PERC-FES Workshop on fair taxation

The joint PERC - FES workshop "More fair taxation policies in Europe with focus on CEE and NIS countries" was organized on the 22nd of November 2021 on ZOOM platform.

The PERC, in cooperation with FES Competence Centre "Future of Work" organised a workshop for the trade unionists engaged in social economic development, trade union leaders, economists, and legal experts with special focus on SEE and NIS organizations. The workshop aimed at: introducing the international institutions agendas on fiscal coordination, facilitating trade union argumentation and campaigning for fair national taxation policies through common debate and actions to achieve more progressive taxation, improve balance of capital and labor taxation, reduce tax evasion and tax avoidance.

The workshop consisted of three main sessions: institutional approach on financing economic and social recovery, building more just taxation on global level; recent tax developments at EU level and general trade union demands for reform of corporate taxation and examples of national developments in the field of fiscal policies and building campaigns on fair taxation on national and sub-regional level.

Tax is coming at the forefront of all political agendas as governments are looking at ways to meet the costs of pandemic. These discussions are taking place in a context of growing inequalities and economic resentment. The primary goal for tax is to generate revenues and the progressive taxation can address a sustainable distribution of wealth. Trade union strategies and demands for promoting employment, worker’s rights, social justice and a New Social Contract shall address building fair fiscal systems on national level, but also improved coordination on tax actions on global and regional ones (

Alison Tate, Director of Economic and Social Department of ITUC outlined the global trade union agenda for taxation and social justice. She stressed the fact that global pandemic has impacted government budgets dramatically and that now is the time to promote broadening the tax base, building fair and progressive tax systems, tackling corporate tax avoidance, tax evasion, reprioritizing and reallocating public expenditure and duly collecting employer social security contributions. (

Corporations have long used their power and influence to minimize their tax liabilities, claiming that higher taxes mean lower business investment in job creation. Unions have always argued that addressing causes of inequalities and wealth distribution must be pursued through tax policy reform and welcomed the decision taken by G 7 meeting in June 2021 about a minimum floor taxation which must be put in place. 2008 financial crisis brought a new agenda for international tax cooperation and that enhanced international coordination is needed to curb corporate tax avoidance and tax evasion by firms and individuals. (

The issue of fair distribution of tax burden was presented by Liina Carr, ETUC Confederal Secretary. She explained why we need fair taxes, presented specific initiatives by EU and OECD, informed participants about the EU proposal on Global Tax Deal to be issued on the 22nd of December. She also mentioned that measures such as introducing 15% minimum corporate tax rate is a good start but not adequate as this is far below what is needed to mobilize sufficient public funds and is far below what workers pay in income tax.

Recent tax developments at global and EU level and general trade union demands for reform of corporate taxation were presented by Severin Picard, expert at ’Progressive Policies’. She referred to demands as concerns unitary taxation, fair allocation factors, tax transparency and sustainability, OECD approach on taxing digital companies, minimum effective tax rate and the EU proposal on a Directive on minimum tax.

The last part of the meeting was dedicated to presentation of national initiatives in some PERC countries: Moldova, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina- Entity Republika Srpska and Poland. Trade unions have a significant role to play to increase the pressure for more progressive taxation, vital for building sustainable economic governance and decent work. Liberal reforms implemented by the governments under pressure of “foreign investors” led to disastrous inequalities, poverty and mass emigration of young and qualified workers.

Trade unions also can achieve practical change at company level by more systematically requesting and decrypting financial information. At the same time basic knowledge on effective tax payments of a company can come as a useful leverage in collective bargaining strategies. It was agreed that exchange of information on fiscal policies between trade unions in the region will continue and that organizations will reflect on initiating campaigning for fair taxation in the SEE and NIS subregions.