Education trade unions in Europe kick off ambitious priorities for quality education and elect new leadership


At the ETUCE Regional Conference in Belgrade, Serbia, 6-8 December 2016, the European Education Trade Union movement kicked off new policies for empowering education trade unions as key for quality education. 350 education trade union delegates from 131 national education trade unions at all levels of education from 48 European countries debated and voted on a new Work Programme 2017-2020 and several resolutions, to face the challenges education personnel is confronted with in current times.

Renewing their call for increasing public investment, effective social dialogue and teachers and education personnel professional rights and fair working conditions, delegates adopted the following resolutions and policy papers:

The Resolution on Advocacy on Early Childhood Education is referred to the ETUCE Committee.

Education in Europe is still facing difficult times, with growing disparities and access inequalities which come at dangerous times when extremisms, intolerance and xenophobia take their stance across Europe”, said ETUCE President Christine Blower, “Teachers and educators bear a big responsibility for bringing individuals up in a democratic society, but their role in society is far from being adequately recognised. Their rights, professional and working conditions must be recognised, respected and promoted and their standard of living improved if we share the belief that education is crucial for the development of democratic, fair and just societies”.

Education trade union leaders in Europe elected a new leadership team for the next four years, confirming Christine Blower (NUT) as ETUCE President and 6 Vice Presidents, leading the work of a new ETUCE Committee.

The new ETUCE Bureau is composed of:

  • Christine Blower (NUT, UK), ETUCE President
  • Odile Cordelier (SNES-FSU, France), ETUCE Vice president
  • Andreas Keller (GEW, Germany), ETUCE Vice president
  • Dorte Lange (DLF, Denmark), ETUCE Vice president
  • Trudy Kerperien (AOb, the Netherlands), ETUCE Vice president
  • Galina Merkulova (ESEUR, Russian Federation), ETUCE Vice president
  • Branimir Štrukelj (ESTUS, Slovenia), ETUCE Vice president

The new team has been elected by delegates from 131 ETUCE member organisation across 48 European countries. The new leaders take up their posts immediately following the Conference. The work of Martin Rømer, former ETUCE General Secretary 2002-2010 and ETUCE European Director 2010-2016 has been praised and the ETUCE Regional Conference has applauded Mr Rømer for the many years leading the organisation. Several hallmarks of his leadership were recognised, including the initiation of the European Social Dialogue in Education. Mr Rømer’s achievement in building and preserving unity and solidarity among education workers and their unions across years of deep fragmentation and isolation brought about by the economic crisis were highly valued. Ms Susan Flocken has been appointed as new ETUCE European Director. She takes up her duties as from  January 2017.

Videos of the Conference available here.