Today, 8 March 2019, women across Europe, and around the world, are taking to the streets to mark International Women’s Day (IWD). The theme of this year’s campaign is #balanceforbetter, and focuses on the creation of a gender-balanced future where women are equally represented in the labour market and in positions of leadership. Likewise, UNWomen have chosen “think equal, build smart, innovate for change” for this year’s celebration, aimed at shedding light on innovative ways to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women.

On 6 and 7 March 2019, Egitim Sen organises international symposium “Education Trade Unions, Rights, Freedoms and Governance” in Ankara, Turkey.Around 25 representatives from member organisations, including from Cyprus, Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Greece, the United Kingdom and the USA are to contribute to comprehensive discussions and share good practices on, among other things, education policies and governance.

ETUCE member organisation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, SONK reports about ongoing protest actions to demand teachers’ pay rise across the country.According to the education trade union, the current average wage in the country is 420 Euro while primary and secondary teacher’s salary is 350 Euro despite the salary increase of 5% in October 2018, not to mention the fact that salaries of other education personnel are close to the country’s minimum wage. Furthermore, SONK informs about the lack of social dialogue and, worse yet, pressure asserted by trade union representatives.

As it was reported early this week on the EI website, last Sunday night, on 3 March 2019, public service unions, including ETUCE member organisations, succeeded to reach an agreement on the salaries for 800.000 employees of the “Bundesländer”, the German federal states. This includes 200.000 employees working in German public schools, out of whom about 150.000 teachers and other pedagogic personnel, 170.000 researchers and university teachers and 30.000 early childhood educators and social workers.

Higher Education trade unionists and representatives from 20 European countries gathered on 21-22 February in Brussels 2019 for Higher Education and Research Standing Committee meeting. Further to the resolution proposed by HERSC at ETUCE’s Special Conference in November 2018, this meeting was the occasion to discuss the challenges pertaining to academic freedom as well as ways to strengthen the fundamental values of higher education institutions across Europe.

How can social partners contribute to ensuring quality, innovative and inclusive approaches to teaching and learning in higher education and research institutions? What are the main gaps and needs for the social partners to address in order to build their capacity for an effective collegial governance and social dialogue at all levels? Could an effective social dialogue enhance the rights and conditions of academic staff as well as, the quality of higher education across Europe? How far precarious, short-term, performance-based employment contracts and casualization of teachers and researchers in higher education affect educational opportunities for learners?