Solidarity is the cornerstone of the education trade union movement and lays the ground for its unity. In cooperation with the EI head office, the ETUCE member organisations and other European organisations, the ETUCE Secretariat provides support to the member organisations requesting intervention. Depending on the nature of the objectives, the ETUCE Secretariat performs different forms of solidarity work. In cases of emergency or immediate intervention, ETUCE writes protest letters addressed to the social partners, the government or other institutions to support the pressure that member organisations exert at national level.

Strengthening solidarity among education trade unions and within the whole education trade union movement at regional, national, European and global level through the actions of ETUCE and EI - the commitment reasserted by ETUCE member organisations in the ETUCE Conference in Belgrade on 6-8 December 2016

[...] “With a view to ensuring or promoting the freedom of workers and employers to form local, national or international organisations for the protection of their economic and social interests and to join those organisations, the Parties undertake that national law shall not be such as to impair, nor shall it be so applied as to impair, this freedom. The extent to which the guarantees provided for in this article shall apply to the police shall be determined by national laws or regulations.” [...] as enshrined in the Article 5, paragraph 2 on the right to organise of the (revised) European Social Charter, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, Title II, Article 12, chapter 1, and embedded in the ILO Convention on the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise No 87.

Compliance with and implementation of human and trade union rights and interests of European education personnel are core to a well-functioning and strong European education trade union movement. Solidarity is a fundamental principle in ETUCE’s work. It is based on the traditional trade union ideal of creating fairer societies through combined strength and mutual support.

ETUCE believes that infringement of education trade unions’ and their affiliates’ rights and labour standards has direct and negative impact on education that is [...] “directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms” [...] and [...] “promotes understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups” [...]. It is also an ultimate tool to tackle the high rate of unemployment, reduce school dropout rates and combat poverty and social exclusion which in turn shape three out of five EU objectives to be reached by 2020.

Nevertheless, in recent years, the dangerous tendencies such as reckless encouragement of public-private partnerships leading to the commercialisation and privatisation of education; rise of extremism, radicalism, xenophobia and inequality that can be directly or indirectly strengthened by some government’s actions; persisting negative effects of austerity measures introduced by governments as a response to the financial and economic downturn; systematic reports of many ETUCE member organisations on violation of fundamental rights and labour standards guaranteeing the well-functioning of industrial relations, jeopardise the right and access for free and quality education for all in many European countries.

Thereby, [...] “trade unions, including education unions, have an important role to play in promoting and defending the human rights of all. They must collaborate at all levels in order to protect and ensure that everyone experiences the application of human rights, including the right to free quality public education and the inter-related rights within education“ (Education International Human and Trade Union Rights Policy Paper).