The 19th PERC Executive Committee

The PERC Executive Committee met on 26 October in Brussels. Different pressing challenges in the region were discussed, in particular the war in Ukraine and its implications to economies and lifes of people of Europe, solidarity support to Ukrainian workers and their unions, preparations for the ITUC Congress and its follow up in the PERC as ITUC region. The meeting was chaired by PERC President Irakli Petriashvili.

In his communication PERC General Secretary Luca Visentini focused on energy and cost of life crisis provoked by the war, reiterating unanimous support to Ukrainian people in their fight against aggression, but also called national and European authorities to take specific and urgent measure to tackle inflation and rise of prices, support and inclusion of refugees regardless of their origin, and need of working for peace, which must be based on the Russian troops leaving the country, the territorial integrity of Ukraine to be restored and respected, possible peace negotiations to be conducted according to the rights of self-determination of Ukrainian people.

Leaders of Ukrainian unions informed about the most recent attacks on infrastructure of Ukraine, about trade union solidarity work to assist victims of the military actions, internally relocated people, but also about political authorities of the country bulldozing anti-workers and anti-union legislation, in violation of EU Acquis and ILO standards.

In discussion, the participants deplored Russian military intervention and annexations, reiterated solidarity with Ukrainian people, and rejected antilabour policies and actions by the authorities as an attempt to use the martial law and war for wiping labour and social standards – the long time campaign led by neoliberal politics under American chamber of commerce leadership - and insisted that EU integration project and reconstruction of the country must be based on EU norms and principles.

The Executive Committee also discussed the situation of trade unions in Belarus, where regime of Lukashenko dissolved all independent unions, incarcerated trade union leaders and named trade unions extremist organisations. Several leaders of the BKDP affiliates left the country and re-organised “BKDP in exile” as “Salidarnast” association in Bremen, Germany, which shall continue representing interests of Belarusian workers when trade union activities in the country are not legal anymore and support imprisoned leaders and activists in Belarus. The participants expressed full support to BKDP, discussed different solidarity actions to press the regime and to get arrested brothers and sisters released, called also for strong and unequivocal steps to be taken by the International Labour Organisation against Belarus government that took deliberate actions to eliminate all freedom of association.

Preparations of the ITUC Congress were presented by Owen Tudor, ITUC Deputy General Secretary. Inter alia the Committee continued discussing regional representation in the ITUC elected bodies, need to ensure gender and regional balance Recent developments in trade union movement and political environment in Kazakhstan were also debated.

The Committee also approved reports by the secretariat, Women and Youth Committees. Merita Yildiz on behalf of the PERC Women’s Committee presented policies and actions taken, reported from the PERC Women’s school on gender pay gap and encouraged PERC members to take active part in PERC Women’s conference scheduled for 14 and 15 of December. Outcomes of the PERC Youth Conference that set up a new 7th PERC Youth Committee were presented.

Following the ITUC Congress the PERC shall launch preparations for the PERC General Assembly and mandated Steering Committee to guide this process, including broad consultations in a form of “PERC School”.