7th June 2012

Mr. President

Distinguished Delegates,

It is my privilege, speaking on behalf of the Polish Workers’ Delegation to congratulate you and your vice presidents on your election to this responsible function. I extend my congratulation also to Mr. Guy Ryder. We wish him many successes especially in the forthcoming very difficult period for the working people. I thank Mr. Juan Somavia Director General for his outstanding work during the last 14 years, particularly for his fight for decent work.

Mr. President,

While the Word is struggling against increasing economic and employment crises , social dialog is widely recognised as conditio sine qua non to combat these crises. I have to communicate to this august assembly with great regret that social dialog in Poland turned out to be a myth last year. The Polish Government disregarded opinions of the National Tripartite Commission presenting bills to the parliament entirely different from those accepted by the Commission or without a commissions opinion at all.

Some weeks ago the Polish Parliament has passed a new law on extending the age of retirement up to 67, strictly along the government’s project ( men have to work 2 years longer while women 7 years longer). This act was adopted without any social consultations despite the fact that over 2 millions of Polish citizens signed the citizen project of bill on the national referendum concerning this matter.

We raise objections not only on the violation of the essence of social dialog but we also oppose entirely false solutions of extending the age of retirement. Such regulations do not take into account the unemployment ratio that exceeds 13% nor the fact that the extension retirement age do not contribute to create a single work place.

It means, in practice, a serious threat of the increase of unemployment of young people. Presently it is dramatically high, around 30% and it reaches even 60% in some regions. In workers’ opinion the lack of real social dialog in Poland is caused first of all by universally poor observance of the right of freedom of association and the right to bargain collectively.

In spite of legal guarantees there are many bad practices at enterprise level which result finally in eliminating of trade unions. Also creating new bad employment methods, especially related to young people, without any social protection, and thus preventing workers in practice from organising themselves .

Furthermore one has to note constant anti trade union propaganda and absolute lack, in the educational system, of any information on workers’ rights and roles played by trade unions.

A vast number of cases passed to prosecutors’ offices concerning the violation of freedom of association, were dismissed because of, according to the legal interpretation of low social harmfulness of offence. It breeds additional frustrations and conviction of inefficiency of the Polish law.

We hope that the ILO will intervene this specific aspect of the lack of freedom of association in Poland.

Distinguished Delegates,

With true satisfaction I found that my suggestion concerning of statistics of proliferation of the Fundamental ILO Conventions was implemented in Report VI for this year ILC – (see: Fundamental principles and rights at work: From commitment to action: page 18). In view of the fact that the provisions of the Convention No 87 do not cover nearly 55% of the world’s population, the International Labour Office should provide appropriate funds for more effective promotion for the ratification of Convention No 87 as well as the Convention No 98.

I encourage the Office to forward the above statistics to the annual report [Report III(2)] for the deliberations of the Committee on Application of Conventions and Recommendations.

Thank you for your kind attention