COVID-19: In Italy, 400 000 education workers gather for online rallies to protest for better employment and working conditions during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond

26 May 2020

The COVID 19 outbreak is a public health crisis quite different than anything Europe has faced for many years. As education personnel and their trade unions grapple with the outbreak, we are supporting and informing member organisations in any way we can.

The impact of COVID-19 on education workers’ employment and working conditions is far-reaching, and can only be addressed in consultation with education trade unions. In Italy, ETUCE Member organisations mobilise the education workforce online through more than 200 rallies against the lack of negotiations on employment and working conditions during the pandemic and in view of the re-opening. The online rallies gathered around 400 000 education workers, in a demonstration of unity, solidarity and cohesion of the education community at times of emergency.  

Education systems in Europe, and their personnel, have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 crisis, with severe consequences on their employment and working conditions. Since the beginning of the pandemic that gravely hit the country, and the schools closures measures, teachers and other education personnel have had to  transition, in an emergency setting, to distance teaching, with professional and technical issues arising, resulting in among other negative consequence, additional workload and stress, and aggravating the pre-existing challenges of low financing and high precarity.

In Italy, education trade unions have, since the beginning of this pandemic, fought tirelessly for the protection of teachers and other education personnel’s rights, and for the upholding of social dialogue and collective bargaining to ensure fair employment and working conditions. However, after the reluctance of the Italian Ministry of Education to engage in social dialogue during this emergency situation, five  education trade unions, including ETUCE Member organisations FLC CGIL, CISL Scuola, and UIL Scuola, have organised the education workforce in spite of the current physical distancing measures, in a series of innovative online rallies, to shed light on employment and working conditions of all teachers and education personnel during the lockdown and the challenges for safe reopening of schools, and in particular: working conditions during national examinations, recruitment of workers for the next school year, the use of remote teaching tools and working conditions in distance teaching,  as well as health and safety conditions when schools are to reopen in September 2020. Gathering overall 400 000 education workers, amounting to one third of the current employees in the national public education system, the online protests have proven to be hugely successful notwithstanding, a positive example of virtual mobilisation.

To read the joint declaration announcing these online rallies, please click here (available in Italian only).  

Get in touch

The ETUCE Secretariat sends solidarity to all teachers, academics and other education personnel and their education trade unions as they react to and tackle this unprecedented crisis. We invite ETUCE member organisations to inform the ETUCE Secretariat about the challenges you face, how you are responding, which good practices you have developed and can share with colleagues, as well as your needs for support from the ETUCE family. Contact ETUCE at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..