, Slovenia in October and February 2017 and Denmark in April and May 2018.

At the ETUCE Committee on 19 to 20 March 2018 in Brussels, the members of the ETUCE Bureau further contributed to the campaign by producing a short video.

Susan Flocken, ETUCE European Director expresses clearly “ ETUCE stands for strong collective bargaining, meaningful and better social dialogue for teachers in Europe. We stand for decent working conditions, salaries and pensions”.