Mr. President
Distinguished Delegates

     The present session of the ILC is of particular significance because just now we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. The Declaration points rightly at the ILO Fundamental Conventions without which other conventions can’t be fully implemented and urges all ILO Members to ratify and observe them. The wide recognition of these eight conventions as the Fundamental Conventions converge with the Global Action for Decent Work. As it was pointed out many times in publications as well as during conferences, the Fundamental Conventions constitute condition sine qua non of creation of decent jobs and of providing decent working conditions and decent wages.

One should keep in mind that common people are real actors of economic and social life and among them workers play a crucial role. There is a need to put forward the questions: How many employees have opportunity to enjoy benefits coming from the provisions of the ILO Fundamental Conventions? How many of them do really enjoy protection of their basic rights at work?

The globalization processes, especially economic globalization are inseparably linked with breaking down barriers for international trade, investments and capital flows. The barriers to choose the living places as well as the work places are still not easy to overcome for majority of the world population. If, however some succeed, they face with a huge scope of discrimination in their new work places.

Real picture of the proliferation of the ILO Fundamental Conventions can be seen if the scope of their ratification would be expressed in terms of percent of the world population who live in countries that have ratified these particular conventions. These figures are as follows: for C87 – 81.8% and 45.5%, for C98 – 87.3% and 49.1%, for C105 – 93.9% and 73.6%. The first figure shows the percent of ratifications by countries, the second one percent of the world population covered by particular conventions, respectively.

The fact that the major part of the world population does not enjoy provisions of the conventions no. 87 and no. 98 has a destructive impact on their regular observation in countries that have ratified them. For example, in my country, Poland the convention No 87 is broken very often and proceedings before courts initiated by victims are ineffective and long-lasting. There are many serious reasons to submit claims against the Polish Government to the GB of the ILO for not enough effective observance of this convention. Recently the TU Solidarnosc has submitted such a claim against the multinational company CUSSONS in Poland, because of serious repressions against a union leader in that company.

The Polish government officially declares its support for development of the social dialog and for settlement of difficult socio – economic issues on the way of tripartite negotiations. Such declarations are not credible since everyday practice stands in strong opposition to them. Quite recently the government has submitted essential changes in pension regulations without any consultations with the social partners. It is not surprising because it is in line with the political credo of the main political force in Poland. This credo is as follows, I quote: Poland is engulfed by stagnation and disbelief in the future. The main reason of this is the paralysis of the developing of entrepreneurial spirit and civil initiative by bureaucracy, bad law and group interests of trade unions.

Therefore the massive acceptance and full observance of the conventions on freedom of association 87 and collective bargaining 98 should be the priorities of the ILO and all Member Countries. According to the carried out calculations, the ratification of these conventions by such countries as China, India and USA would raise by some 2.7 billion the number of people provided with their provisions. This, certainly would change radically the labour relations all over the world and would create opportunities for decent work for hundreds of million of workers and thus a chance for a decent life for their families. I’m deeply convinced that without these ratifications, all ILO efforts wouldn’t bring expected fruits.

Mr. President,

Finally, I would like to remind of an idea presented some years ago to the ILC by my eminent colleague Kiyoshi Sasamori, the Japanese workers’ delegate and by myself, to establish an International Educational Found. This Found would offer the world’s poorest children not only regular basic education, but regular meals as well. I’m absolutely certain that the education of children is the best way to provide them with a chance for a better life and to eliminate child labour. In the spirit of solidarity with these poor children, the Polish workers urge the ILO Members to undertake this, not so difficult, task.

Thank you for your kind attention.