Education trade unions face an ageing membership and potential decline in affiliation among younger and underrepresented groups. We need to regather our strength by increasing the activist base and members’ involvement in union structures and activities. ETUCE’s project on trade union renewal, YOUR TURN!, brings education trade unions together to explore the meaning and practice of a revitalised movement.

This week in Rome, union representatives from nine countries across southern Europe showed that there is real hope with their clear analysis and practical examples of how we can transform trade unions for a changing world.

Trade unions values like solidarity and equality are as fundamental as ever. Likewise, our role in collective bargaining and social dialogue is still vital for a decent labour market. But a changing context is bringing new challenges, so trade unions need to renew our approach to stay relevant in educators’ lives and leverage their right to organise. This is urgent if we are to improve the status and working conditions of our profession in order to attract and retain teachers to deliver fair and quality education for all.

ETUCE’s project YOUR TURN! is gathering data and concrete examples of innovative union activities for trade union renewal in the education sector. A series of regional seminars give ETUCE member organisations the chance to explore how renewal could look in their national context and tradition. This week in Rome, participants heard about research on the changing educational labour market and its impact on union membership and relevance. We also heard case studies from trade unions who are addressing emerging challenges with new approaches. These unions are engaging and empowering workers through campaigns and new ideas, and finding new ways to reach out to precarious and underrepresented categories of staff.

YOUR TURN! Teachers for Trade Union Renewal Workshop — 25-26 November 2019, Rome)

A series of interactive workshops let participants explore ideas about what trade union renewal means and what it would look like in their own countries. It was clear that trade union renewal will need new techniques in communications and leadership. But is also means bringing unions closer to their membership in the workplace, building industrial power through members who are more engaged and a union that listens more closely and responds to their concerns.

With the seminar beginning on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we were proud to be hosted by the Casa Internazionale delle Donne - the International House of Women. This unique centre hosts 30 organisations that defend and promote women's rights and wellbeing, but is currently under attack from the municipal authorities.