WYSTĄPIENIE DELEGATA PRZEDSIĘBIORCÓW,
IZABELI OPĘCHOWSKIEJ - ZWIĄZEK RZEMIOSŁA POLSKIEGO
100. SESJA MIĘDZYNARODOWEJ KONFERENCJI PRACY 9 CZERWCA 2011 R.
Thank you Mr. Chairman
Mr. Director General, Ladies, Gentlemen’s
I welcome the fact that this Conference is focusing on important issues in various key fields, particularly decent work for domestic workers, social protection and labour administration. In this context, I would like to describe the economic situation in Poland. Forecasts indicate that the rate of economic growth in our country will reach over 4 per cent of GDP this year, through public investments in infrastructure, private investment and likely increases in consumption. Poland is currently facing the challenge of having to reduce the public deficit to below 3 per cent by 2012.
The continuing growth in domestic demand is a major contributor to economic growth, and is the reason why Poland recorded one of the best results in the European Union for the year 2010 – namely GDP growth of 3.8 per cent. Employers point out that Poland’s strong labour market has, by and large, survived the crisis. Employers’ organizations currently forecast moderate growth, both in terms of employment and wages, which will increase household spending.
In Poland, we have not yet felt the strong impact of the crisis. However, we have to be vigilant and reasonable in our spending. Decisions that are not based on careful calculations could cause serious problems for enterprises, especially in the SME sec-tor. Against this background, the Government is proposing reforms that are not conducive to the development of social dialogue, and may undermine it. The Polish Government is proposing reforms to protect the most vulnerable groups. However, as is usual in such situations, the Government has proposed changes that are not very popular because they generally involve cuts to social benefits.
Employers’ organizations affiliated to the Tripartite Commission for Social and Economic Affairs understand the proposals made by trade unions aiming to protect the poorest. However, we need to realize that, given the present state of public finances, such measures could have negative consequences for the State’s budget and public debt. Last year, the Government introduced changes to the functioning of pension funds meant to solve the problems of the pension system. These days, we cannot rely on the State, and should instead think ahead and take measures now to protect our retirement income in the future. We must be careful in analysing the costs of pension funds so that they are most effective for insured people.
Debate on this subject is continuing at social dialogue level. Polish employers’ organizations welcome the fact that 100th Session of the International Labour Conference has appointed a Committee for the Recurrent Discussion on Social Protection. Social dialogue has also been weakened by problems relating to the consultation process in Poland. Consultation should take place in an efficient and effective social forum, which is pivotal to the process.
In Poland, the consultation process is far from ideal, as controversial proposals have not been discussed with the social partners. The terms of the consultation process have not been respected, which has often made consultation impossible. Only the Ministry of Labour has complied with existing legislation in this regard. Other ministries, although they are members of the tripartite commission, often fail to consult the social partners with regard to legislative proposals and changes.
Employers’ organizations, in cooperation with the Polish trade unions, seek to address the problems associated with the consultation process. They are committed to the principles of social dialogue, in order to solve problems in a way that will not adversely affect the functioning of public finances, which could lead to a serious crisis.