PERC Regional Meeting “Occupational Health and Safety priorities and obstacles in the Balkan countries from the view of social partners; just transition for climate ambition”

A meeting of OHS experts from the Western Balkan trade unions was held on 6-7 November 2019 in Igalo, within the regular activities of PERC Programme and Projects, with the financial support of Swedish trade unions “Union to Union”. Representative of Union to Union, Emir Figuera, also participated in the work of this meeting.

Experts from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, North Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro participated in the meeting, along with the professional support of ETUI expert Viktor Kempa, as well as Bert De Wel – ITUC Officer for Climate Changes, Olga Nicolae – PERC Brussels and colleague Cvetan Kovač, NHS Croatia. Participants were welcomed on behalf of trade unions, affiliates of ITUC/PERC, in capacity of the hosts, General Secretary of Confederation of Trade Unions of Montenegro – Duško Zarubica and General Secretary of Union of Free Trade Unions of Montenegro – Srđa Keković. In their opening speeches, they emphasised the importance of social dialogue needed for better arrangement of OHS, both in Montenegro and in other countries in the region, even beyond.
The activity was organised by ITUC/PERC Office in Sarajevo. Working languages were BSCM, Albanian, and English.

The meeting had following sessions: (1.) Safety and health at the heart of future of work; challenges and opportunities; (2.) Presentations of the participating countries: current development and main challenges; (3.) OHS developments in EU – 30 years of OHS legislative framework in EU; (4.) Social dialogue in OHS; (5) EU OSHA: Healthy Workplace Campaign – dangerous substances and MSDs; (6) Convergence of strategies and priorities for EU trade unions and unions in Balkan; (7) Just transition for climate ambition; global architecture; (8) Just transition and trade union participation; role of social dialogue; (9) Social dialogue as a driver of OHS; (10) Round table – discussion: PERC OHS Network – programme and activities for 2020.
We shall mention some of the observations by the experts who participated in this meeting:
Influence of climate necessities and technological development on the world of work, new pattern of trade policies with sanctions, growing geopolitical tensions in Europe and beyond are the challenge to the world and Europe. The next several years may turn out to be of utmost importance for the future of Europe and its chances in the globalised, multi-polar world. In pursuit of these goals, a number of “grand design” blueprints have been laid out on sub-regional and national levels, by the EU, but also by individual countries outside the EU, e.g. Russia or China. The cumulative outcomes of these endeavours will shape the profile/s of the region and the interdependence with the rest of the world The only way to secure an outcome with a real future is the involvement of societies through democratic political debate, with social dialogue shaping the discourse to secure that the interests of citizens and working people as well as sustainability of the project are an integral part of the new emerging construction (at the same time a part of PERC 2020 – 2023: policy orientation and operational profile).
Ambitious climate policies will not be possible without strong social measures to accompany it. The countries of the commitment indicated that they would engage in an inclusive social dialogue with their national unions and employers on the implementation of climate policies. This social dialogue should contribute to the assessment of the social and economic impact of climate change, especially regarding the impact on jobs. Also measures related to skills development and adequate social protection policies are important to deliver good climate policies. SEE trade unions are looking forward to start working on this so that they can create decent jobs that at the same time protect their climate and can limit the impact of global warming. It is also trade union responsibility to pick up this challenge and contribute to it in an active and constructive way. Our unions are ready for this.
Presentations from the meeting may be found on PERC web page.

ITUC / PERC SEE Office, Sarajevo

PERC CLimate and just transition Bert De Wel
PERC Just transition and socia ldialogue Bert De Wel
Kvaliteta socijalnog dijaloga u provedbi zaštite zdravlja i sigurnosti na radu – rezultati istraživanja, Cvetan Kovac