Friday, April 20, 2012


Left Profesor Milan Katuninec who gave an overview of the Social Dialogue in central and eastern European countries like Hungary and Slowakia. He explained why in these former communist countries the Social Dialogue is still 'under construction'.
In the centre of the photograph Günther Trausnitz, vice president of the WOW, president of the European Organization of WOW (EO/WOW) and Executive Secretary of the Austrian Union GPA-djp for Christian fraction. His organization hosted the seminar. Günther also introduced to the seminar audiance the so-called "Magic Triangle" of the Social Dialogue in Austria as one of the pillars of the welfare state Austria.
On the right Reinhardt Schiller, member of the EO/WOW and former president of the German CGM.

European Social Christian oriented unions held an EZA sponsored two-day seminar in Vienna about the Social Dialogue in Europe (April 18-19). Trade union representatives of 17 European countries listened and debated with 12 speakers and discussed matters in working groups. The seminar was organized by WOW together with its member-organisation from Austria, the Christian Fraction of the trade union GPA-djp.

In the middle of the photograph Jonathan Stabenow, Executive Secretary of the European Christian Democratic Workers Group (EUCDW). Jonathan started the seminar with an introduction of the activities and aims of the EUCDW. He invited WOW members to stay in contact with EUCDW about its opinions and ideas.
Right in front you see Rolf Weber from the Danish KRIFA and treasurer of WOW. He presented together with Sören Fibiger Olesen, president of  KRIFA, and Jesper Wengel, Administrative Director of KRIFA, the story of KRIFA in Denmark, about the succesful new aproach of KRIFA to grow and the failure of the Danish Government to recognize trade union pluralism in the Social Dialogue.
Left you see Ana Kostovska from the Macedonian Trade Union of Finances. Behind Ana sits Freek Ruijs from the Dutch Dienstenbond CNV.

In working groups they discussed on such questions as if they consider the Social Dialogue in their country as a success, if not why not, what the role is of the trade unions in the Social Dialogue, if employers and governments respect the trade unions as their social partners, what should be the future of Social Dialogue, what is the position of trade unions in the society (trade unions in Europe are losing members) etc? 

The Spanish speaking working group together with members of the trade union ASIPA (Zaragoza), FEC-CAT (Barcelona), FCG/GPA and the Dienstenbond CNV.
Behind you see one of the English speaking groups at work with members of the Slowakian trade union NKOS and the Maltese trade union UHM.

Speakers from countries that have a long-term experience with Social Dialogue like for example Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands agreed that the Social Dialogue has brought stability and welfare for all people in their countries. But they also concluded that because of the globalisation, the fast technological developments, the demographic developments (people become older), the financial crisis of 2008, the European crisis today, etc. it is necessary to revaluate the Christian social values and based on this revaluation to come to a redefinition of the employment conditions and functioning of the labor market.

EZA president Bartho Pronk and former member of the European Parliament told that he was glad to be present at an seminar of its member organization WOW. He also introduced the activities of EZA for the next year. EZA is very eager to assist its members to find answers on the contemporean problems of the trade unions from the social Christian point of view.
Left on the photograph Günther Trausnitz who has been already introduced. Right on the photograph Wolfgang Pischinger,  President of FCG/GPA and member of the EO/WOW board.

However, in other countries the Social Dialogue is still ‘under construction’ because governments and or employers do not respect the trade unions, don’t want to enter in a dialogue or use the dialogue just for their own political agenda. In some countries like for example Serbia, employers don’t even accept the existence of a trade union in their company. Trade unions have still to struggle to become recognised as a valuable partner for democracy, socio-economic progress and social justice.

CNV President Jaap Smit explained the need to find new answers based on the classical social Christian values. In his words; trade unions should redecorate their homes and change old furniture for new furniture. Social Dialogue has proved its value for the Dutch society but today it is at stake because of dramatic demographic changes, new technologies, on-going globalization, the arrival of a new generation with new poriorities etc.

The participants agreed that trade unions should have the courage to look with fresh eyes to the labor world of today and based on a revaluation of Christian social values should reformulate how “redecorate the labor world with new wallpaper and new furniture”.

Before closing the seminar a panel discussion on the role of the social partners took place. Moderator was Mara Erdelj, member of the EO/WOW board and President of the Serbian Trade Union Bofos. Panel members were  (from left to right) Valère Jung, also board member of EO/WOW and secretray general of the French CFTC Metal, Jelena Soms from the Lithuanian LDF and Demetris Patsalos of the trade union POAS in Cyprus.
During the evening FCG/GPA offered the participants a dinner at an typical Austrian restaurant. Here a view of the Serbian BOFOS delegation with President Mara Erdelj (right in front of the photograph) and the delegation of the Croation trade union SING. Behind you see the Maltese UHM  delegates Secretary General  Josef Vella (left) and President Jesmond Bonello.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Friends,

    It was a very well organised seminar thanks to WOW,EZA. A seminar which gave us the opportunity to appreciate more other Trade Unions experiences on social dialogue.


    Jesmond Bonello
    UHM Malta