years after the IIIrd Congress, the delegates from the Post and Telecom
Sector had their IVth Congress to pronounce themselves on their action programme.
Jan Martinovic was re-elected. He had to face the difficult task of defending the interests of workers of both Post and Telecom. Indeed, as a result of liberalisation, privatisation, the trade union cohesion had been seriously challenged.
The pressure due to the country’s accession to the EU on 01.05.2004 and the reforms that are being prepared by Deutsche Telekom, play an important role in Slovakia.
The messages from the governmental and employers’ delegations gave little hope to the participants. The chairman of the trade council Post and Telecom, Manfred Wiedner, and colleague Jadranko Vehar (RSRHPT, Croatia) expressed their solidarity with the SOZPT.
As secretary general of Eurofedop, Bert Van Caelenberg referred in his speech to the necessity of training also in trade union matters. The Government’s task does not end with signing the Acquis Communautaire and the social protocol it includes.
Bert Van Caelenberg concluded his speech with “Europe will be social or will be not at all”.
In the Second Postal Directive (2002/39/EC) it was said that Member States
will be able to exempt from competition items of correspondence weighing
less than 100 grams and costing less than three times the basic tariff
from 1/1/2003 and correspondence of less than 50 grams and costing less
than 2,5 times the basic tariff from 1/1/2006. All out-going cross-border
mail shall be open to competition from 1/1/2003. The process of further
market opening represents only a 9 percent opening in the market of 2003
and a further 7 percent opening in 2006, with January 2009 as a possible
date for complete liberalisation.
16th November last, the Belgian trade union CCOD organised a meeting for
its trade unionists in Ghent.
One of the invited speakers, Bert Van Caelenberg, secretary general of Eurofedop, spoke about the social Europe.
After an analysis of the present state of affairs concerning world trade and globalisation, he came to the following facts :
- globalisation is a fact,
- this may not lead to fatalism,
- attack is the best defence.
Then he came also to the following conclusion :
Globalisation means that goods, services, capital, technologies will spread over the whole world and that countries over the whole world will more and more open their market to each other. Globalisation can have as a consequence that prosperity will increase for everyone, but can also have a dislocating effect on things. The task is to watch over the proper functioning of this process through the application of international rules. If companies extend their activities worldwide, “fair play” rules must also be established worldwide.
His explanatory note was followed by a short speech of the CCOD’s general president, Lea Vanschoenwinkel. She stressed the value and difficult task of the trade unionist of the CCOD.
the city of SMEDEREVO, about 50 km south of Belgrade, Eurofedop held a two
days’ seminar on the consequences of restructuring in the public services
in Europe, on the problems connected with telework and on the activities
of the Council of Europe, its institutions and its emphases, with special
attention for the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social
The participants in this seminar were trade union organisations from Serbia-Montenegro, defending the interests of the staff of justice, the local sectors and the cultural sector.
A large interest was also shown by the Local Authorities who received a delegation of the partici-pants at the town hall of Smederevo, together with the chairmen of the 3 organisations and the sec-retary general of Eurofedop.
The local media, in particular the regional TV channel, were also present to cover the seminar.
The trade union organisations of Serbia-Montenegro that were present at the seminar, declared that the seminar was a great success and were determined to convert the acquired knowledge as quickly as possible into usable working themes for their own organisation. They want to put high on their priority list, the items of “training for the personnel” and the provision of the necessary “means” to work efficiently.
Both Eurofedop and the participating organisations will further follow up the conclusions of this seminar and a direct opportunity in this respect will already be given to these trade unions through the Eastern Europe Conference in Vienna (21-22 November 2003), where they will be present with four delegates.
Europe is growing together
"If Europe wants social progress and economic prosperity
and if it wants to be a continent of democracy and rule of law, it needs
a strong public service", concluded the Secretary General of Eurofedop,
Bert Van Caelenberg.
than 100 participants from eight sectors of the UGL were present at this
meeting during which trade union activists of the UGL exchanged ideas with
Eurofedop representatives on the current developments in the European public
Positions of the national sectors of the UGL were considered in combination with the action programmes as established by the trade councils of Eurofedop.
The discussion was guided by Renata Polverini, deputy secretary general of the UGL. For Eurofedop, Bert Van Caelenberg spoke about the challenges linked with the enlargement. This point, also theme of the Italian presidency, was followed with much attention by On. Learco Saporito, Italy’s Secretary of State for the Civil Service.
A clear picture of the objectives of the UGL and Eurofedop was given to the delegates of the different administrations, during speeches and a debate in the morning and in the afternoon. Jean-Paul Devos and Kristien Van der Gucht, respectively of the trade council Ministries and of the trade council Local and Regional Authorities, expressed the Eurofedop position.
|The meeting had been prepared by the International Department of the UGL and the secretariat of Eurofedop. It was a genuine step in the process towards European social dialogue. A dialogue that will be continued next 03/12, when Eurofedop will meet the Troika in Rome.|
|Exactly 100 years ago, the Dutch Christian Union of Employees in Public Services (NCBPPN) was founded in Amsterdam. Thursday 6 November, president Paul Koeslag opened the anniversary congress of what is nowadays known as CNV Publieke Zaak. Only a few months ago another CNV celebrated its oldest member, Mr. P van der Ploeg, who also turned 100.|| On
behalf of Eurofedop, Secretary General Bert van Caelenberg congratulated
the 84.000 members which include civil servants, employees in public utility
companies, postal and telecommuncation workers, etc.
CNV Publieke Zaak Chairman Paul Koeslag and the youngest member Gea Riemersma (age 17) from Groningen congratualate the oldest member, P. van der Ploeg from Delft, with his 100th birthday (photo Ton Borsboom)
CNV Publieke Zaak chairman Paul Koeslag
|“The commitment of Christians and Christian Social
Organisations in the
construction of the European Union”
The central question during this European Social Week of 2003 was : which role can be played by Christian social organisations in an increasingly secularised European society ? Starting from this question, the participants tried to define prospects for chances and challenges which present them-selves to our organisations in Europe and the European Union of tomorrow.
Christian social commitment applies to all aspects of life in society. In addition to its firm rooting in classical Christian social organisations, this commitment should now be extended to the new move-ments around sustainable development, justice, international solidarity, civic commitment, etc.
The participants tried to find an answer to this, in three steps.
1. By analysing the characteristics and trends in the current cultural and political reality of the European Union.
2. By showing how the Christian associations evolve. The Christian commitment can become real-ity in different ways, depending on religious, political and social circumstances. In Western Europe, associations of Christians look for renewal. In Middle and Eastern Europe, the initiative to build new organisations from scratch is often taken by Christians.
3. By reaching conclusions about new prospects for Christian commitment, based on this analysis and these experiences, and with belief in the role that can be played by the Christian conviction in society.
Speeches were pronounced by e.g. Ján Figel (Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Na-tional Council of the Slovak Republic), Jean-Luc Dehaene (Vice-Chairman of the European Conven-tion, former prime minister of Belgium) and Michel Camdessus (Chairman of the “Semaines So-ciales” in France, former managing director of the IMF), followed by a discussion with the more than 100 participants.
Bert Van Caelenberg intervened on behalf of Eurofedop to speak about the social aspects of the Convention and the firmer position taken by Central and Eastern Europe when the preservation of the Christian identity in social movements is concerned.
The perfect organisation of this social week was in the hands of Bruno Machiels (ACW, Belgium). Consequently, the responsibility for the organisation of the Social Week in 2005 was trusted to his organisational team. Eurofedop supports this initiative and will continue its cooperation.
For further information, please consult the website of the European Social Week : http://www.eurosw.org.
|During this meeting which took place in the European Parliament,
the participants came mainly from future member states of the European Union
such as Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland. Eurofedop
attaches great importance to having contacts with delegates from the future
member states. The enlargement coming nearer, it is important that these
new states are well informed about their possibilities within Europe. Eurofedop
opens its doors to the trade union organisations from those applicant countries
which wish to become member of a representative or-ganisation at European
level. Secretary General Bert Van Caelenberg gave a presentation on the
working of Eurofedop. After this presentation, the participants showed great
interest and reacted enthusiastically.
For quite some time now, Eurofedop has been trying hard to establish contacts with the future member states. For this purpose, Secretary General Bert Van Caelenberg gets in touch with the offi-cials of Social Affairs and Employment from each accession country, with a view to establishing a date for a personal meeting.
|During these meetings, he presents Eurofedop and inquires about the situation in the country of his interlocutor. The Secretary General also travels through Central and Eastern Europe, visits and organises conferences there, meets people and gives presentations. In this way, Eurofedop stays up to date with the present developments. The meeting in the European Parliament will be followed by new contacts and conversations. The participants will also be invited to Eurofedop’s info day in the Library Solvay, on 27 January 2004, in Brussels. In this magnificent building in the vicinity of the European Parliament, Eurofedop will once again meet the EPP collaborators and present its activities for 2004.|
|Eurofedop was present at the European Commission’s
mid-term review on eEurope in The Borschette Centre in Brussels Monday 6/10/03.
The aim of this mid-term review was to set out the targets to be achieved
between 2003 and 2005 to promote a knowledge-based economy in Europe. This
eEurope initiative is an integral part of the Lisbon Strategy launched by
the European Council in March 2000.
The Action Plan has been focusing mainly on exploiting broadband technologies to deliver online services in both the public and private sector. The eEurope Action Plan proposed this mid-term review to make sure that the actions are appropriate to an enlarged EU as well. eEurope 2005 recognises that high-speed connectivity, known as broadband, stimulates the use of the Internet. Internet penetration has increased rapidly in the EU since the Lisbon summit; besides most businesses and schools, more than 40% of the households have Internet access too. Four themes were presented and discussed during the review. eGovernment, eLearning, eHealth and eBusiness. Especially the themes eGovernment and eHealth were interesting to Eurofedop.
European Commissioner E. Liikanen (Enterprise and information society) introduced the review. He has been busy with eEurope and eGovenment for years now, so he was the right person to welcome the people and to introduce the theme. One day after the mid term review in Brussels, he was in Düsseldorf and talked about the Public Sector that is challenged to play a major role in the Lisbon Strategy. Concerning eGovernment he stated that “Information and communication technologies (ICT) can help the public sector to deal with these challenges. However, ICT alone is not sufficient. The full benefits from ICT solutions are only obtained when the administrations are properly organised and when they have adequately skilled staff. This is what eGovernment is about.”. "The key condition, however, is that investment in ICT is combined with investment in reorganisation of public administrations and improvement of skills of civil servants.”
The other speakers present were Mr. George Hall from UK Broadband Stakeholder Group, Mr. Jozsef Györkos, Secretary of State Slovenia, Mr. Christian Rupp from the Austrian Federal Executive Secretary eGovernment, Mr. Bob Gann from UK National Health Service Direct Online and Mr. Jonathan Sage from IBM Belgium.
One of the targets for 2005 is that Europe should have
modern online public services. Mr. Christian Rupp from Austria mentioned
in his speech that there are so many different actors in one society,
for example political actors like governments and local councils. But
also the trade unions and chambers and social security insurance. They
all play a role in society, and in Austria they are to be found all together
on a website called help.gv.at. help.gv.at is an Internet platform with
links to a large number of public authorities, which provides information
on all interactions with Austrian authorities required.
|For more info on the eEurope Action Plan 2005
|This was the title of a colloquium organised by the Institute
of European Studies of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, 16 October
2003. The event coincided with the informal summit organised by the Italian
presidency within the framework of the Intergovernmental Conference.
Basis of the discussion was of course the "proposition for a treaty establishing a constitution for Europe", which was adopted by the members of the European Convention (Members of national parliaments, members of the European Parliament, representatives of the European Commission and representatives of the Member States) on 13th last.
Ms. Andréani, representative of the French government in the Convention, was satisfied with the overall result and concluded that Europe will gain democracy and efficiency with the ratification of the Constitution. Nevertheless, as French diplomat in the IGC, she stressed that there is a need for clarification and more detailed analysis of some elements. Therefore it is not likely that the draft text will be adopted as such. The French government supports the consensus of the Convention and will certainly not try to weaken any future Constitution. Although the discussions are difficult at present, Ms. Andréani expects an agreement somewhere between May 1st (Enlargement) and June 13th (Election of the European Parliament).
On behalf of Hungary, Mr. Balazs admitted that his country seeks to alter or adapt a dozen points of the draft Constitution in order to guarantee the balance between small and large member states and new and old member states.
The European Commission, represented on this occasion by Mr. Ponzano, opposed the institutional balance agreed by the members of the Convention. First of all the future composition of the European Commission (15 members + 10 members without vote) is not acceptable. How could the Commission be representative and determine the general interest of the Union if its members are not equal?
Furthermore, Mr Ponzano explained that the institutional
chapter of the Convention was based upon the propositions of the Presidium
and not on the proposition of the working group, contrary to the other
chapters in the Constitution that were first debated on within the working
groups. Therefore the Commission considers that there is only a very fragile
consensus for this element.
|Since 1994, when the Committee of the Regions first convened,
there has been a tremendous increase of new regional representation offices
in Brussels. Nowadays more than 200 European Union regions and cities are
represented, including 18 regions and cities of EU accession countries.
During the Open Days (7-9 October) a number of regions hosted a series of
debates on issues that affect them directly. One of these issues is the
goal formulated in Lisbon (2000) to become, by 2010, the "most dynamic
and competitive economy in the world capable of sustainable growth, with
more and better jobs and greater social cohesion".
In the framework of this Committee of the Regions initiative, the Delegation of Prague to the EU and the Slovenian Business and Research Association organised a workshop on 7 October on the implementation of the Lisbon Agenda in the new member states. Secretary general Bert Van Caelenberg participated in this workshop on behalf of Eurofedop's trade council Local and Regional Authorities.
Even before their formal entry to the EU, the Candidate countries are increasingly aligning their development strategies and economic, employment and environmental policies to the concepts and policy instruments of the Lisbon Agenda. And although some reduced Lisbon to the sole item of "competitiveness" (EUROCHAMBRES) or "making Europe attractive for business" (UNICE), other speakers on this occasion were more refined in their analysis.
Mr. Jos Chabert, former president of the Committee of
the Regions, and Nicolas Leapman, European Commission, for example, emphasised
that the Lisbon Strategy is all about sustained economic growth with more
and better jobs and greater social cohesion. The fact that eEurope, lifelong
learning, pension reform and social inclusion policies are part of the
Lisbon strategy, is proof of its general economic and social approach.
A Strategy for Growth through European IntegrationMonday the 15th of September, the World Bank presented its new report on Croatia Country Economic Memorandum (CEM) in Brussels. Although much emphasis was put on the economic recovery and growth, Eurofedop was glad to notice that Social Dialogue and the reform of Public Administration were also important issues. Among the persons present at this presentation, there were the Vice-Prime Minister of Croatia, Mr. Slavko Linic (main speaker), the Croatian Minister of Finance, Mr. Mato Crkvenac, Mr. Italianer of the European Commission, Mr. Oks, lead economist of the World Bank and Mr. Seth, who is the Country Director for South Central Europe. The facilitator of this well-attended presentation was Mr. Palmer, Political Director of The European Policy Centre.
This presentation was very interesting to Eurofedop, because Croatia is one of the 22 countries with public service trade unions that are members of our organisation (RSR-HPT and URSH). Moreover, Croatia applied for EU membership in February of this year and is very busy right now reading and discovering the approximately 70,000 pages of the Acquis Communautaire of the European Union. Eurofedop is particularly interested in the way Croatia will reform its Public Administration.
The draft puts stress on the depoliticisation initiative
because many positions are still filled on the basis of political affiliation.
One of the recommendations stated in the World Bank report is to draw
a clear line between political appointees and civil servants. This is
one of the five priorities.
|“When a stupid do something of which he has shame,
he always says that it is his must”, we read in G.B. Shaw’s
“Cesar and Cleopatra”.
Maybe this is the explanation of the so many unexpected conversions to the inevitability of the pensions’ reform that we have had to read in the daily papers’ columns during one of the most torrid summers of the last fifty years.
In the eyes of these gentlemen, in fact, it is Europe which asks us to modify our system of social security, in the name of the respect of the stability pact, which France and Germany continue to violate, and which the same President of the Commission, Romano Prodi, defined as “stupid”.
In truth, the increasing difficulties which the main Countries of the industrialised West are involved in from the economic point of view, are forcing the European Capitals to make the necessary counts, with the few instruments that the National States still have at their disposal, to face the crisis situations.
Therefore, while the USA pragmatically revalues Keynes and introduces public capitals into the domestic economic circuit, the EU entrusts suspicious controllers in Brussels with the task of admonishing Prime Ministers who, more and more, have to take care of how to reconcile the requirements of the national budget with the social cohesion in their own country.
“To recommend poor the economy”, - Oscar Wild said -, “it is grotesque, it is like advising the sobriety to the hungry man”.
Nevertheless, it is something like this that the European Commissioners prescribe, it is the obvious inadmissibility, and moreover unpopularity, of restrictive and potentially recessive measures that they demand in solution to the EU’s great ills.
In the name of a misunderstood national interest, therefore, economists, journalists, ministers and undersecretaries - sometimes also who is above suspicion - launch themselves into sports preferred by the adversaries of the welfare state : the reforming policy (also when there is nothing to reform).
With the committed help of the daily papers through the manufacturers who control them, the continuous “bombing” of the Italians by the mass-media has begun, in order to convince them of the existence of residual privileges, in particular those held by public employees, and to convince them of the social security’s excessive weight.
“Money is necessary for the development”, is the logical conclusion made by almost everyone from an agreement signed before summer between Confindustria (the employers’ organisation) and CGIL-CISL-UIL. We criticized this agreement and defined it as a little and inconsistent pact (a “patticchio”, as the readers of this newsletter may remember) that does not indicate where the resources in order to finance the plans much beloved by D’Amato, will be taken from.
|Not unexpectedly, it has been obvious to all that the resources
for the training, research, etc. would not have to come from a rediscovered
sense of responsibility and role of the entrepreneurs, but from an additional
cut in welfare, by means of a reduction of social security and aid performances.
In order to justify and facilitate this formulation, they started, on the hand, by dramatising the State’s Budget (we have written about this on the pages of “the Social Goal”, when talking about the Dpef, the document on the economic and financial planning) and, on the other hand, distorted the Inps’s totals by assigning costs to this Inps (National Institute for Social Insurance) that would have to be assigned to very different sources of expense.
And to motivate our criticism, there is not only the famous and obvious request for the separation between aid and social security, moreover established by law, there is also the authoritative Brambilla commission’s study (Mr Brambilla is presently an undersecretary of Government) which demonstrates the arbitrariness of the introduction, in the Inps’s budget, of a series of things (like the Tfr which, technically, in reality, is a deferred salary and not a social security performance). If these things were excluded, Italian public spending would be very much under the European average.
But there is more, as we will see soon. The Inps has begun to give its budget a greater transparency, by removing from the account of social security 12 million performances, referable to checks or, however, to things that cannot correctly be considered social security performances.
This operation, which has already provoked the anger of the entrepreneurs’ newspaper (i.e. “Il Sole 24 0re” of 1st September), gives back to the weight of social security on the budget of the State, its true dimension.
It is absolutely compatible with whatever tie or pact of stability is invoked by Mr Brunetta, Mr Cazzola or others.If, instead, to take part in pensions represents an ideological choice, also in absence, as we have seen, of technical conditions that render it necessary, then the comparison only becomes a force ratio.
Also in this case, nobody should think that the majority, and the UGL in particular, would sidestep.
In an own-initiative report on adequate pensions adopted today by the European Parliament, MEPs begin by pointing out that the fundamental responsibility for pensions policy and financing remains with the Member States but that this in no way diminishes the value of the European contribution.
The report adds that full employment, with quality jobs in a healthy and safe working environment, is the best way to ensure the sustainability of pensions. MEPs support the Commission's aim of increasing the effective retirement age but call for this to be implemented by means of incentives rather than disincentives (such as drastic reductions in pension values).
The report also draws attention to societal changes, which must also be borne in mind when taking steps to modernise pensions systems. It points to the rise in the number of atypical and mobile workers, who are not well covered by pensions systems, and calls for procedures to be developed to protect them and guarantee them fair old-age insurance. The Parliament also calls on the Member States to eliminate from their pensions systems any remaining forms of discrimination on grounds of sex and to increase the level of employment among women at equal pay levels.
Doc.: A5-0259/2003: http://wwwdb.europarl.eu.int/oeil/OEIL4.FR213a_en
1. Preliminary remarks
With regard to question 1, Eurofedop is of the opinion
that the European Convention has failed its purpose, in spite of the final
report of the Working Group on social Europe. If services of general interest
form an essential element of the European model of society (paragraph
2) the development of high-quality services of general interest should
be included in the objectives of the Community. We agree that a amendment
of the Treaty, during the upcoming Intergovernmental Conference, is the
best way of providing an appropriate legal basis and demonstrate the existence
of a general Community concept of services of general interest (paragraph
For more information on the public consultation see http://europe.eu.int/comm/secretariat_general/services_general_interest/index_en.htm
As from 1st July, Mr. Jan Kleian has taken over the presidency of ACOM, the CNV trade union for military personnel, from Wijnand van der Linden. In spite of the fact that ACOM celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2002, the new President takes up his function in difficult times for the personnel of Defence in the Netherlands, with the new collective bargaining negotiations that have to be completed before 1st January 2004. Nevertheless, we wish Mr. Kleian a lot of success in his new function.
Eurofedop and in particular the Trade Council Defence want to warmly thank Mr van der Linden for the pleasant cooperation during the years that have gone by. Under his direction, ACOM played an important and constructive role in the Trade Council Defence.
| Eurofedop also wishes to bring in mind the very successful
seminar it organised in collaboration with ACOM in May 2002 under the title
“European social dialogue and the European security and defence policy”.
Wijnand van der Linden’s concern about the situation of workers in other parts of the world also appeared from his last work visit to the Caribbean, where he had contacts with trade union representatives of the Dutch Antilles (cost guards) and Surinam (public service trade unions).
See also www.acom-cnv.nl
|This session was chaired by the new responsible official
for sectoral social dialogue, Jacky Morin, whom we warmly thank hereby for
all his efforts.
Ms Odile Quintin, Director General of the DG Employment and Social Affairs, spoke about “The mid-term review of the European Social Agenda” (see e-mail). The policy on enlargement and immigration were other items of discussion.
Even if some improvement can be noticed in the accession countries, social dialogue and especially sectoral dialogue remain lowly developed there. These countries are requesting parties. The Commission will try to fulfil this request by organising a conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in January 2004. The social partners are asked to now already select their delegates. The conference will be intended for the 10 + 3.
With regard to the discussion on pensions and the demographic issue, consideration was also given to the immigration policy. On the one hand, preventive measures have to be taken but, on the other hand, if necessary, the countries have to adopt coordinated action with sanctions.
The whole package of 57 recommendations on the employment policy will be discussed by the special Task Force. A first report will be produced in November 2003.
There was also a “Presentation of the results/outcome
of sector social dialogue” with e.g. a “Code of conduct, guidelines
for European hairdressers” of 26.06.01 and a “European agreement
on vocational training in agriculture”.
a meeting in the EU-press centre Residence Palace, the World Bank, the European
Policy Centre and the Bertelsmann Foundation presented two studies related
The latest one is entitled "European Integration, Regional policy and growth" and presents the results of a conference which took place in October 2002. Leading World Bank economist Bernard Funck, responsible for this publication, stressed in his presentation the relation between EU support and sound national growth strategies in particular regions. That is the lesson the current member states have learned since EU regional policy was introduced in 1973 (then 5% of the budget, now some 30%). Vasco Cal, European Commission, criticised some of the conclusions and pointed out that the overall result of the regional policy has been impressive. According to him, the EU policies do achieve convergence.
second study distributed on this occasion, "Labor, Employment, and
Social Policies in the EU enlargement process: changing perspectives and
policy options", had been the result of a conference in 2001 organised
by the Institute for Public Affairs (Bratislava), the World Bank, the Bertelsmann
Foundation and many more. Based upon the lessons from previous enlargements,
the authors measure the impact of institutional reform on the labour market
in Central and Eastern European countries. Although many problems are the
same throughout Europe, close to 10 million jobs were lost between 1990
and 2000 in the 10 Central and Eastern European countries. The last section
of the book lists a number of strategies to prevent social exclusion.
Both studies are available through the Eurofedop secretariat.
Rachel Buchanan, Policy Manager CCRE-CEMR (Belgium)
Kristien Van der Gucht, Secretary of the Trade Council (CCOD, Belgium)
Stephen Nathan, Journalist and Editor of “Prison Privatisation
Report International” (United Kingdom)
Stephen Delaney, POA (Ireland)
Niamh Casey, Secretariat of the European Social Charter, Directorate
General of Human Rights,
On 16-17 May 2003 took place in Budapest the 3rd Congress of the SZEF. During the solemn opening session, President Endré Szabó, founder of this Hungarian conference, could count on the presence of Prime Minister Péter Meggyesy and three ministers involved in the social dialogue in the public services.
Bert Van Caelenberg as representative of Eurofedop thanked for the years of good cooperation. The entry into Europe will also give rise to a number of reforms in the public services. Speaking on behalf of Eurofedop, the Secretary General went into the social dialogue.
This social dialogue creates a stable economy and a better climate for investments in human beings and services.
The Congress urged the politicians to conclude a new collective agreement for the ministries.
Their action programme 2003-2007 is focused on employment, wage policy, the European Social Charter, pension systems and international relations.
The Congress ended with the election of the Board. It re-elected Endré Szabó President.
Member Organisations of SZEF
Verband der Ungarischen Gewerkschaften des Öffentlichen Dienstes (KSZSZ)
Union of Workers in Public Collections and Public Education (KKDSZ)
Union of Hungarian Public Employees and Civil Servants (MKKSZ)
Fedeartion of Art Unions (MSZSZ)
Democratic Union of the Workers in Public Health (EDDSZ)
In a joint video-message, Secretary General Bert Van Caelenberg and M. Bartho Pronk, European Parliament (Employment and Social Affairs) addressed the more than 300 delegates of the “Kristelige Fagbevaegelse”. Coincidentally, this Congress took place on Europe-day. M. Van Caelenberg thanked the Danish members of Eurofedop for the good co-operation during the Danish presidency of the European Union, among others at de Second Quality Conference where the Eurofedop and KF received more than 800 visitors in their stand.
More information about this organisation is available at www.krifa.dk
Wiedner re-elected President of the Fraktion Christlicher Gewerkschafter
in der Gewerkschaft der Post- und Fernmeldebediensteten.
The 15th Congress was under the pressure of the current trade union affairs in Austria. Over 100.000 demonstrators had assembled in Vienna in protest against the pension reforms of the government.
It was Fritz Neugebauer who delivered the opening speech as President of the FCG fraction in the ÖGB. His speech was for the press an important element in the actions of that day. In his greeting speech Secretary General Bert Van Caelenberg went into the reforms in the post and telecommunications sectors. He pointed out the responsibilities of HRM: “doing more with less” might well result in “doing everything with nothing”.
The Eurofedop affiliates from the post and telecommunications sectors were present with a strong delegation. On their behalf Willi Russ addressed the Congress about sector-related issues.
In the margin of the Congress, seminars were arranged for the colleagues from Croatia. DPV (Germany) and FCG (Austria) will organise training courses in Germany and Graz respectively.
Our General Secretary Bert van Caelenberg went to PostEurop´s Ten Year in The Albert Hall Complex in Brussels on Tuesday 6 May.
PostEurop has had its headquarters in Brussels since April 1993, just months after the association was formally founded. The choice to locate the permanent presence of the association in the Belgian capital was a logical one. Situated at the heart of Europe, Brussels has long been home to a host of international organisations and the European headquarters of multinational firms.
PostEurop´s presence in Brussels means that these decision-makers have ready access to its representatives, and vice-versa. What is more, the association is able to maintain close contact with the various national postal representations that are active in Europe´s capital.
The European postal sector has seen a great deal of change in the ten yeas since PostEurop was founded: greater market opening, the rise of independent regulatory bodies, new rules, the spread of new technologies, changing customer expectations and lifestyles.
In many of its undertakings, PostEurop has been a leader among industry associations. The postal sector was one of the first industries to become involved in the European Commission´s Social Dialogue. PostEurop was also first to offer a distance learning programme targeted an entire sector, with a potential audience of over 2 million postal employees.
For more information see:
Top executives from the Mail and Express industries gathered in Rome to exchange views on the future of their markets and to discuss how to satisfy customers.
The European market is changing rapidly through liberalisation. The increasing competitiveness of the mail and express networks is opening up new markets, new alliances and new opportunities. Is all this good for the customer ? What is the added value ? What is the future for the industry ? What are the threats and what are the opportunities ?
Amongst the more than 240 people who participated in the World Mail and Express Europe Conference, there were 40 industry Chairmen and Managing Directors. The calibre and indeed diversity of the attendees (more than 25 countries were represented), the Triangle programme, deliberately allowed a lot of time for the delegates to meet each other.
A few interesting speeches were :
- The express customer of the future, by Uwe Doerken, Chief executive, DHL
- The mail customer of the future, Michael Critelli, Chairman & CEO, Pitney Bowes Inc.
- Postal Best Practices by Alice Kijak, VP Shared Services Operations, America´s Readers Digest.
Doing more with less can lead to doing everything with nothing.
On the 14th of May during Breakout Session A, our Secretary General presented the Unions’ opinion on the implementation of a real human resource policy in a context of change, based upon the discussions of our trade council postal services and his ten years of experience as a representative of the European Federation of Employees in the Public Service.
- Due to their special relationship with the employees, the trade unions have played a critical role in the change from Public Postal Services to Private Postal Operators and the subsequent change of mentality.
- What is important regarding employees, are communication, motivation and know-how.
- Individual involvement of the staff members is essential for the success of an operation centred on the quality of services. Not the organisational scheme but the human factor is decisive for the performance of a postal organisation in a changing environment.
- In order to create a climate for change, a dialogue between employees and employers is of the utmost importance, especially given the fact that a great deal of changes fail when implemented, because the employees were not involved in the planning stage. Within a properly functioning social dialogue, based on trust, and aiming at reconciliation of the needs of the company as well as the needs of the employees, it is possible to share responsibilities and discuss the modalities of change.
Our Secretary General also met UGL representatives on the spot and spoke with them about public reforms in Italy. See website, Public Services Reforms Italy 25/3.
|Interesting websites :
|On the threshold of the entry, the quality of the social
dialogue and the effects on the practical policy in the applicant countries.
Dr. Erhard Busek, President of the Institute for the Danube Space in Central Europe and Special Coordinator of the Stability Pact for Southeast Europe, advocated during the 15th Conference on Trade Union Collaboration in Europe a “better acquaintance with the Brussels mechanisms”.
This does not only hold for the accession candidates, but also for Austria. “It’s true we’re on the EU train, but we’ve not yet arrived in Brussels”, said the former Vice Chancellor. Yet, getting better acquainted with Brussels does not mean that we should believe everything that is said in Brussels. The applicants countries and also Austria should send especially young people to the EU institutions to get familiar with the “rules of the game”. People experience through the direct positive effects what it means to belong to the euro and Schengen countries, but so do also the Ministers of Finance and of the Interior, whose elbow room was reduced.
|The applicant countries should digest as soon as possible
the communist past, the admission to the EU and the effects of globalisation.
This constitutes a giant challenge, the more so as Europe itself is about
to discuss new structures during the meeting on the Constitution. Securing
the social rights would be of paramount important in this respect.
After the Copenhagen decision to admit ten new member states to the European Union and in view of the fact, that 2004 will be the year of elections for the European Parliament, the exchange of views and information between representatives of trade unions and the workers’ organisations of the political parties is absolutely topical, as are the following question. What is basically the situation of the social dialogue in the applicant countries? have the trade unions been accepted and are they capable of shaping the social dialogue in favour of the workers? How can the trade unions improve their way of acting at the local, regional, national and European levels?
|Aim of the seminar
Both the European Commission and the European Parliament see the need for strategies to combat undeclared work, a threat to a decent social security system and the efficient functioning of the economy.
Fiscal and social administrations, employers` organisations and trade unions, police and judicial apparatus should be mobilised to intensify the battle against undeclared work. Strategies to combat it effectively seem to exist and are being increasingly applied.
HIVA has recently conducted research in Belgium on social fraud illustrating the relevance of the battle against social fraud in maintaining a good system of social security and the importance of social movements and trade unions in combating undeclared work. Look for more information on HIVA at http://www.hiva.be
EZA allowed bringing this topic to a European level. National and European comparative evidence were presented. Main focus was the threat posed by undeclared work to the state system in general and workers` social protection in particular. Responsibilities and opportunities for trade unions to interfere in this battle against fraud were presented.
|Invited Speakers and Participants
Because of international and national aims, the program brought together experts from research, social security administrations, government and politicians, employers organisations and trade unions from Belgian and European levels. The papers will be published in the Belgian Review of Social Security.
Speech on Fraud Prevention
Bert van Caelenberg presented the view of public services trade unions on fraud prevention.
What we need is a strong public service with a properly trained staff, sufficient in number, with adequate salaries and social protection. We also need Europeanisation of the material and formal criminal law of the separate EU member states, reduction of the national sovereignty in the criminal action in favour of police and justice collaboration at EU-level (a European warrant of arrest is a first step in this direction), and realisation of a EU fraud database.
|The programme 2003-2006 on Health and Safety at Work was
presented by the DG Employment and Social Affairs, through its representative
Next on the agenda was a presentation on Dangerous Substances, e.g. in hospitals, by the Bilbao Agency. In which it was mentioned that enlargement is a challenge. Information on the Agency is obtainable at http://agency.osha.eu.int/index_en.htm, information on The European Week for Safety and Health at Work is obtainable at http://osha.eu.int/ew2003/.
The European Commission proposes “10 commandments” for employment reform; ten priorities of action to support the three objectives of full employment, quality and productivity at work and cohesion and an inclusive labour market.
Bert van Caelenberg reacted to commandment 5: increase labour supply and promote active ageing. He asked what this exactly meant. Did they mean the decisions taken by the European Council in Lisbon, Portugal, March 2000, in particular with regard to the sustainability of pension systems in different time frameworks up to 2020 and beyond, and concerning employees who remain active after the retirement age?
|The Commission confirmed this. B. Van Caelenberg then gave
information and explanation about the results of our seminar in Athens,
namely with regard to the position of public service organisations in relation
A leaflet about CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) was jointly submitted by CEFS (Comité Européen des Fabricants de Sucre, European Association of the Sugar Industry) and EFFAT (European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions). It contained a Code of Conduct that could be a good example for Post and Telecom. This code of conduct namely sets minimum standards for members and presents selected best practice examples. These best practice examples illustrate a positive social behaviour going beyond the minimum standards.
We would like to thank Mrs Devonic, former Head of the Unit for Employment and Social Affairs DG, for all the efforts she did to realise a good understanding between the social partners. We wish her all the best in her new profession in the equal opportunities policy.
Over 140 trade union representatives from 18 countries
convened in Athens on 3, 4 and 5 April, to discuss the latest developments
regarding "Pensions, Mobility and Quality Management/CAF", in
the framework of public sector reform.