Italy: October is going to be a hot month for education unions


The month of October is going to mark the beginning of a very “hot autumn” for the Italian education sector. After a long period of protests, the three ETUCE affiliated trade unions announced through a joint public note, that starting from the month of October they will organize several events to discuss, to criticise and to raise public awareness on the limits and unconstitutional provisions of the new law that regulates the education sector at all levels but the higher education.

Having tried to enter into a dialogue with the government to discuss the new law concerning the school system and to ask for the renewal of the collective agreement, facing the determination of the government to successfully apply the reform, the trade unions kicked off a period of mobilization against this reform which according to them will deteriorate the Italian education quality and make school less democratic and equal.

This law foresees the appointment of head teachers. It includes powers that could make schools dangerously dependent from the decision of a single person without regard to the constitutional provisions on teachers' autonomy. After several years of funding cuts in the education sector, this law additionally aims to deprive collective agreements of their meaning and consequently  to deprive trade unions of their role in negotiations. Despite the European Court of Justice’s judgement, it does not completely solve the problem of the temporary teachers. On 26 November 2014, the European Court of Justice had judged that the Italian government had the duty to regularly employ all teachers working under temporary contracts for a period longer than 36 months. The trade unions estimated that nearly 300.000 workers were concerned. The teacher unions still seek for a dialogue with the government to improve this reform and to avoid dangerous consequences on the Italian education system.

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