ETUCE Committee steps up the preparation of the 2018 ETUCE Special Conference


On 19 to 20 March 2018, the members of the ETUCE Committee met in Brussels for their spring meeting. ETUCE President Christine Blower congratulated David Edwards on his appointment as EI  General Secretary by the Executive Board until the EI Congress 2019, praising Fred Van Leeuwen, Emeritus EI General Secretary for his work. Addressing the ETUCE Committee, David Edwards framed the shared vision for EI, in a world where complexity is increasing at a very fast pace, EI is even more committed “to analyse, realise, contextualise, strategise, communicate and mobilise”, he concluded. Christine Blower then welcomed new ETUCE Committee members Ilze Prizevoite, LIZDA, for the country seat of Latvia, Ronald Gangl, GÖD for the country seat of Austria replacing Helmut Skala, and Ghenadie Donos, ESTUFM, for the country seat of Moldova.

In preparation of the second round of consultation on the EI Review of structures, the ETUCE Committee members exchanged their views on the summary of replies EI head office has circulated for feedback by member organisations for 15 May 2018. In view of the ETUCE Special Conference in Athens on 27-28 November 2018, the Committee members received practical information regarding the venue, deadlines for registration and submitting resolutions and agreed on the draft agenda and the meeting schedule. They  also decided to submit the resolution on the main conference theme and to take forward the resolution prepared by the Standing Committee for Equality for adoption to the ETUCE Special Conference. In the wake of discussions on the future of Europe and the role of education trade unions, the ETUCE Committee discussed the European Union’s initiative on the European Education Area 2025 and the first European Education Summit held in Brussels in January 2018. The Committee members approved the ETUCE Statement on the post-2020 strategy, reflecting on the many challenges for the education sector and the role of education trade unions in contributing to achieving the goals of the Sustainable Development Agenda. ETUCE calls on its member organisations to use the ETUCE Statements to lobby their governments and education authorities in this regard to effectively take the view of teachers and other education personnel in Europe on board. Among the major challenges teachers and other education personnel are facing across Europe, digitalisation in education provides many opportunities for students and education personnel when implemented appropriately taking into account their needs, as endorsed in the ETUCE Position Paper on the new EU Digital Education Action Plan 2020.

In the Status of Women Committee meeting the women delegates discussed and elaborated on the need for further actions to streamline gender issues in the areas of ETUCE work. Recent developments in the European Sectoral Social Dialogue in Education and the mainstreaming of the European Pillar of Social Rights in the European Semester process were discussed. The ETUCE Committee members received a report  on the situation in Turkey and expressed their continued solidarity with the colleagues of EGITIM SEN. They also voiced the need for strong solidarity with education trade unions and the whole public sector in Denmark, that is facing unprecedent disrespect of the right to bargain collectively; the Netherlands and France, where education trade unions are planning upcoming nation-wide strike actions, and with higher education and colleges staff in the UK. The Committee members were happy to learn about the major achievements negotiated for the education sector in Malta.