The 13th meeting of the PERC Executive Committee

The 13th meeting of the PERC Executive Committee took place on 22 October in Brussels. The Committee discussed the wage situation in Europe and Central Asia, stressing particular need to achieve living minimum wages in Eastern countries, wage convergence between East and West, development of trade union strategies to restore or to build wage bargaining.

Special attention was put on the situation of growing poverty in Ukraine where average wages became the lowest in Europe and non-payment of wages is widespread, while the country is plagued by corruption and growing precariousness and informality. The despair and lack of decent work opportunities forced millions of Ukrainians to seek better life chances in European Union, particularly, the neighboring Vysegrad countries. Called by the unions of the V4 the PERC Executive Committee decided to send a mission to Ukraine early next year.

Heinz Koller, ILO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, Regional Director, introduced the activities of the ILO in Europe and Central Asian region, its involvement in Sustainable Development Goals implementation, and on particular situations and engagement in several countries, including through the Decent Work Country Programmes. In Uzbekistan, the ILO programme led to elimination of the child labour and the significant reduction of forced labour practices. In Turkey, the ILO activities are greatly focused on the assistance the country is providing to Syrian refugees. In Belarus and Kazakhstan, any development programmes are stopped as these two countries continue failing to implement the ILO supervisory bodies recommendations to implement the core labour standards in law and practice.

The Executive Committee discussed the situation with trade union rights suppression in Kazakhstan and adopted a specific recommendation for the next meeting of the ITUC General Council to promote free and independent unionism and to reject state interference in trade union movement of this country.

The Committee also discussed the preparations for the 4th World Congress of the International Trade Union Confederation, Sustainable development goals implementation process and opportunities for trade unions to contribute to its review on global, European and the EU levels, approved the reports of activities, including those of the Women’s and Youth Committees, and defined the process for the preparation of the 4th PERC General Assembly in 2019.