John Monks is visiting Lithuania

European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) General Secretary John Monks and Pan-European Region Council (PERC) Executive Secretary Grigore Gradev visited Lithuania on 11 and 12 of June. Visit was held under the Baltic Trade Unions’ invitation.

In Lithuania guests met with the Baltic trade unions’ leaders, heads of Government of Lithuania, the Lithuanian trade union activists. Baltic countries are among EU countries, which were affected by the global crisis the most. In 2009 GDP dropped by 14% in Lithuania, by 15% in Estonia and by 18% in Latvia. Workers of Latvia particularly feel the pressure of International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan, in accordance with the requirements of drastically reduced social benefits and salaries for budget sector.
ETUC General Secretary John Monks, after a meeting with members of the Lithuanian Government and Trade Union representatives, said that he didn’t gave any advices to the Lithuanian Government, because "people here know the situation better."

"I came here not to tell you what to do. I came to see what is the situation and how Europe can help ", - said John Monks. He talked with Government representatives about the economic crisis and its solutions, has consulted on how to make better use of EU money.

"We spoke about what can be done to prevent the banking crisis, as well as the need for social dialogue and the way out of the situation", - said ETUC General Secretary.

According to him, those who earn more, must bear a greater burden. Now, as never before, we need a "social cohesion", considered J. Monks
Artūras Černiauskas, leader of Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation said that the dialogue with the authorities is similar to television viewing. "We see and hear what they say, but they (the government) don’t hear us" - complained A. Černiauskas. According to him, sometimes trade unions come to joint opinions with the employers and the Government rejects them, because of its own plans and decisions.

"We are not satisfied with the plans liberalize laws on employment and the Labour Code. We heard today, that Government wants to increase the fees of State Social Insurance Fund Board “SODRA”. We will protest, we will demand, because problems can not be solved by reducing wages and increasing taxes, "- said the Lithuanian trade union confederation leader.