The 12th meeting of the PERC Executive Committee

The 12th meeting of the PERC Executive Committee took place on 6 March in Brussels. It discussed preparations for the ITUC Congress, adopted reports and working plan, and debated policy and action priorities for the bigger European region.

Sergejus Glovackas, ACTRAV desk officer for Central and Eastern Europe, informed about the ILO centenary and the related Future of Work initiative. Tim Noonan, ITUC Campaign and Communication Director, presented the ITUC Future of work policy paper, the document that would also serve as one of the main debating platforms of the ITUC Congress in December this year. Chidi King, ITUC Equality department Director, explained the ITUC work to campaign and to lobby governments for development of the ILO standard on gender related violence at work.

In the context of the supply chains discussion the PERC General Secretary Luca Visentini called all the members to act to reduce East – West wage divergence promoted by models of organising business and production practiced by multi-national enterprises and some governments that create “exceptional incentives” for businesses to relocate their production to the Eastern countries. Ben Vanpeperstraete from Clean Cloth Campaign presented the report about conditions of work and wages in textile and garment industry, where well-known European brands exploit workers in Eastern non-EU countries and then re-import goods to the EU countries to label them as made in the EU. Those practices misguide EU consumers who pay colossal ammounts for the ready-made goods in their countries to the profits of MNEs, assuming that these goods are produced in decent conditions. Gemma Swart from the ITUC presented the ITUC “Samsung” campaign that explores slavery, inhuman and anti-union practices all over world, being one of the biggest employers in the world. Kemal Ozkan, Deputy General Secretary of the IndustryAll confirmed that these practices plague entire modern electronic industry and the informed about its organising activities to achieve unionisation and improve workers conditions worldwide.

Thomas Mayr-Harting, EEAS Managing Director for Eastern Europe, Western Balkans and Central Asia, informed about recently launched EU Western Balkans strategy and the twenty deliverables within Eastern Partnership policies. The Committee members from these countries informed about non respect of rule of law, workers’ rights, corruption that is practised by political elites and called the EEAs to prioritise social rights dimension in the EU External – enlargement and Eastern policies – in the dialogue with the respective governments as a condition for genuine cooperation based on international and European standards.

Having debated trade union rights situation in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and some other countries, the PERC EC agreed that situation in Kazakhstan is an extreme degradation and challenge to international trade union movement principles in the region. One of the ITUC affiliates, CNTUK, was dissolved by the court, its leaders condemned to prison terms or limitation of freedoms, activist harassed. The EC decided to request the political leadership of the ITUC to organise a mission to the country that could report to the next meeting of the ITUC General Council on 24-25 May. This mission could also address the Kazakh authorities about trade union rights violations in the country.

The meeting was chaired by PERC and GTUC President Irakli Petriashvili.

ILO ACTRAV The Future of Work
Europes sweatshops