In a knowledge-based society and economy, education trade unions shall represent all aspects, interests and concerns of the employees in the education sector,  including their professional needs. 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” seeks to build the capacity of education trade unions to represent teachers’ professional needs and to enhance teachers’ professional issues as a crucial matter of social dialogue in the education sector. This comes at a time when teachers are faced with challenges, both at EU and transnational level, in relation to changes in the labour market, teaching profession, and social dialogue. The project continues the work that ETUCE and its member organisations have achieved in identifying challenges in the teaching profession in times of crisis and in strengthening their involvement in the European Semester.



An on-line survey in three languages (EN, FR, and RU) among ETUCE members in EU/EFTA and candidate countries:

  • to identify national findings related to teachers’ professional needs and their representation, and whether they are a matter of social dialogue;
  • to analyse the role of national and European sectoral social partners in education to negotiate on professional issues of teachers.

ETUCE has been supported by the research team from the University of Nottingham in carrying out the survey.

The preliminary survey results indicate that education trade unions play an important role in providing professional development opportunities to union members, and that this provision covers a range of issues in a diverse range of forms, often in partnership with other bodies. Nearly two-thirds of education trade unions (out of 58 unions which participate in the survey) indicated that they provide professional training directly to members (62.1%). However, regarding involvement in social dialogue, the responses suggest that education trade unions are less likely to participate in social dialogue on professional issues than more traditional industrial issues. The data also points to a centralised model in which social dialogue is more likely to take place at national level (determining policy and national frameworks), but less likely to take place at institutional level. The social dialogue form of communication of information and consultation are also more common than negotiations in the field of teachers’ professional needs.

Case studies

Three short case studies conducted in three EU member countries (Italy, Germany, and Poland) to share good practices and to represent the diversity in representing teachers’ professional needs among the EU countries.

Training workshops
Training workshop in Warsaw

At the 1.5-day training workshop that took place on 27-28 November 2017 in Warsaw, 40 representatives from ETUCE member organisations in Central and Eastern Europe, had the opportunity to examine various teacher training systems in the region and assess how different education trade unions engage in the process of representing teachers’ professional needs in social dialogue. The preliminary results of the online survey and a Polish case study were presented by Professor Howard Stevenson from the University of Nottingham. Seminar participants were also presented with the strategies of education trade unions in Scotland (Educational Institute of Scotland) and Finland (Trade Union of Education OAJ) on shaping teacher training. In working groups, participants shared their own experience and suggested various solutions for strengthening the capacity of education trade unions in improving teacher training. In order to get more inside views on teacher training in Poland, a visit to the University of Warsaw was organised where participants learned about a unique initial training programme for Math and Polish language teachers ‘School of Education’, that focuses on the co-teaching, team learning, and student-centered teaching approach.

Report - Pictures

Training workshop in Berlin

Training workshop in Berlin will take place in March 2018.

Training workshop in Rome

Training workshop in Rome will take place in April 2018.

Final conference

1.5-day closing conference in Brussels with expected 80 participants from national education trade unions, EFEE and other European stakeholders. The main activities of the conference include:

  • the presentation of the project activities, including the on-line survey report and good practice examples identified;
  • reflections on the project topic by European stakeholders;
  • sectoral working group sessions to discuss and validate the draft practical guidelines supporting ETUCE member organising in strengthening their capacity to represent teachers’ professional needs within social dialogue.
Practical Guidelines

A set of practical guidelines supporting ETUCE member organisations in strengthening their capacity to represent teachers’ professional needs within social dialogue structures. Publication and dissemination of the project outcomes will further contribute to raising awareness among unions and policy makers on the issue.

Advisory Group

The project is led by an Advisory Group who provide guidance and field knowledge, assist in the design of the on-line survey activity, contribute to training workshops and the project conference as well as to the elaboration of the draft practical guidelines and evaluation of results. Advisory Group constitutes of six representatives from the national teacher unions for each level of education:

Early Childhood Education: Ilka Hoffmann, GEW, Germany

Primary education: Dorota Obidniak, ZNP, Poland

Secondary education: Päivi Lyhykäinen, OAJ, Finland

VET: Rossella Benedetti, UIL Scuola, Italy

Higher education: Dita Stefenhagena, LIZDA, Latvia

Adult learning: Tatjana Babrauskiene, FLESTU, Lithuania

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EU flagThis project is carried out with the financial support of the European Commission