The international relationship between Independent Self-governing Trade Union “Solidarity” (NSZZ “Solidarność”) and trade unions from other countries date back to the early 1980s. In those days we realized that the support and help from other trade unions could be a significant power. It was the time that American citizens and trade unions gave us a helpful hand in technical, financial and organizational way. When the Martial law was declared by the communist government in 1981, a trade unions from Western Europe organized supporting rallies, protesting marches and founds rising for the interned unionists. The first foreign office of Solidarity was established in Brussels. 

National Education Section of NSZZ “Solidarność” is one of the founders of Education International. It is the largest international federation of trade unions, representing over 30 million members from 170 countries. The National Education Section participates, as the only union from Poland, in European Sectoral Social Dialogue in Education (ESSDE). We are a social partner in Advisory Committee for Vocational Training (ACVT). Our organization is also a member of the Educational Platform of European Center of Workers’ Questions (EZA), which takes place regularly in Poland (Gdańsk, Kraków, Zakopane). 

One of our basic activities in the European arena is preparation of statements and opinions on the law regulations concerning the teachers’ working conditions and European Commission projects promoting the youth education. This aspect of the Union activity is extremely important due to the significance of the European law and the influence of the Court of Justice of the European Union judgments on the national regulations. Another field of international cooperation is the exchange of information with our foreign partners. 

Building the image of professional and powerful trade union demands engaging in global issues. This attitude built the foundation of the Solidarity Union in 1980. Poland’s accession to the EU made various forms of cooperation in education section gain momentousness and developing integration of EU members makes this tendency increase. 

Tomasz Gryczan

International Representative