5 July 2020







Establishment of trade unions in Azerbaijan took the start in early 20th century. The trade unions movement first spread from Europe to Russia, and then to Azerbaijan, and gradually covered all spheres of life. These organizations did not only work for solution of social, economic problems of workers, but also became the locomotive of political developments in the country in early 20th century, raised political demands before state-run agencies and entrepreneurs.
The activities of trade unions, which operated secretly in czarism period and faced pressures, moved to open arena in 1918-1920, the period of Azerbaijan People’s Republic, and developed and expanded within the framework of democracy established in the country. This period saw expansion of the formation of trade unions, which brought together the people with national thinking; however, the invasion of Azerbaijan by Soviet empire did not allow these unions to consolidate.
Trade Union of Education Employees is one of over 20 trade unions that operated in Azerbaijan in early 1920s. This organization was titled Trade Union of Education and Socialist Culture Employees (TUESCE) when it was founded in June, 1920. It coordinated its activities with People’s Commissariat for Education, and became a contributor to the process of ensuring implementation of socialist education policy.

Beginning from the early years of its operation, the TUESCE implemented several activities, arranged trainings, put forward proposals on ensuring labor rights of people employed in this sphere. TUESCE, in particular, implemented important activities for education of population.

In January, 1921, the TUESCE combined with Trade Union of Art Employees and was renamed as Trade Union of Education and Art Employees. Besides, in May, 1921, it also involved the press workers in the union.
In 1922-1934, the employees of schools, kindergartens, orphanages, scientific agencies, universities and political education agencies came together at Trade Union of Education Employees. In 1934, Trade Union of Education Employees turned into several independent unions. The function of education Employees’ trade union was undertaken by Trade Union of Azerbaijan Education Employees, Trade Union of Primary and High School Employees, Trade Union of Political-Education Employees and Trade Union of Higher and High Vocational Schools .

In 1948, Trade Union of Cinema-Photo Employees, Trade Union of Political-Education Employees, Trade Union of Pre-School Institutions Employees were combined with Trade Union of Primary and High School Employees.

In October 1957, Union wide Trade Union of Education, Higher School and Scientific Office Employees was founded with Republican Committees in majority of soviet countries, including Azerbaijan. During the years of Azerbaijan’s representation in the Soviet Union, this institution was named as Trade Union of Education, Higher School and Scientific Employees and Trade Union of People’s Education and Scientific Employees’.

In these years, although the trade unions of education employees were not able to operate independently, they took regular measures for improvement of the education employees’ social conditions, accommodation, arrangement of treatment and rest for them, awareness-raising of population and put forward proposals on evaluation of teachers’ work, stimulation of labor in financial terms and pension security of education employees

In 1970s-1980s, the first ruling period of Heydar Aliyev, national leader of Azerbaijan, was punctuated with multiple successes in the operation of trade unions in our Republic, important activities were implemented for the development of this sphere as in the other important spheres of the society life. The foundation for democratization in the operation of trade unions was laid exactly in this period thanks to the attention and care of nationwide leader Heydar Aliyev.

The independence process that kicked off throughout the Soviet Empire in late 1980s, surfaced itself in the operation of Republican Committee of Trade Union of People’s Education and Science Employees as in the other public institutions: the Committee lost its ability to influence the developments, its capacity to assist in settlement of education workers’ problems faded out. The crisis in the operation of the Committee resulted in approval of a new charter in the first Congress of the Committee in September, 1990. The new charter held that the trade union shall operate as a public organization independent from state-run agencies.

In 4th plenary session held in 25 October, 1991, several amendments were made to the charter, and on June 10, 1992, the organization was officially registered with the Justice Ministry of the Republic of Azerbaijan. According to the charter, the organization was named as “Trade Union of People’s Education Employees ” (TRPEE).

Establishing the independence of the Union, the new Charter set out the rights and freedoms of the members and contained progressive provisions such as election of  all trade union posts from bottom to top. These years were marked with several measures aiming at protection of the education workers’ rights, improvement of their social security, effective arrangement of students’ leisure time, endowment of youth generation with patriotic spirit.

Apart from all these, in 1990-1993, the grave political crisis, chaos in Azerbaijan, invasion of our lands by Armenian aggressors had an adverse effect in the operation of the TRPEE as well. Deployment of IDPs and refugees expelled from their native lands, in resort centers and student hostels, inflation and other problems prevented the TRPEE from implementing its obligations envisaged in the charter.
The change of this grave situation only took place upon return of national leader Heydar Aliyev to power in 1993 due to insistent demands of the people. Thanks to effective policy pursued by Aliyev, who came to help his nation in a period reigned by chaos and anarchy in the country, implementation of large-scale projects started; foreign investors were drawn into the country, multiple new enterprises started operating, thousands of jobs were opened and Azerbaijan’s economy was rebuilt.

This development and progress soon became apparent in the operation of trade unions as well. In the ruling years of the national leader in the country, a serious landmark appeared in the operation of the trade unions, this institution began to operate based on its professional function. The introduction of democratic principles into the operation of trade unions turned the trade unions to a self-governance system that was able to solve the disputes between the workers and employers within the frame of the enterprise. Administrative command methods were removed from the operation of the trade unions, the power of the areal trade unions were restored, conditions for initiatives, integration into international trade unions system were ensured.

The national leader also took unprecedented steps for consolidation of the legislative base of the trade union operation. One of the important steps that triggered the development of trade unions was the signing of the Law of Azerbaijani Republic “On Trade Unions” on 24 February, 1994. Along with workers of other professions, the Law also allowed the education workers to establish trade unions voluntarily and without prior permission, as well as join trade unions to defend their legal interests, labor, social and economic rights and be involved in trade union activities. Besides, independence of trade unions from state-run agencies, institutions, political parties and public unions, non-accountability before them, independence of trade unions from the affiliated enterprise management and inclusion of a provision in the legislation envisaging prohibition of external interference with the operation of the trade unions paved the ways for independent operation of trade unions aiming at protection of the rights of education employees.

Upon the enforcement of the law, the trade union institution moved to its sustainable development roadway.

Annual increase of wages, improvement of the living conditions of the population and measures taken for improvement of the logistics of the trade unions soon proved effective and turned the trade unions to an influential body.
In 1999, in connection with education reforms implemented in the country, the Trade Union of People’s Education Employees was renamed as Independent Trade Union of Azerbaijan Education Employees and the union gradually increased its reputation through its effective operation and saw more public expansion.