News

This year's edition of the annual Eurydice report on teachers' and school heads' salaries and allowances shows that about half of the 33 surveyed European countries have applied salary cuts or salary freezes for public employees during the period 2009-2014. In these countries, teachers' purchasing power in 2014 is still below the 2009 level. Furthermore, the report finds that the basic salaries for new teachers in primary and lower secondary education are lower than GDP per capita in around 75% of the countries investigated.

On 13 to 14 October 2014, the members of the ETUCE Committee met in Brussels for their autumn meeting. With a minute's silence the Committee commemorated the deceased colleagues and fellow unionists, Veronica Rodriguez, ATL, UK and Agnes Breda, UNSA-Education, France, and staff member of the EI head office in Brussels, whose engagement for education and the teacher union movement outlasts their departure. Resuming the meeting, the ETUCE President, welcomed the new ETUCE Committee members Helen Van den Berg, CNVO, replacing Cees Kuiper, for the country seat of The Netherlands and Kamuran Karaca, Egitem-Sen, replacing Mehmet Bozgeyik for the country seat of Turkey.

The 7th round of the TTIP negotiations between the EU and the US closed on 3 October 2014. Education and other public services are becoming an increasingly controversial topic in the context of TTIP. During the joint press conference both the US and the EU chief negotiators , addressed specifically the issue of public services and claimed that public services would not be affected by TTIP. The EU's chief negotiator, Ignacio Bercero, pointed out that especially trade unions have voiced their concerns around public services. Taking this as a sign of success, ETUCE continues to lobby for the carve-out of education in particular and public services in general.

The third Education, Training and Youth Forum of the European Commission took place on 9-10 October 2014 and brought together stakeholders and social partners to discuss on  challenges of implementing and on identifying the future priorities of the Strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET2020). Martin Rømer, ETUCE European Director, brought the needs of the European teachers and researchers to the attention of participants of the forum during a panel discussion.

A strike in FYROM's education sector announced by ETUCE's Macedonian member organisation SONK on 29 September 2014 was averted at the very last moment. Following ETUCE's written intervention at the Macedonian Ministry of Education and ETUCE's ad hoc meeting with SONK in Skopje, the Ministry had suddenly agreed to return to the negotiation table only on the very day before the expected strike.

On 1 October 2014 the ETUCE held the 4th Round Table Meeting in Vilnius to promote social dialogue in the education sector. The meeting was conducted at a very opportune and important time as the trade unions and the Ministry of Education and Science are currently in comprehensive negotiations about reforms of the education financing model, the employment structure and teachers' salaries. The meeting was attended by the Lithuanian Minister of Education and Science, external experts on social dialogue in the Baltic Region, and representatives from the Lithuanian social partners.