Belgium: Trade unions concerned about increased workloads for teachers

published 7 June 2018 updated 3 July 2018

In a common front involving three trade unions, around 600 education trade union activists have clearly expressed their opposition to workload increases.

On 4 June, 600 educators gathered in front of the offices of Marie-Martine Schyns, the Minister of Education and Education Establishments of the French Community of Belgium, . They believe that the draft pact of excellence proposed by the government will increase teachers’ workloads.

Education International affiliâtes, the Centrale générale des services publics–Enseignement (CGSP-FGTB), the Confédération des Syndicats Chrétiens de l’Enseignement (CSC-Enseignement) and the Syndicat Libre de la Fonction Publique- Vrij Syndicaat van het Openbaar Ambt(SLFP-VSOA), were part of a trade union common front.

The Minister met with a trade union delegation which informed her of the massive rejection of the draft decree and its impact on the composition and organisation of teachers’ work. The proposed text would inevitably lead to an increase in their workload.

“We told the Minister that the text was not acceptable in its current state, and demanded that the texts be thoroughly reviewed, in particular with regard to our main objections”, explained General Secretary of the CSC-Enseignement Eugène Ernst. “I have the feeling that the Minister wants to move things forward”, he said. “That is the message that she wanted to give us today. We hope that the commitment she expressed today will materialize.”

The Minister agreed to revise her document taking into account the comments made by the trade unions. She also committed to drafting a new bill that will be submitted for consultation with the trade unions and the organising authorities in the month of June. This new version will be tabled for a first reading in the Government to be followed by negotiation with the trade unions in early September. Any agreed  text will then be reviewed and submitted to trade union members.

The trade unions have already announced that they would resume their actions if the progress made seemed insufficient.

“Today, we have shown our ability to mobilise, and we may mobilise in greater numbers at the start of the school year, if necessary”, concluded Eugène Ernst.