WYSTĄPIENIE DELEGATA PRACOWNICZEGO,
95 SESJA MIĘDZYNARODOWEJ KONFERENCJI PRACY 10 CZERWCA 2006 R.
It is my great honour and privilege to have this opportunity of addressing this illustrious assembly on behalf of the Polish worker delegation. I would like to congratulate to the President and Vice-presidents of Conference on their election.
It is with a genuine satisfaction that we read the Report of Director General "The end of child labour: within reach" under the Follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
Eight years after adoption of this Declaration, the first practical results have been noted - visible decline of child labour. We hope these tendency will be not only maintained but also will develop significantly.
However, while discussing this important report, some shortcoings have been pointed out. I would like to refer to the intervention made yesterday by Mr. Simon Steyne spokesperson for the Workers' group . I hope that the Director General will be good enough to include in the next Global Report on this issue some suggestions arisiing out of this discussion, and that practical action will be taken. It is my intention to underline that the Report is of the highest importance and quality and once more we thank the Director General and the staff of the ILO, as well as IPEC.
The Polish workers are keeping an attentive eye on the effects of the Declaration adopted in 1998, being deeply convinced that its achievements should not only be considered in terms of the number of ratifications of Core Conventions. In a globalizing world, it is much more important to achive a considerable increase in the number of workers who can enjoy the benefits of the core Conventions. Unfortunately, the two most important Conventions, Nos. 87 and 98, do not have enough coverage: less than half of the workers in the world benefit from provisions of these Conventions. In a spirit of solidarity, the Polish workers appeal to all concerned to ensure that the employees are free to organize, allow them to bargain collectively and freely".
The practical implementation of the core Conventions is as important as their ratification. Poland has ratified all eight core Conventions, but their practical implementation in our country is far from satisfactory.
This attributed to a poor economy and high unemployment. I would like to believe it is the result of poor knowledge of ILO standards rather then lack of good will and of negative attitude to labour standards.
Particular attention should be paid to multinational enterprises. Many of these enterprises operating in different countries comply with the provisions of the core Conventions, but in Poland,where they enjoy favorable tax conditions and relatively low labour costs, they do not observe these standards. One example is "Whirlpool", a very well-known brand that operates in the Polish citie of
Wrocław. For some years, for the same work, performed in the same conditions workers have been earning wages that differ widely, sometimes by a factor of two. The distinctions arise from different forms of employment: some workers are employed a permanent basis and others an a temporary basis through employment agencies. In addition, the employer continuously refuses to enter into negotiations on this issue with enterprise trade unions. If this continues, national trade unions, as
requested by the enterprise trade union "Solidarność", will consider submitting a complaint to the Governing Body of the ILO.
The report of the National Labour Inspector submitted to the Parliamentary Committee confirms that labour relations practices are very often not in accordance with national law and legislation. We urge the ILO to analyse the phenomenon carefully, and we offer our full cooperation.
We are deeply convinced that inadequate implementation of labour standards places en essential threshold on economic development, as well as on the improvement of the standard of living of workers and citizens in general.
The most painful problem in Poland is Undoubtedly unemployment, which is the highest in European Union. For a long time it has been around 18 per cent. We do not share satisfaction expressed by the Polish Minister of Labour in her statement on 7 June, with the rather small decrease in unemployment rate to some 17 per cent. It is due to massive emigration of the most active, well educated
and highly skilled workers, who are seeking jobs in others countries. Many of them are young people. Labour emigration can be a lifeline for individuals, but it should not be officially accepted and promoted as a solution to employment problems. We are concerned that, for many years now, there has been no realistic programme for improvement in the labour market in Poland.
We recall that the protection of workers is the main goal of trade unions and, through this, the achievement of prosperity for all. This idea has been repeatedly expressed on many occasions for example during celebration for the 25th anniversary of the trade union "Solidarność". We therefore bear in mind the two fundamental theses on which the international community of labour is founded:
Labour is not a commodity and
Poverty anywhere constitutes a danger to prosperity everywhere
This truth has to be persistently recalled.
Thank you for your attention.