PERC Executive Committee

Virtual meeting of the 15th PERC Executive Committee took place on 20th of October with participation of more than one hundred unionists from different trade union organisations of the region. While the focus of the meeting was to debate implications of the COVID-19 provoked health and economic crisis and trade union recovery and resilience policies, some specific challenges and the need for trade union solidarity and actions were highlighted.

In communication from the General Secretary, Luca Visentini underlined the need to tackle employment crisis and to further boost economic stimulus to maintain economic activities, preserve employment, but also to promote social protection and support measures for workers and population, who face drastic reduction of incomes and uncertainty. Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, outlined the priorities of the ITUC for recovery and resilience and the new social contract, the outcomes of the Global Poll as well as ITUC policy guidelines “Beyond GDP” and telework. She also informed about the ILO agenda and the specific campaign ITUC has started facing reluctance of employers and some governments to honour the outcomes of the ILO Centenary conference and to promote OSH as a fundamental right. Owen Tudor, ITUC Deputy General Secretary, introduced the agenda of the coming ITUC General Council and coming ITUC actions and activities. Evelyn Astor presented report about minimum wages in Eastern Europe. During discussion participants highlighted some specific challenges provoked by the COVID-19 and trade union responses to them, minimum wage dynamics in their countries and persistent pay gaps, but also informed about ongoing attacks on the workers’ rights in some of the countries.
The meeting also encouraged all the affiliates to campaign for promoting ratification of the ILO Convention 190, to take actions in support of the care work, to act in promoting peace and nuclear non-proliferation.
Special attention was devoted to the situation of political protests in Belarus, where people fight for their fundamental freedoms, including for a freedom of association and the right to strike, suppressed by the regime of Lukashenko that falsified elections, deployed special forces to violently suppress peaceful assemblies and rallies, prosecuted hundreds of citizens, and unionists. The Executive Committee expressed full support to the BKDP, urged members to exercise solidarity in support of democracy, freedom of association and the right to strike and endorsed a set of guiding points for trade union actions, based on the outcomes of the special country meeting held earlier.
Situation in Ukraine, where the authorities promote anti-union legislation was also discussed, as well as many-days underground strike for decent wages and safe working conditions in Kryvyi Rih Iron Ore Plant (KZRK). Information about attacks on trade union freedoms in Kyrgyzstan was also reported that prompted putting this country on the regional “country at risk” list.
The annual reports were adopted. The outcomes of the first years of the Grigor Gradev’s scholarship were presented and participants were asked to actively promote the new calls for applications.