18th Extraordinary PERC Executive Committee

The 18th meeting of the PERC Executive Committee took place in Brussels, 21 June 2022, for the first time in person since the outbreak of the COVID-19. The meeting was chaired by Irakli Petriashvili, PERC President.

Over seventy leaders of the PERC organisations participated in this extra-ordinary sitting. They discussed the implications of Russian aggression in Ukraine on workers and trade unions, with more than 5 million jobs already destroyed, some 15 million workers affected, and over 6 million citizens left the country to seek refuge in European union. Extraordinary solidarity support has been provided by european and international trade union movement to Ukrainian unions, but also to trade unions of neighboring countries who are sheltering and helping refugees from the country. The war also increases costs of living and energy, food crisis and the costs are on shoulders of workers families and in many European countries and trade unions are mobilizing for policies that respect workers interests and rights, for adequate wages and support to working people families.

The Executive Committee welcomed suggestion to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova, but deeply regretted that Georgia was not treated by the EU politicians in the same manner. It also underlined that social dimension must be the key for the states on their move on the way to the European Union, and that strong signals have to be given to the governments of the three countries, and Ukraine in particular, that respect of workers rights and social dialog are the key for the success of the European project. The EU decision to start accession process for the associated countries has also to accelerate integration of the Western Balkans countries as a matter of priority.

Leaders of PERC deplored the worst attack on trade unionism in modern times that happened in Belarus, where all leaders of the ITUC PERC affiliated Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions, were arrested and incarcerated, their organisations were put on the liquidation lists. The Executive Committee called for their immediate release and fully supported the actions taken by the ITUC and the ETUC in framework of the ILO, UN and the EU to get trade union rights respected by Belarus.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, introduced preparations of the ITUC Congress, informed about decisions of the International Labour Conference, particularly, the success of the trade union campaign to include occupational health and safety into fundamental workers’ rights, elections of the ILO Director General, but also about ongoing challenges of building international labour standard on apprenticeship. She also informed about the ITUC actions to bring security and peace in the heart of the new social contract, while many participants called for global trade union actions for peace and social justice.

The Executive committee also discussed PERC role in preparation of the Congress and particular in composing the ITUC decision making bodies and Women and Youth Committees. The guiding principles presented by PERC General Secretary Luca Visentini for composing delegations to the General Council and Executive Bureau were supported. Sabine Slegers, Chair of the Women’s Committee, presented PERC Women Committee delegation to the ITUC Women Committee and encouraged all organisations to actively participate in the 5th World Congress and the World Women Conference that would precede it. Yuri Varlamov, PERC Youth Committee urged affiliates to take active part in re-building the PERC Youth Committee at not only to take active part in its conference of 6-7 October 2022, but also in next PERC Youth Committee itself.