The international meeting of FES with ETUC, PERC and GUF representatives

Since four years Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, Regional Trade Union Project, invites the representatives of the international union movement working in South East Europe. The last meeting took place in Belgrade, Belgrade, March 19 and 20 and involved also some union friendly NGO´s.

After a very interesting discussion about the specific evaluation of all activities last year there were identified some problems and main tasks for international cooperation in this area. So all participants underlined the serious problems of unions now in the economical crisis. There is to be seen, that many deficits in unions´ organisation and education now strike back two times. In most of the cases there are no strategies or mid and long term projects but only day-to-day-activities. The additional problem is of course that there are neither plans nor specific ideas of governments and employers.

The social dialogue in most of the SEE-countries still is not characterised by common considerations to solve growing unemployment on the one side and economical answers on the other side. Except from Slovenia social dialogue bodies have nearly no real influence on the policy of governments. At most there is a kind of consultation but never a real cooperated planning.

Unions mostly are lacking enough capacity especially in economical questions and also in campaigning to get more support also in the society. So all participants identified two main tasks for cooperation in the future. Firstly there should be integrated the goal in all further activities to implement knowledge and to convert it with a strong and effective organisational structure. And secondly there must be done everything to organise knowledge for developing mid and long term strategies – combining political pressure and organisational power.

At least all representatives agreed with having these meetings on a yearly basis. And more there was the idea created to invite for another meeting also representatives from SEE employers organisations to discuss the needs of bilateral and tripartite social dialogue especially in times of crisis. Also it was agreed the idea of inviting the representative of union near NGO´s also to the next meetings.

Everybody felt it to be a very good idea. As more organisations are cooperating as more effective they are all together.