Bernadette Segol, PERC General Secretary, reported about ETUC action of 29 February, when unions in all the EU countries united in action "Enough is Enough! For employment for social justice!". By this action the unions were able to drive their concern about fiscal compact, that austerity was a wrong policy. Employment and sustainable growth is what Europe needs today.
The austerity measures are no efficient, while the poorest are paying the crisis is used to promulgate liberal ideology. But markets cannot bring social justice. The unions proposed alternative measures – to promote fair taxation, solidarity, financial transaction tax. They act all around Europe and are heard. Unemployment in Europe is an obstacle to growth. It reaches record levels- 10% average, but in some countries the figures are dramatic. Youth unemployment (47% in Spain and Greece) lead to frustration and despair. Young people want to leave their countries. The unions need to show that the movement is organised and responsible and ready to act.
In debates, several countries of concern were highlighted, where governments are suppressing union movement or implement policies that would eventually hinder union positions, in particular, Georgia, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Serbia.
The report of the PERC activities was presented by Jaap Wienen, ITUC Deputy General Secretary and Grigor Gradev, PERC Executive Secretary. Hege Hero, President of the PERC Women’s Committee and Tugba Balci, President of the PERC Youth Committee, presented activities workplan of these two committees.
Dimitrina Dimitrova from the ILO-ACTRAV, presented the background framework document for the European Regional Meeting of the ILO in 2013. Grigor Gradev informed that the PERC would be going to seriously prepare for the Conference and that its annual Summer School would be devoted to streamlining the positions of the European union movement. The PERC members reiterated importance of proper preparation for the conference.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, told that inequalities in the world were growing, the employment was shrinking, with youth unemployment being dramatic. Meanwhile the big companies are virtually sitting on trillions of dollars as they cannot find the right venture to invest in. There is also workers capital. These money should work for sustainable economy. But there is appalling lack of leadership, apart from unions. No debate on growth. The ITUC called for youth employment pact and World Day for Decent Work will be on youth employment. The ITUC will also be mobilising for Rio + 20 conference.
Stephen Benedict, ITUC HTUR Director reported about HTUR PERC network activities and asked for more efficient involvement of the affiliates in the HTUR campaigns and in using the ILO supervisory mechanisms.
Andrjey Adamczyk, Solidarnost, and Sandy Boyle, EESC, informed about developments in the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, underlining deficiencies of this structure and the need to mobilise to either make it more relevant to social partners or to quit it and develop an alternative mechanism for social partners’ involvement to eventually have influence on the EaP partnership policies as such.
C. Menne presented the European Year of Active Aging concept and challenges and Martin Hutsebalt presented the results of the PERC - LO-Norway project on reforms of pension systems in Balkans.
The PERC Executive Committee also adopted Declaration in support of independent trade union movement of Belarus