Closing Conference

23-24 September 2020

Brussels

This project is concerned with the experiences of education trade unions as they seek to respond to changes in the world of work of teachers and other education personnel. It promotes the sharing of experiences and of strategies being adopted by education trade unions as they engage in a process of renewal to maintain their strength at the bargaining table and their ability to shape public policy, including the support of universal, free, quality education. The project activities resulted in a ETUCE Action plan on organising and renewal.

Advisory Group

  • Dorien König AOb Netherlands
  • Claudio Franchi FLC-CGIL Italy
  • Dorota Obidniak ZNP Poland
  • Elina Stock GEW Germany
  • Rodrigo Seoane Ruano FECCOO Spain
  • Rob Copeland UCU UK
  • Elis Randma EEPU Estonia

Funding

The project is co-financed by the European Commission.

Related topics

The first day of the concluding conference of the two-year project “YOUR TURN! Teachers for trade union renewal” took place online, successfully bringing together more than one hundred representatives from ETUCE member organisations across Europe.

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Triggered by insightful presentations by experts on the future of work and the future of trade unions, participants discussed transformations in the education profession and in the world of work, brought about by digitalisation, globalisation, increasing inequalities, labour market fragmentation, the climate crisis, and not least those imposed by the current pandemic. In this context, education trade unions deem of vital importance to rethink and renew trade union work, so that they continue to make a real difference in teachers and all other education personnel’s life, and to be a constructive force capable of shaping the future of education and the future world of work in the education sector.

University of Nottingham Professor Howard Stevenson presented the research report “Your Turn: Teachers for Trade Union Renewal”, one of the main outcomes of the 2-year project work conducted by the ETUCE, together with a Handbook for critical reflection “A framework for education trade union renewal: Towards a transformative trade unionism”. Drawing on different data sets including surveys to ETUCE member organisations, interviews, one conference and three workshops conducted during the project lifetime in Italy, the Netherlands, and online, the research report is framed by experiences of global crises, from the 2008 economic crisis to the current global pandemic. During these strenuous times, the working lives of education workers have been strongly impacted, and trade unions are called to play even a more central role to leverage teachers and other education personnel’s right to organise within a union, to expand rights and to harness the agency of the teaching professions.

Considering the challenges ahead, including  increased privatisation trends in and of education, labour market deregulation, and demographic trends, the conference is to endorse an ETUCE Action Plan on Trade Union Renewal and Organising, setting priorities for trade union renewal in the years ahead. The Action Plan calls for increased coordination between education trade unions across Europe to develop around four main areas of organising. These are: organising the under-represented; organising around ideas and campaigns; organising around work, community, and society; and organising around the profession.

As the ETUCE European Director Susan Flocken pointed out: “This conference is an important step to set the basis for a permanent and active dialogue within ETUCE on trade union renewal and organisational development, so that all members are supported in their efforts to  build membership commitment, participation, engagement, and activism in union structures. With the “Your Turn!” final conference we are making an important step forward to strengthen the voice of teachers and other education personnel all across Europe, especially those who are today under-represented or marginalised in union structures”.

The conference will adjourn its works on 24 September, with a virtual round table meeting by the leaders of the trade union organisations partner to the 2-year project co-financed by the European Commission, from the UK (UCU), Poland (ZNP), Germany (GEW), Spain (FECCOO), Italy (FLC-CGIL), Estonia (EEPU) and the Netherlands (AOb). It will be followed by a special afternoon session dedicated to organising at times of Covid-19 “You’ll never work alone: stories from Covid-19 and beyond”.

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