On 12 January 2018, František Dobšík, Czech and Moravian Trade Union of Workers in Education (ČMOS PŠ), ETUCE member organisation in Czech Republic, together with the Trade Union of Higher and Academic Education, had a successful meeting with the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Andrej Babiš, and the Minister of Education of the Czech Republic, Robert Plaga. The main topic of discussion was a request for increased funding of education and better rules for the financing of education, science and research in the country.

On the occasion of 8th March 2018, ETUCE celebrates the international day of women. ETUCE supports FE.CCOO and FeSP-UGT in their strike and actions to demand stronger equality and more spaces of respect for women in the education sector. Both ETUCE member organisations call for a 2-hour strike in each working shift and claim different reasons for the # 8M strike. In particular, according to data of the 4th quarter of the Spanish Employment Agency (EPA) of 2017, the gender gap in the matter of employment persists.

Responding to the UN campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2018 #PressforProgress, Europe focuses on the future seeking the ways to ensure more women and girls in leadership, media and ICT, and to advance equality in the digital age. On 8 March 2018, the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality is holding an inter-parliamentary committee meeting to discuss information and communication technologies as a powerful tool for advancing gender equality and providing women and girls with new opportunities, as well as means of expression and participation.

Despite of the EU signing the international Convention on preventing and combating violence against women in 2017, sexual and physical violence and psychological abuse against women is still happening across the EU on everyday basis. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the European Commission released a video Some voices cannot be heard, yours can aimed to raise awareness about everyday violence against women among those who overlook it or consider it harmless or normal, and to encourage people to speak out against it.

Teacher training should be defined by teachers’ needs and not employers’ interests, as well as based on a good balance between theory and practice and lead to career and salary progress. These are the conclusions of the second regional seminar of the ETUCE project “Education Trade Unions for the Teaching Profession - Strengthening the capacity of education trade unions to represent teachers’ professional needs in social dialogue” which took place in Berlin, Germany, on 5-6 March 2018.

On 1-2 March 2018, ETUCE member organisation SONK in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia invited the European Director Susan Flocken to visit its regional branch leaders and to discuss current challenges that the union and its affiliates are facing at national and regional level. Among the most pressing challenges count the low level of effective social dialogue, the increased number of young highly educated and trained people leaving the country to work abroad (brain drain) as well as recent dismissals of teachers in early childhood education and replacement by teachers on short-term contracts.