BASTUN Polish Presidency Work Plan for 1 July June 2016

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1 BASTUN Polish Presidency Work Plan for 1 July June BASTUN Polish Presidency The BASTUN is a trade union forum for information exchange, discussion and definition of common interests in the Baltic Sea region. In addition to international trade union cooperation, BASTUN has a representative role in various international bodies and working groups, which include a wide range of political dimensions. BASTUN follows and disseminates information on international projects. The Presidency and the Secretariat form a preparation and executive body. The BASTUN spring and autumn meetings function as forums for discussion and collective decision making. The Presidency in cooperation with the Secretariat represents the network when needed, acts as a chairman at the BASTUN meetings and implements the Presidency Work Plan. The Polish Trade Unions FZZ, NSZZ Solidarnosc and OPZZ hold the BASTUN presidency from the beginning of July 2015 until the end of June During the Polish Presidency the chairmanship of BASTUN will be held by a trio presidency with co-presidents Mr Tadeusz Chwałka from FZZ, Mr Piotr Duda from NSZZ Solidarnosc and Mr Jan Guz from OPZZ. The BASTUN Autumn Meeting will be organised in Gdansk the third week of November BASTUN will closely follow the work of the Forum for Social Dialogue in the Baltic Sea region (BSLF) as an observer. A BASTUN Spring meeting will be organised in Warsaw during the second week of April The exact dates will be confirmed in the autumn meeting The Work Plan for the Polish presidency will be introduced at the spring meeting 2015 in Tallinn/Estonia. BASTUN will provide interpretation (English-Russian) for the official meetings when needed. BASTUN will provide interpretation (English-Polish) for the official meetings when needed. 1

2 2 Priorities of the Polish Presidency BASTUN s priorities reflect the political and social situation of the Baltic Sea region. The network follows political discussion and aims to keep relevant issues for trade union movement on the agenda. The presidency sets its political priorities for the presidency period. During the Polish presidency the network is invited to discuss the future roles and focus areas of Trade Unions in the Baltic Sea region. The presidency wishes to highlight a number of priorities that are relevant to the development of Trade Unions as active partners in shaping tomorrows society. Priorities during the Polish presidency are Sustainable Labour markets and fair mobility in the Baltic Sea region Organizing with special focus on youth Improving public images for Trade Unions and and changing public attitudes Midterm evaluation of the Trade Union vision for the Baltic Sea Sustainable Labour markets and fair mobility in the Baltic Sea region Freedom of movement is a fundamental right for all workers in Europe. Mobility in the Baltic Sea region is still on the increase, leading to more dynamic labour markets and more possibilities for the economies. At the same time there are challenges related to this movement. The countries around the Baltic Sea differ a lot in regards to historical contexts, union density and the collective agreement coverage. The differences in wages and working conditions lead to a development where labour moves from countries with lower wages to countries with higher wages and better working conditions. In the Baltic Sea Region the main movement of labour goes from Poland and the Baltic Countries to Germany and the Nordic Countries. The mobility of labour helps with matching of employment but can also lead to situations of social dumping and foster grey economy if mobile workers are not offered the same conditions as the local ones. In this context posting of workers is also relevant, as it can lead to abuse if focus is on the rights of the businesses and not on the rights of the employees. The polish presidency of BASTUN will focus on sustainable labour markets emphasizing creation of quality jobs, fair working conditions and strong trade unions. As part of the discussion on fair mobility the Polish presidency invites all members to discuss trade union cooperation in regards to mobile workers, and how we can ensure that mobile workers find unions when they move across boarders. 2

3 2.2 Organizing with special focus on youth The second priority for the Polish presidency is recruiting young people to trade unions. Young people today become autonomous at a later age than previous generation due to low incomes, lack of jobs and greater job instability created by the economic and social crises. If youth don t get the opportunity to enter the labour market and transition into decent work there is risk of social exclusion. Young people are among the most mobile groups in the labour market and the high unemployment rate in notably Poland and the Baltic countries has led to situations where young people leave their home countries in search of better labour market opportunities. A continued trend of young people leaving some countries and entering other, at the same time as the demographic development in Europe shows aging populations, will have severe consequences for the region as a whole. For trade unions it is an equally alarming trend that the most significant decline in union membership is among young workers. Young people, due to the changing conditions in working life and trade union images are less and less inclined to join a union. The combination of barriers to labour market entry and problems with Trade Union public images and lack of information can prove fatal for the trade union movement in the long run. In this context the Polish presidency of BASTUN will focus on organizing with special focus on reaching young people and sharing best practices in the area. 2.3 Improving public images of Trade Unions and changing public attitudes Organizing and recruiting new members is a key challenge for the Trade Union movement in the Baltic Sea region. A key issue that needs to be addressed to change this development is improving the public Images of Trade Unions. The Trade Union movement needs a positive public image to recruit and maintain membership in all countries. It is central, that unions master communication towards a greater public to provide a fair and positive image of the work we do. Only through a good public image can we attract a larger member base. The challenge of getting public support is today done largely by winning over the media when conducting campaigns and raising awareness. The Polish presidency of BASTUN will focus on exchanging best practices in regards to forming and affecting public opinions and invites BASTUN members to share best practices on successful public campaigns. 2.4 Midterm evaluation of the Trade Union vision for the Baltic Sea As a part of the discussion of the future roles for Trade Unions the Polish Presidency also wants to continue developing the network internally. The presidency wishes to continue the work 3

4 started by the Estonian presidency with evaluating the work and development of BASTUN and discussing common priorities and aims through a midterm evaluation of the Trade Union vision for the Baltic Sea 2020 that was written in Cooperation within the trade union movement BASTUN cooperates and organises different actions with all trade union organisations that have interests in the Baltic Sea region. Through the cooperation, the network helps its member organisations to get their voice heard in international discussions within the trade union movement. The most important cooperation partners are: European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Pan- European Regional Council (PERC), the Council of Nordic Trade Unions (NFS) and some of the Nordic sector trade union confederations, namely Nordic IN, Confederation of the Nordic Bank, Finance and Insurance Unions (NFU), Nordic Transport Workers Confederation (NTF), Nordic Federation of Building and Woodworkers (NBTF), Nordic Hotel, Restaurant, Catering and Tourist Confederation (NU HRCT). BASTUN also cooperates with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and also with other foundations when needed. The Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Union (BKDP) represents the Belarusian free trade unions. The BKDP is a strategic partner of BASTUN since BASTUN works for coordinating international support given to the Belarusian free trade union movement. The support includes financial and political dimension. During the Polish Presidency: BASTUN will participate in trade union discussions in terms of Baltic Sea affairs. BASTUN will influence political processes in terms of Baltic Sea issues in cooperation with ETUC, NFS and PERC and Nordic sector trade union confederations. BASTUN meetings and activities will be open to different trade union actors. The aim is to maximize the coordination and information exchange between different trade union actors. BASTUN will follow the discussions on strategic planning of international support to the Belarusian free trade unions BASTUN continues the work of keeping the Belarusian free trade unions on the political agenda in national and international context. 4 Trade union influence One of the BASTUN s main tasks is political and social influencing. The basic principle is that the network acts in all forums that are relevant in terms of the political processes concerning joint interests. Besides political influencing BASTUN follows, coordinates and takes part in projects that have a social or political impact on the region. 4

5 4.1 International interest representation and contacts to other actors There are various international actors that coordinate and define actions and goals within the Baltic Sea region. These international organisations and bodies are channels for BASTUN to follow and influence political processes. In addition to the ones listed beneath, BASTUN keeps it eyes open and is mapping possible alliances with other organisations and stakeholders Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS) From BASTUN point of view there are three main roles of cooperation with CBSS in : 1) As a partner and as a secretariat for the Forum for Social Dialogue for the Baltic Sea Region. 2) As an initiator to the BSLF MobINIT- project which has the aim of creating a mobility project within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea region. The project focuses on finding solutions to providing information to migrant workers, combatting Grey Economy and undeclared work and developing vocational education. 3) As a provider of expertise and training in terms of trafficking and forced labour exploitation. BASTUN will continue to follow the work of the Baltic Sea Labour Forum as an observer and promote trade union interests. BASTUN will participate in the relevant meetings of the CBSS and represent trade unions of the Baltic Sea region. BASTUN secretariat will maintain close contact with the CBSS secretariat Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference (BSPC) BASTUN is active in parliamentary cooperation in the Baltic Sea region when the BSPC has labour market, counter-trafficking/forced labour exploitation and social issues on its agenda. BASTUN will assist the BSPC and CBSS in continuing to develop a tripartite forum for social dialogue in the Baltic Sea region. BASTUN will possibly participate in the 24th Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference in Rostock, Germany on 9-11 September BASTUN secretariat maintains contacts to key persons in BSPC s political framework (BSPC s chair and secretariat) Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) Finland has the presidency until the end of 2015, after which the Russian Federation will chair the council until the end of

6 BASTUN representation in the BEAC is flexible. The secretariat and other interested member organizations may participate when needed Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) and Nordic Council (NC) The NCM and NC work with Baltic Sea issues and are important actors in the Baltic Sea region. BASTUN has not direct representation in the NCM or the NC. Trade unions are represented by the Council of Nordic Trade Unions. During the Polish presidency BASTUN will follow the NCM and the NC through the NFS. Relevant information will be distributed through the network European Union (EU) BASTUN s main context regarding any contact to EU institutions is the policies of the Northern Dimension and Baltic Sea region. In this connection relations to the EU institutions are relevant. BASTUN will maintain relevant contacts to the Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and other EU institutions. BASTUN will follow and influence the implementation of the Baltic Sea Strategy and engage in discussion for any follow-up, especially in terms of financing. 4.2 Project Activities One of BASTUN s tasks is to support and coordinate joint international projects that have a social or political impact on the region. The projects are an operational tool to influence social development of the Baltic Sea region. BASTUN will keep track on the trade union projects in the Baltic Sea region, with a special regard to the Baltic Organising Academy, which has already showed positive examples in raising organisation rate in Estonia and Lithuania. 6

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