The PERC School has 80 participants from 24 European countries, including representatives of trade unions of Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Norway, Montenegro, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Russia, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Serbia, and Ukraine. The school will also be attended by Deputy General Secretary of International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Jaap Wienen, newly-elected General Secretary of European Trade Unions Confederation (ETUC) and Pan-European Regional Council (PERC) Luca Visentini, as well as representatives of International Labour Organization (ILO) and PERC Women’s and Youth Committee members.
The participants discussed current state of affairs, challenges and prospects of union movement across Europe, as well as the programme of PERC for the coming four years which is to be adopted at the PERC General Assembly in December 2015.
The participants were addressed by acting Minister of labour and healthcare of Georgia, Valery Kvaratskhelia.
Jaap Wienen, ITUC Deputy General Secretary, briefed on the results of ITUC General Council which took place in Sao-Paulo the week before and welcomed the new affiliate, Federation of Trade union of Kazakhstan as well as the new associate members Confederation of Trade unions of Kazakhstan and Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan.
One of the keynote speeches was delivered by new ETUC General Secretary, Luca Visentini, elected at the ETUC Congress in Paris at the end of September. According to the PERC Constitution he also took the position of General Secretary of PERC.
He elaborated on consequences of austerity measures and the need to combat such policy and neoliberal approach by trade unions on European level as well as nationally.
He also highlighted the importance to deal with wage increase, stimulate internal demand, strengthen collective bargaining power, tackle existing imbalances, develop industrial policy in Europe. Also he touched upon the refugee and migration issue, Europe is facing now. ETUC urges EU to integrate migrants, since national economies may benefit from it and this can become a driver to develop economy.
The participants supported the conclusion that European social model should by no means be weakened and unions have to boost their organising efforts to keep it operational.
Also to make unions more efficient of pan-european level there was a suggestion to enlarge the PERC Presidium for the coming years.
Participants also shared updates on national situation in challenges.