Third PERC Steering Committee meeting

The PERC Steering Committee met virtually on 5 June and discussed evolution of the multidimensional crisis provoked by the outbreak of the COVID-19 in the Pan-European region. While most of the countries of the region are in the process of de-confinement and successfully suppressed the spread of the infection, in some countries, particularly, in the East, the propagation of the virus continues and humanitarian risks omnipresent.

Global trade union priorities for the recovery were presented to the participants: jobs, incomes, minimal wages, occupational health and safety and recognition of COVID-19 as occupational decease, universal social protection and responsible business should be the basis for the renewed social contract.

In the European Union ambitious recovery plan was promoted that shall build on solidarity of the European Union members in supporting the weakest economies financially through grants and loans from the EU guaranteed funding. The EU has also developed a set of comprehensive measures to provide development aid to its partners, including those in the EU neighbourhood, and unions have to be vigilant to make sure this funding is utilised to support social protection systems, occupational health and safety, incomes for workers and self-employed and not being just pumped into companies and shareholder pockets. The PERC offices in Sarajevo and Moscow presented the situation in the respective SEE and NIS subregions.

In several countries, both EU and non-EU, the COVID19 crisis was used by the authorities or businesses to instigate changes to the labour legislation that would undermine workers rights. Already the unions of Hungary submitted a complaint to the Committee on Freedom of Association of the ILO about self-acclaimed powers of the government to ignore social dialog and collective bargaining obligations. In Poland overtime work possibilities open doors for exploitation and the forced labour.
Specific attention was devoted to the situation of trade union rights in Ukraine, where ruling party continues imposing legislation to curb freedom of association, in Kyrgyzstan, where police organises searches and inquires of trade union leaders who protest against state interference into union affairs and draft legislation that would end trade union freedoms, in Kazakhstan where after several years of trade union campaigning certain improvements in terms of better legal environment for unions were noted, but their implementation in practice has to be further monitored.

Owen Tudor, the Deputy Secretary General of the ITUC informed participants about the ITUC campaign on "Climate and Employment Proof our Work" which will take place on 24 June. This year jobs and employment are serious concerns for people, that’s why there is a need to have the conversation about both climate and employment. Workers around the world will invite their employers to share a conversation to discuss the plans for resilience and sustainable business — safety, jobs, emissions, a secure pathway for the future. More information about the campaign on:

The Steering Committee discussed revision of the PERC planning for the following months, noted information from the secretariat about different discussions with solidarity support organisations related to support of the PERC workplan. The Youth Committee delegate presented the activities plans of the committee, as well as the challenge related to the need to enhance the committee by improved involvement of organisations and their young delegates in its work. The Women’s Committee reiterated the need for special attention to the gender dimension of the crisis and recovery plans, as the COVID19 only further exacerbates gender gaps.

Raquel Gonzales, secretary of the ILO Workers Group, informed about the preparations for the ILO COVID19 and the world of work High Level Summit planned for July 2020, where each world region will have its focus and role to play. The Steering Committee advised to use the platform of the Summer School to build PERC input to this important event.

Covid-19 update NIS EN
Covid-19 update SEE EN
MFF NDICI factsheet. June 2020