About the network

15 unions worldwide have now signed an international agreement on defending education and employment standards in the context of global marketisation. Together, these unions represent more than half a million tertiary education workers around the world.

The deepening global recession and the cutting back of public provision will only give greater encouragement to a burgeoning private sector, making the international agreement only more relevant and important.

We are now turning this community of over 500,000 academics into something tangible.

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23 unions call for a change of direction as German and Austrian student protests grow

Our colleagues in GEW in Germany have asked us to circulate the statement signed by 23 unions across the world calling for a change of direction in higher education policy as a wave of student protests has built up in Germany and Austria against the underfunding, marketisation and deterioration of university and college education. The statement calls for proper investment in education, job security and career paths for academic staff and the democratisation of higher education institutions. You can read the full statement here:

High time for a U-turn in education policy


Students and staff unite against educational ruin

Education unions support protests by students across Europe


Appeal by 23 education unions from 19 countries

Francfort / Vienna, 14 December 2009



School and higher education students in Austria, Germany, and several other countries have started to protest against educational ruin. The students’ protests are supported by school and higher education teachers and their unions. A widespread Euopean movement for a U-turn in education policy is developing. Therefore GEW (Germany) and GÖD (Austria) have submitted this appeal in order to support the students and invited education unions all over Europe to sign the appeal too. Until now 23 education unions from 19 countries have decided to sign the joint appeal. Please contact Dr Andreas Keller (GEW board member in charge of higher education and research) to get any further information: andreas.keller@gew.de.


There’s something rotten in Europe. Schools, universities and other education establishments are chronically underfunded. Whereas billions of euros were mobilised overnight to salvage the banks, governments find it hard to put their fingers on the money so urgently needed to invest in the future by committing to education. Young people are deprived of prospects by a lack of education opportunities and a shortage of places to train and study. Children from families with little education and low incomes are severely under-represented in higher education. The Bologna Process promised better courses and easier mobility, but in many European countries its implementation is actually making things worse. Schools and universities are exposed to markets and competition and they are being restructured as education companies. Working conditions and terms of employment in the education sector are increasingly subject to demands for flexibility and fixed-term contracts are spreading fast. This is damaging the quality of education and the appeal of challenging professions in teaching and research.


We have to put a stop to this! It is high time for a U-turn in education policy, which should be aimed at fighting education poverty, creating equal opportunities and providing a decent education for all!


Therefore education unions all over Europe demand


·         a marked improvement in funding for education establishments, not in spite of the financial and economic crisis, but because of it: investing in education and in the future prospects of young people are the best stimulus package there is;

·         equal opportunities for all young people – founded on a solid schooling for all which stops children being filtered out and ensures that every individual can develop, with effective grants for all students and a reduction and ultimately abolition of all education fees from nursery to university;

·         a change of tack for the Bologna Process which strengthens the social dimension to the European Higher Education Area, ensuring an unconditional transition from a bachelor’s to a master’s degree, mobility for students and higher education staff and a boost to the quality of teaching and studying;

·         innovation through democratic participation in schools, universities and other education institutions – with more consultation rights for staff and students alike;

·         improved working conditions and terms of employment for the staff of education institutions – founded on employment contracts negotiated by their trade unions, social insurance rights and appropriate pay.


The quality of education and the quality of working in education are two sides to the same coin! The time has come for a protest movement in which higher education and school students join with teachers, researchers and everyone else working in the field to pull together, adding their combined weight to calls for a U-turn in education policy. Together against the crisis – for decent education and decent work!



The following education union have signed this appeal:



  • Independent Trade Union of Education Workers of the Azerbaijan Republic (ARCITUEEI)


  • Gewerkschaft Öffentlicher Dienst (GÖD)


  • Independent Union of Research and Higher Education Employees of Croatia (IURHEEC)


  • The Danish National Federation of Early Childhood Teachers and Youth Educators (BUPL)
  • Dansk Magisterforening (DM)


  • Syndicat National de l’Enseignement Supérieru (SNESUP)
  • Syndicat National des Enseignements de Second Degré (SNES-FSU)


  • Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft (GEW)


  • Greek Federation of Secondary State School Teachers (OLME)


  • Syndicat des Enseignants de Hongrie (SEH)
  • Teachers’ Democratic Union of Hungary (PDSZ)


  • Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT)


  • Israel Teachers Union (ITU)


  • Federazione Lavoratori della Conoscenza (FLC CGIL)


  • Latvian Education and Scientific Workers’ Trade Union (LIZDA)


  • Algemene Onderwijsbond (AoB)


  • Federatia Nationala Sindicala ALMA-MATER (ALMA-MATER)


  • Education and Science Employees’ Union of Russia (ESEUR)


  • Education, Science and Culture Trade Union of Slovenia (ESTUS)


  • Confederación de Sindicatos de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores de la Ensenaza – Intersindical (STEs-i)


  • Verband der Fachhochschuldozierenden Schweiz (fh-ch) within Dachverband Schweizer Lehrerinnen und Lehrer (LCH)

United Kingdom:

  • Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL)
  • University and College Union (UCU)
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