EUROPEAN TRADE UNION COMMITTEE FOR EDUCATION – COMITE SYNDICAL EUROPEEN DE L’EDUCATION
Report on seminar
How to engage effectively in Social Dialogue
Portoroz, Slovenia, November 14-15, 2004
The seminar was organised and welcomed by ETUCO and ETUCE. 22 participants
were representing 15 countries.
Education Officer Mr. Jean Claude Le Douaron from the ETUCO and General
Secretary Mr. Martin Rømer from ETUCE opened the seminar.
Président The EU Framework for Social Dialogue
Vice-Presidents Mr. Le Douaron introduced participants with the ETUC and ETUCO and EU
Vice-Présidents framework for Social Dialogue, emphasising the main characteristics of Social
Odile Cordelier Dialogue on the European level. He characterised cross-sectoral social dialogue as
Radovan Langer unified, independent and pluralistic, which covers 35 European countries and about 60
Jörgen Lindholm million employees. He has mentioned the 3 stages in the development of social
Marjatta Melto dialogue since 1985. He gave an excellent overview on the present work of ETUC in
General Secretary the field of social dialogue. For participants from the new EU countries this
Secrétaire Général information was new and very important. He also described and analysed the work
Martin Rømer programme for the social partners (2003-2005).
Trésorier EU legislation on the labour market relevant to education
Mr. Rømer reported about the Social dialogue in the field of education. He mentioned
that a new process of structured dialogue between ministers, social partners and the
Commission was established in November 2002 following the Council Decision. He
described the partners of social dialogue (ETUC/ETUCE, UNICE, CEEP/CEMR;
Commission/Parliament/Governments; ACVT Committee and Social Dialogue Liaison
Forum. He introduced the Articles of the new Constitutional Treaty related with
education and training and presented a short evaluation. Lively debate and questions
followed the presentation.
Education and Social Dialogue
In his lecture on Lisbon process Mr. Rømer has concentrated on the concrete
objectives in education, on Bologna process, Copenhagen process and life long
learning. He evaluated the main outcomes of the first phase of the Lisbon process
(2001-2004) and plans for 2004-2006 and put emphasis on the growing role of
Teachers’ Trade Unions as social partners on both international and national level. He
has emphasised the two main directions of social dialogue on the national level: (1)
teacher salaries and (2) educational policy, development of education and quality of
education. Participants were eager to learn more about their participation in the coming
2005 National reports on education and their possible inputs in the reports.
Mr. Rømer has shortly presented the ETUCE document on “Europe needs teachers”.
Boulevard du Roi Albert II, 5 Established Social Dialogues
9ème étage - B-1210 Bruxelles
Tél +32 2 224 06 91 / 92 Teachers’ Trade union representatives from the UK (Barry Fawcett), Belgium (George
Fax +32 2 224 06 94
Vansweevelt) and Finland (Riku Matilainen) described the good practice
and problems of social dialogue in the Western countries.
Mr: Fawcett has discussed both the problems of educational policy in the UK, the
ways in which Union tries to solve the problems, the role of social dialogue in this
Mr. Vansweevelt presented an overview of educational system, teaching profession
and examples of good practice of social dialogue in Belgium. He has mentioned the
necessary personal characteristics of the Union leader.
Mr. Matilainen has spoken about the experience of social dialogue mainly in the
higher education. He mentioned the relatively short calendar period of social dialogue
in Finland and the importance of preparation to the negotiations and the new
The following seminar work took place in two working groups. (Before the seminar the
participants were asked to fill out the questionnaire on five questions that are essential
to existence and development of social dialogue on national level and therefore the
discussion could be based on the deeper analyses of the survey results.)
During the working group discussions participants worked on two themes:
1. The status of social dialogue, analysing the current dialogue and negotiation
system. Participants were asked to give their views/analyses on levels of system of
dialogue/negotiation system and teachers’ representation on state, regional level
and local level and about the ways of negotiations on changes in the educational
legislation, and practice of handling disputes and disagreements.
2. The content of Social Dialogue. The main emphasis was put on the following
aspects of negotiations: salaries, working time, pensions, health and safety, in-
service training, educational reforms and other issues.
Participants had an opportunity to discuss the important questions and learn from each
other. Ove Johansson analysed the good practice of Lärarforbundet experience in social
The main result from the working groups was increasing knowledge about the
negotiations’ experience and good and bad practice in both East and Western European
ETUCE and the Social Dialogue: The need for future activities and
On the last day of seminar participants have discussed main future activities and need
for support. The ETUCE projects for 2004-2005 were presented and discussed.
Group discussions were devoted to the following issues:
- how to improve ETUCE policy on the social dialogue
- inputs to the activities in 2005.
Participants agreed the following:
1. Highly appreciate ETUCE work for the East and Central European countries.
2. Highly evaluate the document “Europe needs teachers”.
3. ETUCE has facilitated contacts between the Teachers’ Unions from EU and
candidate countries, and countries have had opportunity to learn from each
4. There are many needs in Teachers Unions in EEC countries that ETUCE might
support. Union representatives understand that it is not possible to cover all.
However, several participants have emphasised the:
- Further need of informational exchange. The information needed about the
Union work in other countries has become more deep and precise. That is partly
a result of ETUCE work and it is a sign that the work Unions has learned a lot
and have improved the level of social dialogue in their countries;
- Need for training of trainers of the Teachers Unions of EEC;
- About half of participants have stressed a need for further and deeper
cooperation among Unions on vocational education and training (VET) and the
need to learn how to improve the social dialogue on VET problems; it has been
mentioned that the social partners in VET are different;
- Some participants have stressed the need to concentrate Union work on job
safety and high risk of violence at schools, particularly at VET schools;
- Need to learn from the good practice of social dialogue in the other countries;
- Need to learn about good practice in building partnerships, incl. with parents’
organisations, employers (for VET);
- Need to learn about Union strategies;
5. Participants highly appreciate the high social value of the seminar that has given
them an excellent opportunity of intercultural experience.
25.11.2004 MR/ it