ETUCE Committee under the new mandate: COVID-19 and solidarity actions on the agenda


On 29-30 March 2021, the members of the ETUCE Committee met online for the first full ETUCE Committee under this new mandate. ETUCE President, Larry Flanagan opened the meeting, welcoming the newly elected members for this term of office, including the new country seat representatives on the ETUCE Committee from Croatia (Sanja Šprem - CTU), Malta (Anthony Casaru - MUT) and Turkey (Nejla Kurul - EGITIM-SEN). The ETUCE President congratulated Lies Van Rompaey (COV - Belgium) on her nomination as Chair of the Status of Women Committee, which gathers the female members of the ETUCE Committee.

Following the proposal from the Status of Women, the ETUCE Committee adopted a statement on Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention supporting the Turkish member organisation EGITIM-SEN's call for an urgent action. In this statement, ETUCE reminds that the Istanbul Convention stands as the first international agreement recognising violence against women and girls as a human rights violation and is an effective legislative tool to empower women and girls and protect their fundamental rights.

One of the main points on the agenda was the preparation of the ETUCE Extraordinary Conference on 5 – 6 July 2021. This Conference will deal with the remaining content-related decisions of the quadrennial ETUCE Conference under the theme “For an education-led recovery”. Considering the likelihood of continued travel restrictions due to the pandemic, the Committee members decided that this Extraordinary Conference will be held virtually in conjunction with the Central Eastern European Roundtable on 7 – 8 July 2021. The Committee also submitted for adoption by the Conference draft resolutions on the conference theme, artificial intelligence, education and climate change and on higher education and research as well as two Action Plans on Trade Union Renewal and Equality and Diversity in Education. More information on the ETUCE Extraordinary Conference will be disseminated to ETUCE member organisations shortly.  

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The Committee also endorsed the composition of ETUCE’s Equality Working Group, Education Advisory panel and of the Working Group tasked with updating the ETUCE Education Policy Paper and preparing a Campaign on Raising the Status and Attractiveness of the Teaching Profession.

High on the agenda featured the exchange of experiences on the COVID-19 situation and its impact on the education sector in Europe. The results of a research contracted by ETUCE on the state of play of the vaccination of teachers in the European region as well as the opening/closure of education institutions, showed that in approximately half of the countries in the region teachers are being prioritised but with huge differences between the education sectors. Based on this research and the results of an ETUCE survey on the pandemic impact on social dialogue and collective bargaining at national level, the Committee members engaged in a lively discussion, taking note of the ETUCE policy activities implemented in 2020 and 2021 as well as numerous webinars in regards to COVID-19 and the regular exchanges of ETUCE with European decision-makers.

The update on the Portuguese Presidency’s and European Commission’s work programmes in terms of education and training and economic and social governance, including the report on the February 2021 Education Council Conclusions, revealed a strong prioritisation of education and training in the recovery plans coupled with the expressed focus on the central role of teachers and education in the digital and green transition. ETUCE Committee members underlined the need for a just and inclusive transition based on more public investment in education. As regards to Trade union renewal, the ETUCE Secretariat presented and invited all member organisations to the ETUCE campaign “Together in the Union - #ForQualityEducation”  which will be launched in May 2021.

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