ETUCE Committee holds multilingual online videoconference


In reaction to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, ETUCE successfully shifted its June 2020 meeting online. Thanks to cutting edge videoconference technology more than 50 participants across the entire European region were able to join the three-hour meeting, with the possibility to hear live interpretation in five languages. Although it is regrettable that we were not able to meet face-to-face, we were still able to have fruitful debates and complete our vital statutory business.

The main issue on the agenda was the Covid-19 pandemic itself, and participants adopted a new ETUCE statement setting out a long-term vision for the education sector after the pandemic: The Road to Recovery. This statement was released soon after the meeting in concert with an ETUC day of action encouraging EU leaders to approve an ambitious economic recovery package.

The other COVID-19 topic was the consequences for the ETUCE Conference scheduled for the end of the year. There is still little certainty about how the pandemic, and government reactions, will evolve over the next few months. However, an event as large as the ETUCE Conference must be planned in detail many months ahead, so a decision had to be made now. The ETUCE Secretariat had explored the legal and financial implications of various courses of action, which we presented to the Committee. Eventually it was decided that the “least worst” option was to split the Conference into a shorter online-only event covering the legal statutory business, which will take place on 1-2 December 2020, and a physical conference in Brussels in the summer of 2021, where participants will have broader debates about the next few years of ETUCE’s work.

Committee members had an initial discussion on the European Commission’s initiative for an EU Directive on minimum wages and collective bargaining. They also discussed developments in the Brexit process, expressing concern about the ambiguity of recent news and the risk of the UK leaving the EU without agreement was again a possible scenario.

Finally, it was announced that the ETUCE Secretariat will be moving to new premises in Brussels along with the EI Secretariat. Further details of the new address will be shared soon.