Mr. President,
Distinguished Delegates,

On behalf of the Polish Workers Delegation I congratulate you and your vice presidents on your election to this responsible function. It is my great satisfaction that my good friend Shigeru Nakajima acts as workers vice president of the ILC.

It is also our satisfaction of the ILC efforts to elaborate a new and a very important instrument on domestic work. I do hope that the ILO fulfilling its mandate will essentially improve the life of millions of the employed in this sector.

Mr. President,

A year ago, from this place, the President of Poland Mr. Lech Kaczynski, former eminent leader of TU Solidarnosc, former member of the Governing Body of the ILO had been speaking about important problems for the working people, being especially sensitive to social issues. Regrettably he is no longer with us. He died in a tragic plane crash and we still can’t overcome this irreparable loss.

Distinguished Delegates,

Polish workers are currently facing two essentially important problems: First of all, Poland suffered enormous flooding during the last few weeks. Thousands of people suffered flood damage, many of them lost all their possessions. Many small enterprises, workshops and farms were destroyed. Their reconstruction needs joint action of the state as well as of society as a whole.

This is a very serious situation because the flood coincided with an another problem,- the world crisis.
Last year our President Lech Kaczyński, in his address to the ILC, pointed out that even though Poland up to then experienced a little impact of the world crisis, a real threat still does exist. Very soon it turned out he was right. “Anticrisis” government activities undertaken against trade unions’ opinion yielded only in a decrease of labour standards. Unemployment ratio exceeded 12%, there is a real threat of stability of the pension system. EU and Word economies do not create the hope of quick recovery.

In our opinion the world crisis has not ended but is still in its initial phase. Even here, in the ILO, we are reluctant to analyse in depth the current crisis, interpreting it as a consequence of financial mistakes.

Meanwhile, the general permission for global trade without any preconditions constitutes the basic reason of the world crisis. This has created thereby good circumstance for unfair competition. I would like to remind that it was one of reasons why 90 years ago the ILO was established, and the world of labour is still far from being perfect.

Twice in the past I have been pointed out, just from this very place and I will repeat it again that more than half of the world population doesn’t enjoy of provisions of two basic ILO conventions namely Convention No 87 on freedom of association and Convention No 98 on collective bargaining. I would like to stress that some 55% of the word population is deprived of legal protection of their rights to freely organize and bargain collectively. What’s more, countries that have a huge impact on the development of global unfair competition are not bonded by these conventions. Let me mention them by name: India, China and USA – almost half of the world population.

Let me have a kind request to the Director General of the ILO to extend statistics concerning ratifications of particular conventions by adding the current population of country concerned. This relates to Report III (2). I’m convinced it would be very instructive.

There are no doubts that this overwhelming lack of freedom of association substantially undermines and weakens practical application of freedom of association in countries that have ratified this convention. Trade unions while demanding fundamental labour conditions, decent work, very often publicly are being accused of acting to the detriment of the national economy and that of the employees themselves.

We are worried of the general practices of antiunion discrimination, including Poland as an example. This discrimination is practiced in “velvet gloves” from one side and with silent permission of the justice system from the other side. Even well documented cases of discrimination due to union affiliation were dismissed by courts because of “their low social harmfulness”. The heavy and drastic cases are investigated “in detail” and lengthily. It awakes the conviction that the ILO Conventions as well as national laws are ineffective. Additionally, the high and still increasing unemployment keeps back the workers to take responsible posts in unions or even to affiliate to a union at all. The ITUC Report on violation of freedom of association - presented last week - fully confirms our statement. It points out how serious the situation is, however not all cases were recorded in this report. Therefore I appeal to all of you, to consider such important issues as a global and decent employment in the context of global freedom of association.

Thank you for your kind attention.