ETUCE project towards a stronger European sectoral social dialogue in education – ESSDE capacity building III (2017-2018)
Since the launch of the European Sectoral Social Dialogue in Education, the promotion of their dialogue has been a continuous priority for ETUCE and EFEE, reflecting in the successful implementation of two social dialogue capacity building projects in the last few years. Based on the assumption that a successful social dialogue is key to promoting quality education and to improving the working life of teachers and education personnel, ETUCE and EFEE wished to move forward with the project “European Sectoral Social Partners in Education striving for sustainable influence on European education policy building through successful social dialogue. The ESSDE capacity building project III”. The two-year project (2017-2018) – co-funded by the European Commission - addresses the need for stronger and more effective results at European level, which could better serve the member organisations at national level. Such aim will be pursued through further strengthening of the links between the national and the European sectoral social dialogue and further advancing of the debates within the ESSDE with valuable exchanges and contributions. Also, this third project moves to the next stage and includes countries where social dialogue has slipped down to the policy agenda in the face of more imminent economic concerns as well as countries with a strong social dialogue tradition. Hence, the member organisations in Denmark (DLF), Finland (OAJ), Ireland (IFUT), Italy (UIL Scuola), Luxembourg (SNE), Malta (MUT), Netherlands (AOb) and Portugal (FNE) are partners to this new ETUCE project initiative. The project will be carried out in close cooperation with EFEE. The project partners, constituting the project Advisory Group, are expected to play an active role during the whole two years of the project.
The objective is twofold: next to further deepening the knowledge of the functioning of the ESSDE, the new project focuses also on the strengthening of the dialogue at EU level by providing the member organisations of ETUCE and EFEE with the opportunity to actively feed in the ESSDE work programme. This will be done via exchanges and discussions on topics agreed upon by the European social partners in their work programme in the course eight social partners national round table meetings. The meetings will benefit from an external expert who will support the social partners in their debates.
The project consists of eight national round social dialogue round table meetings and one closing conference for all ETUCE and EFEE member organisations. The project activities will be guided by the Advisory Group. The closing conference serves to evaluate the project, provide a platform for additional stakeholders to be informed about the project’s outcome and the further disseminate best practice examples. In order to promote national social dialogue and the further development of the European sectoral social dialogue in Education, ETUCE and EFEE plan to develop a joint declaration emphasizing this objective and proposing concrete steps towards this goal. The project partners commit to guarantee a wide spread dissemination of the results, to guarantee a multiplier effect to the sectoral social partners in education at all levels, in order to sustainably influence the European education policies to assure high quality education for the benefit of education personnel, school leaders, students and the school community as a whole.
ETUCE project on the European sectoral social dialogue in education capacity building II (2015-2016)
The joint project “European Sectoral Social Partners in Education promoting the potentials of their dialogue through knowledge transfer and training. The ESSDE capacity building II” has been carried out in the context of the current European Sectoral Social Dialogue in Education (ESSDE) work programme. The strengthening of the European Sectoral Social Dialogue is a recurring topic for ETUCE and EFEE, which led them to implement a follow-up of the ESSDE capacity building project I. The success of this former project opened the way to continue to work to build the capacity of national education social partners to conduct social dialogue as a way to improve the European Education Social Dialogue. The project targeted education trade unions and employer organisations in countries with a more recent social dialogue traditions or where social dialogue has slipped down in the policy agenda in the face of more immediate economic concerns. The project has been conducted by the European Sectoral Social Partners in Education. Alongside ETUCE and EFEE, 7 national education trade unions participated to the project advisory group as project partners: FeSP-UGT (Spain), SEB (Bulgaria), PSZ-SEHUN (Hungary), OELMEK (Cyprus), LIZDA (Latvia), EEPU (Estonia), NSZZ Solidarność (Poland). The main aim of this project on social dialogue and capacity building is to build upon the lessons learnt from the first project and to promote social dialogue at European and national level even more in depth, as well as to strengthen the links between the two levels. In this context, eight round table meetings in seven EU countries (Spain, Bulgaria, Hungary, Cyprus, Latvia, Estonia and Poland) and one EU-candidate country (Serbia), two Advisory Group (AG) meetings and one final conference have been organized, conducted and evaluated.
Specifically, the project objectives were: to increase the knowledge about the ESSDE, to extend the involvement of national social partners and therefore to strengthen the national and European Sectoral Social Dialogue in Education. In order to reach these aims, the project activities focused on enhancing the quality of the dialogue, fostering the understanding of the mechanisms, structures, incentives and representation functions of the ESSDE. As a result social partners used the opportunity of the national round table meetings to improve the dialogue at national level and to inform all the levels of their organisations about the ESSDE, in order to secure a multiplier effect. On the other hand an exchange of information has been facilitated, which has further allow ETUCE and EFEE to tailor-made their work on the member organisations’ needs at European level, so as to guarantee a higher effectiveness of the ESSDE.
The project activities also fostered the dialogue and mutual trust among education social partners, facilitated the exchange of best practice experiences, fostered cooperation and also raised awareness on cross sectoral issues, like the economic crisis, to which all member organisations are exposed. The project has a long-term, sustainable aim, since it lays the basis to further build the capacity of social partners for an effective social dialogue.
In November 2016, after nearly two years of extensive work on the project by the sectoral social partners in education, the ESSDE plenary on the 8th November adopted the Joint EFEE/ETUCE statement on Promoting the potentials of the European Sectoral Social Dialogue in Education. This Joint Statement underpins the commitment of ETUCE and EFEE to further improve and promote the European Sectoral Social Dialogue in Education.
ETUCE project on the European sectoral social dialogue in education (2014)
Four years after the launch of the ESSDE, the ETUCE wished to draft a state of play. In recent years, profoundly influenced by the economic crisis and the implementation of austerity measures, social dialogue has been under pressure. Based on the assumption that the quality of the European social dialogue could be improved, the ETUCE wished to assess the past work, identify paths for improvement and perspectives to foster the European social dialogue. The project “Promoting the potentials of the European sectoral social dialogue in education by addressing new challenges and exploring experience and knowledge” -supported by the European Commission - is set against the need to promote the sectoral social dialogue in education both at European and national level. Today’s key challenges of the European social dialogue in the education sector are threefold:
- Facilitating the understanding of the European social dialogue;
- Facilitating the interaction between the national and European level;
- Identifying perspectives to foster the European social dialogue.
Through this project, the ETUCE wished to focus on the improvement of the European social dialogue structures in the education sector. Its overall objective was to expand the knowledge of the social partners in the area of industrial relations; with the long-term goal to further promote the European social dialogue in education (as stated in 2011 in the joint work program of the European social partners).
The project included a report as part of this larger project. Led by an Advisory Group (AG) composed of representatives of five New Member States (Croatia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Romania) and one Candidate Country (Montenegro), the ETUCE organised six round table meetings in each of these countries. As such, an effective exchange of experiences and knowledge transfer amongst ESSDE delegates was facilitated.
To complement these meetings, the ETUCE wished to concentrate on the promotion of the ESSDE’s existing potentials and the on further improvement of the effective functioning between the national and the European-level social dialogue. To do so, the ETUCE commissioned the research and consultancy agency SECAFI (part of Groupe Alpha, France) as an external expert. With the aim of facilitating social dialogue, SECAFI provided expertise towards employee representatives & trade union organizations. As such, SECAFI provided the ETUCE with the requested external and objective scientific perspective and expertise on the three issues at stake within the scope of this project:
- Map the national affiliates’ current topics of interest, actions and organisation.
- Identify the national affiliates’ knowledge of the European social dialogue in place.
- Identify the national affiliates’ needs and expectations towards the ETUCE & the European social dialogue.
This report compiles the results of this research on the European sectoral social dialogue in the education sector (ESSDE) and is available in English, French, Croatian, Lithuanian, Slovak, Slovenian and Romanian.
Development of teacher unions' expertise (2013-2014)
ETUCE was granted the project "Development of teacher unions' expertise on exiting the crisis through quality education" by the European Commission-DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion for the period 1/12/2013-30/11/2014, to contribute to address the effects of the financial and economic crisis in the Education sector. This project is a unique opportunity for ETUCE and its members in project partner countries to develop a tool which will have a lasting impact on all the stakeholders in education and on society as a whole at national as well as at European level.
The economic and financial crisis has brought hardship and unprecedented challenges to teachers, education employees, parents and students at any level in Europe. In countries that have been significantly affected by the crisis national trade unions have struggled to come to terms with effective responses to addressing the effects of the crisis, often without a deeper understanding of industrial relations' developments in other affected countries. The project consists of a comparative case study analysis to be conducted in 5 crisis-affected countries: Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Representatives from project partners from these countries - OLME (Greece), TUI (Ireland), FLC-CGIL (Italy), FNE (Portugal) and F.E.CC.OO (Spain) - constitute the Project Advisory Group.
The overall objective of this project is to contribute to addressing the overarching EU employment and social policy challenges relating to the exit from the crisis through improved expertise in industrial relations and social dialogue among teacher trade unions.
To reach this aim, ETUCE has chosen an innovative approach: the production of a film documentary.
ETUCE believes that this film documentary will:
- promote knowledge on the real effects of the crisis on the school community and on society in general,
- further the collection and use of information on exits from the crisis in national industrial relations' contexts,
- diffuse the knowledge on effective practices through interviews with key actors on best practice in these countries.
The film documentary will be used as expertise-enhancing tool by ETUCE, national teacher trade unions, and social partners at both national and European level. The production of the film was carried out in the five selected countries between March and May 2014.
The film documentary was presented during the final Project Conference in September 2014. The Project Conference, including a hearing on quality education with representatives of the European Commission and Members of the European Parliament, took place in the year of elections to the European Parliament and will bring together up to 70 participants from a geographically balanced perspective.
The project is ongoing until the end of 2014. More information as well as the final project documents will be uploaded soon.
The development of the teaching profession in times of the crisis (2012-2013)
ETUCE was granted a project by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, on the development of the teaching profession in times of the economic crisis. The project lasted from 20 December 2012 – 19 December 2013 (12 months) and was entitled:
"The development of the teaching profession in times of the economic crisis as a key task for social partners in education. Finding joint strategies to tighten the links between education and the labour market."
Social Partners in education have been concerned about the increasing bottlenecks in the education systems in many European countries as a result of demographic changes and reduced financial investment. The European Commission's very recent report on education in Europe 2012 warns of the risks of further shortages of specialised teachers. At the same time, the European Commission has rightly identified education as one of the key sectors for economic recovery and growth. There is a need for the European sectoral social partners in education to support the entry of more specialised teachers into the labour market. This project took into consideration the need for the education systems and the economic development in Europe to address the shortage of workforce in the education sector as the key for the EU member states to meet the EU 2020 Strategy goals.
The project overall objective was to further raise public awareness on the impacts of the dramatic shortage of qualified teachers for core subjects. The teaching profession suffers from a lack of status which has worsened during the years of the economic crisis. The project intended to make visible that such new trends have a far-reaching impacts on other sectors and on the whole labour market. The project addressed to national and European employment policy makers and emphasised the necessity to invest more into education in order to reach the EU 2020 goals.
The current trends go against the core targets of the EU 2020 strategies for Growth and Employment both in employment and education. Also, it comes at times when youth unemployment in Europe has reached a new peak. Many young people in Europe are neither in employment, education or training (NEET). In the light of the Council meeting in February 2012, where the Ministers for Education discussed the relationship between education measures and youth unemployment, this project will also trigger the concerns of pupils and parents about prospects of the future of young people in Europe.
In a previous project, "Recruitment and Retention in the education sector, a matter of social dialogue" the European social partners in education have already identified some key issues related to recent problems about the recruitment and retention of teachers. In order to support the sustainable consolidation of the European social partners continuous work on the improvement of the working environment in education this new project intends to set a strong link to the previous project and to follow up on the basis of the achieved results within the current project which will be summarised at the final conference in September 2012. The project partners undertook a deeper analysis of the reasons for the profession's growing lack of attractiveness.
The project results shall support the future work of education employers and teacher trade unions in Europe. They have been asked to commit to an improvement of the image and attractiveness of the teaching profession.
Recruitment and retention in the education sector (2011-2012)
In 2012, the ETUCE worked on the following SD project: Recruitment and Retention in the Education Sector, a matter of Social Dialogue
ETUCE was granted - in collaboration with EFEE - a project on recruitment and retention of teachers by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. The project was launched in September 2011 and continued for a year.
The objectives were to examine the current situation and existing national policies regarding recruitment and retention in the education sector in order to develop a joint approach among the social partners.
With the support of the Commission, the project entailed the following:
- An extensive study with a questionnaire-based survey covering all members in the 27 EU countries
- a substantial review of current literature within the field
- four case studies conducted in four EU member countries
- Two regional seminars with the purpose of qualifying the analysis, discussing the findings and creating synergies between European social dialogue sectorial committees.
- A final report on the challenges regarding recruitment and retention in the education sector pointing the way for a joint approach
- A follow-up conference to present the project's outcome to the social partners.
The project also supports the work of the European Sectoral Social Dialogue working group on demographic challenges as well as creates synergy between the education sector and other sectors at EU level.
Outcome of the project
The four country case studies:
Based on the observations and conclusions which resulted from the joint project, joint recommendations were elaborated by the European Sectoral Social Dialogue in Education (ESSDE) and adopted at the ESSDE Plenary meeting on 8 November 2012.