(6 December 2016)
Ruby Newbold, of the American Federation of Teachers, said these are often ‘silent workers.’ They work day in day out to maintain school buildings, assist teachers or look after our national heritage. Yet they are overlooked in policy considerations and often the first to have their pay cut in times of austerity.
Twenty two delegates from twelve countries developed strategies for how unions can learn from each other to better fight for these workers’ rights in their national contexts. They also planned how to make sure these voices are heard in international fora where education is discussed.
The meeting was kindly hosted by British union, UNISON. UNISON-organised teaching assistants are currently engaged in a struggle in several cities in the north of England against local authorities seeking to cut their pay by a quarter. The delegates extended their solidarity to these workers as well as those in Brazil and Honduras also facing difficult situations.
Five EPSU-affiliated unions were present representing Europe as well as Patrick Orr from the EPSU secretariat. He presented the problems culture workers are facing in Europe.