The new Gender Equality Index focuses on work-life balance. The report shows that family responsibilities are more of a barrier for women’s social progress than for men. This is not just about childcare responsibilities, as rising disability rates and aging populations in the EU create more demand for long-term care. ETUCE calls for education that breaks down gender stereotypes around family care and educational choices, and better funding for flexible education options that let women access lifelong learning. The education sector itself must also ensure a decent work-life balance that gives women workers space to succeed.

ETUCE was present throughout the European Vocational Education and Training Week, which took place on 14-18 October. This fourth edition of the VET Skills Week was organised in Helsinki jointly by the European Commission and the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. A particular highpoint was a seminar on the changing role of VET teachers and trainers, where our director Susan Flocken was a speaker.

The Central and Eastern European Roundtable is an ETUCE event that takes place every two years, gathering education trade unionists from Central and Eastern European countries.This year the CEE Roundtable 2019 will take place in Tbilisi, Georgia on 28-30 October, with trade union renewal and advocacy on European and international policy at the top of the agenda.

ETUCE is supporting its member organisation SBASHK as it provides a series of trainings for teachers in Kosovo. Two programmes have now been delivered to a total of 59 participants, covering media education and skills for strategic planning in education policy.

Teachers in primary and secondary have been on strike since 10 October demanding a decent pay rise which recognises the high workload and complexity of the profession. ETUCE stands on solidarity with the Croatian member organisations and supports their fair demand for a salary increase of on average 6.11 % for all employees in primary and secondary education.

Education personnel are exposed to occupational hazards which can have a disastrous impact on their physical and mental health. These include dangerous substances, which are the focus of this year’s European Week for Safety and Health at Work. Science teachers are not the only ones in danger from toxic chemicals – schools across Europe are still full of asbestos.