The 16th PERC Executive Committee

The 16th PERC Executive Committee meeting took place virtually on the 4th of October, chaired by PERC President Irakli Petriashvili. COVID-19 situation, vaccination progress and economic recovery in the region were discussed.

In his communication, Luca Visentini, PERC General Secretary, informed about main developments and trade union agendas, in particular, in relation to vaccination, healthcare and social protection under duress, financing recovery, return to austerity policy risks, jobs challenge, but also climate, energy and just transition crisis. Specific situations in some parts of the region were noted (post-Brexit, Georgia, Serbia-Kosovo, but also accession of N. Macedonia and Albania to the EU). Outcomes and decisions of the EU Porto summit and preparations for the ETUC mid-term conference were presented.

Vaccination campaigns in general are progressing, even if very unequally in the region. In some countries more than two thirds of adult population are vaccinated, but in others – particularly in the East and South-East – the figures are much lower. The PERC clearly outlined support to maximize outreach by vaccination programmes in the countries, but also expressed concerns about new inequalities and divisions emerging in a separate statement.

Situation with trade union and workers rights were also discussed, with a particular focus on Belarus, where independent unions face new wave of repressions - trade union leaders are arrested, offices searched, pressures and intimidation on activists has been applied by the regime. The PERC members expressed clear and unanimous support to BKDP and freedom of association in the country.

Serious concerns about dubious legal initiatives to strip workers from labour protection and collective rights being processed by the Parliament in Ukraine were voiced. The support to striking women of Ital-Electric in Albania was also expressed.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, introduced the main priority actions of the ITUC, in relation to the International Labour Organisation, including making occupational health and safety fundamental workers right, upcoming elections of the ILO Director General, the second stage of the International Labour Conference, global climate agenda (COP), new social contract and World Day for Decent Work, campaign for ratification of the ILO Convention 190.

Owen Tudor informed about the preparations for the 5th ITUC World Congress in 2022, particularly reflecting upon the process to build ITUC programme for the next cycle in transparent and inclusive way. On the 16th - 17th of September at a special consultative meeting the PERC members outlined the main messages from the region to be noted in preparation of ITUC programme. PERC Executive Committee endorsed presented outcomes of discussion and submitted to the ITUC secretariat.

Sabine Slegers, chair of the PERC Women Committee, introduced the policy document on workers with disabilities in the COVID-19 crisis situation as outcome of the joint PERC-FES conference that was adopted by the Executive Committee. She and other members of the Women Committee called for intensification of trade union actions to get ILO Convention 190 ratified, to fight with gender gaps and to invest into care economy.

The reports of the Women’s and Youth Committees were discussed and approved and the mandates of the members of these two statutory committees were extended, on exceptional basis, until the respective conferences could take place to elect new members. The annual reports by PERC secretariat and outlines for the action plan in 2022 were also adopted.

Workers with disabilities