When we are hired as locally recruited teachers we are promised quality and stable employment. But the reality is different, and our working conditions turn out to be much less stable than expected.
Each year the European Schools appeal to the member states of the European Union to supply seconded teachers.
But when a seconded teacher arrives, the number of periods of one or more locally recruited teachers is changed. Every year, some colleagues lose more than half or all of their hours as a result of secondment or reorganisation, including when a seconded teacher arrives during the academic year.
Officially, we have the right to refuse any changes to our working hours. But "refusing" these changes, in practice, means taking the risk of being dismissed. So it is not a real choice. A contract amendment must be signed to formalise the arrangement, but this effectively closes off any possible discussion.
This is a sword of Damocles hanging over our heads. The changes installed and imposed by our management are fundamental changes that have a huge influence on the ability to organise our private life:
· As the number of school hours vary every year:
o Each year we have to reorganise our private life: change days of crèche for a child according to our changing schedules; change our children's school because they cannot stay at the European School, as every teaching period will influence the school fee you will have to pay.
o our wages change according to the number of hours we work. When you lose hours, you lose income. How can we ever have some stability to pay rent or borrow money? How do we recalculate the annual child support payments correctly in the event of a divorce?
o The NSSO declaration (pension, unemployment, ...) varies according to the number of hours. Therefore, after a career or a few years at a European School, the pension and/or unemployment will be reduced.
o Looking for an extra job next to a part-time insecure locally recruited teachers job that can change at any time is very difficult, if not impossible. Because no employer will accept someone who could disappear from one year to the next or from one month to the next. Moreover, the teaching timetable as such often do not allow any space for combining it with another part-time job.
· we have signed a CDI, but even in a CDI we can be dismissed if a seconded teacher is sent to our department. They have priority over the hours to be allocated, even though we do the same work have the same degree and are equally competent. In practice, we don't have a real permanent contract, but an endless replacement contract.
We were hired for specific skills (native speaker, specific diploma or doctorate, previous (international) experience ...) and we were evaluated positively by the pedagogical inspection. But our skills and positive evaluations are not important in this discussion. The secondee has priority.
Equal work and equal conditions - stop job insecurity
We, the signatories of this petition, locally recruited teachers, employees, seconded teachers and parents, demand contractual stability and transparency of our rights, cf. reasons expressed above.
* a real CDI = contractual stability, necessary information and clarity about our rights as workers in Belgium/country
Yet, even though we work at the heart of Europe, for European values and for the European institutions, the contract that we get falls far short.
This situation should be an acute embarrassment to those who offer these contracts, especially as we so often invest so much of our time, energy and skills into the lives of their children.