In view of the forthcoming III Congress of the ITUC and the need to take action along the main strategic line of ITUC policy – Building Workers Power- the PERC Women’s School this year addressed the challenges and the opportunities for trade unions as concerns the role and contribution of women’s committees in strengthening the organizational base and structures of trade unions, improving legitimacy and particularly in recruiting of new members. The program of the School has focused on organizing activities around the existing ITUC campaigns with involvement of women and other initiatives or ideas for more efficient engagement in the future.
The target group of the School consisted of members of PERC women’s committees and gender officers actively involved in promoting equality policies, organizational development, organizing and recruiting activities. Around 50 participants took part in the School this year; around 30% young women.
The School was welcomed by the FES representative Regine Shubert and officials from Bulgarian Government: Margarita Popova, Vice-President of Republic of Bulgaria; Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor of Sofia; Rositsa Yankova, Deputy Minister of Ministry of Labor and Social Protection; representatives from the two host unions CITUB and Podkrepa, the President of the PERC Women’s Committee, Mariana Kniesner and the vice-president of the PERC Women’s Committee, Yanka Takeva.
The main issues discussed at the School referred to the impact of the crisis and trade union perspective; the labor market and women, current challenges and trends; presentation of national developments; ITUC policy on building workers power; women’s contribution to build union power; presentation of Women in Leadership- the Count us in ! ITUC campaign and DFL campaign. There have been working groups on Women in leadership and organizing young women. The Ukrainian, Georgian and Kazakhstan participants shared their experience in organizing young women though the DFL campaigns. The School decided to continue the existing campaigns and spread them to other countries. At the same time the School participants agreed to work on the Count us in campaign and have as many as possible applications for the campaign. The results of the School have been presented to the PERC Women’s Committee, which included in its action plan the organizing priority and developing of the DFL and Count us in campaigns.