Intervention by Mr. Jacek Męcina,
Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labour, Poland
at the 93rd Session of the International Labour Conference,
Geneva, June 10, 2005
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Mr. Chairman, I would tike to congratulate you on your election to this position. Let me express my conviction that, under your wise leadership, we shall achieve the goals we have set for this Conference.
2. Last year was very important, if not crucial, for Poland, mainly because of our accession to the European Union, along with nine (9) other countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Today, one year later, we can attempt to make some initial evaluations. The outcomes so far have been most positive. This year was better than we expected. Economic growth has remained at a level of 5%, unemployment has been slowly declining. However, the Polish Government has been taking a number of steps to accelerate this process.
3. Our membership in the European Union has not influenced our approach towards the International Labour Organization. On the contrary, it has made us even more sensitive to the values, of which the ILO is the best guardian and promoter. At this point, I would like to thank Mr. Juan Somavia for his visit to Poland. The Director-General provided us with much of his knowledge and experience during the Conference entitled "The reform of the welfare state: a vision for Poland: the International Labour Organization's quest for fair globalization". The Director -General's visit was also an excellent opportunity to review our relationship and, I must say that the ILO is still a very important partner for us. I hope that the resulting from the visit proposal to co-fund, together with the ILO, The Jacek Kuroń Prize for contributions to the freedom of associations will promote the fullest implementation of this right, and that it will help build sound industrial relations worldwide.
4. This year in August we shall be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of "Solidarność", a great social movement, which initiated democratic changes in my country. The ILO made a great contribution to those changes while supporting "Solidarność". "Solidarność" contributed to the development of social dialogue and tripartism in my country, which are necessary for social and economic development and for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Within the last few years, the activities of alt social partners in the Tripartite Commission - 3 biggest trade unions and 4 employers' organizations - have been intensified. Ladies and Gentlemen,
5. The Report of the World Commission on the Social Dimensions of Globalization and its follow-up clearly indicate that the promotion and implementation of decent work is necessary for equitable and fully inclusive globalization. I fully support making decent work a global goal, granting it a central position in the ILO Programme for 2006 - 2007- I have noted with great interest the ILO plans to develop decent work country programmes as the main delivery vehicle of the next biennium Programme and Budget. Because to create a fair globalization one should start at home, taking into account the national characteristics and development conditions.
6. The Conference, at its 93rd session, is discussing the very important issue of youth employment promotion. This is a crucial question for all countries in the world. Youth unemployment is also a serious problem In Poland. As in many countries, the rate of unemployment among young people aged between 15 and 24 is almost twice the average. Since 1996 the Government together with social partners has been working hard to promote the employment of young people. The principal goal of these measures is activation of young people, primarily through the development of entrepreneurship, self-employment, volunteer work and increasing of qualifications. I am convinced that the Action Plan to be adopted by the Conference will equip us with new solutions to this problem.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
7.I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the International Labour Office for the excellent report on forced labour. This is the first comprehensive review of this phenomenon, providing a full picture of it in the world.
8. In conclusion, let me refer to the changes in the functioning of the Conference. The reform of the Conference's work, especially the form and course of the plenary, has been discussed for some time. We welcome the publication of the Director-General's introduction to the Conference before its delivery. In my opinion, thanks to this the plenary discussion is more interactive and interesting.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for your attention.