Address to the 104th Session of the International Labour Conference
Mr. Stanisław RÓŻYCKI, workers delegate of Poland
Distinguished Madam President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of Polish Workers’ Delegation I would like to congratulate you, Madam President, on your election. 1 would like also to express my gratitude to Director-General for his Report. The current agenda of the 104th Session of the International Labour Conference is extremely important as it defines labour relations for the future. The general debate on forthcoming labour relations this year in Geneva, cannot be only an intellectual exercise for experts. It should to attempt to find answers for questions like: where we are at the moment, what dominant trends in economy we face with and what values we should focus on in the process of establishing of labour relations? Poland has been affected by significant changes in labour relations during the last 25 years. Despite relatively positive general economic situation, the working and living conditions of Polish workers deteriorate constantly. It is not a direct effect of the economic crisis but rather a consequence of radical labour market flexibility and a high level of precarious jobs. It is the effect of neglecting the fundamental principle that labour is not a commodity.
An unemployment according to the official data, is ca. 12%, must be doubled for the youth. Additionally we can’t ignore the fact that over two million, mainly young, workers left Poland. Those who decided not to emigrate, work under extreme unstable conditions. Around 30% of all workers do not have any permanent contract, work under so called “junk’ contracts or are bogus self-employed. Unfortunately, a permanent contract is a privilege for a few of workers. Moreover, their wages hardly ever are higher than a minimum wage. The gap between rich and poor is growing and the number of working-poor is growing as well. A call for decent work for all in Poland has not been so relevant before as it is now. For these reasons, Polish Workers’ Delegation is convinced that it is very important to initiate this essential discussion, bearing in mind our responsibility to put into practice a concept of decent work.
Some policy makers and experts use to think such discussion as entirely pointless. Let me to remind, that some of the high and mighty of this world try to convince us about the end of stable jobs, that the implementation of decent work for all is impossible. But, we workers oppose this opinion decidedly. The report of Director-General very precisely presents all risks and difficulties we face with during the discussion on the future of labour relations: internalization of production, immigration, child work, pauperization, etc. At this moment we should ask, a key question: why, despite such a significant and sustain growth of productivity, both in the most developed countries and at the global level, it is not reflected in sustainable increase of quality of work and life. In other words, we do observe rapidly growing economic gaps between developed and developing countries, and within the most developed counters as well.
In our opinion the ILO have to continue its mandate in the process of definition of labour relations in the present global socio-economic context and new up-to-date international standards should be a key element of the ILO mandate. Undoubtedly, without a solid supervisory mechanism of the ILO, these good ILO standards will remain as empty slogans. We believe that we can succeed by strengthening the social dialogue institutions, based on values of inclusiveness, cohesiveness and confidence between social partners and government.
The social dialogue must be a framework for the enforcement of social justice principle, as the Director-General mentioned it in his report. Unfortunately the Social Dialog doesn’t exist in Poland over two years. However recently an agreement was reached on restitution of national social dialog institution but work on a new bill at the governmental level still is not concluded. It is necessary to underline that there is not space for social dialog in educational process and new young managers have neither adequate knowledge on social dialog nor good patterns to follow. Even at universities situation is not better.
Let me to conclude, a decent job for all is a precondition of sustainable socio-economic progress over the world.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.