Energy Community - Progress made – now tackle restructuring

(12 September 2011) Most unions reported that they were involved in the development of the social action plans and that progress is made. Strengthening the capacity of the social dialogue remains a challenge. Longer-term developments were considered including the restructuring and the integration of transmission systems. Several speakers attended including from the Ministry of Economy, the Macedonian regulator and the Ministry of Labour.

The group agreed:
- To continue work on comparing Collective Bargaining developments. A workgroup will be organized. The usefulness of the WISUTIL (wage indicator) projector for the region will be explored.

- The Input in the Social Forum (4th October 2011. Chisinau). A number of issues stand out: the importance of and respect for collective agreements. There are still countries were the social dialogue does not fully function. Unions agreed that the austerity measures imposed in many countries are not the way to deal with economic problems. Wages (and wage increases) part of the solution to get economies out of economic misery.
- To bring the focus on restructuring. The study on the employment effects of opening up the electricity and gas markets in the Energy Community countries should be discussed in the social action working groups and measures considered. The employers, governments and unions can commit to use the toolkit of the social partners. To increase the capacity to deal with the changes the internal market brings, one way are Social Economic Councils for energy with the participation of the trade unions.
The unions were also informed of the pressure the government of the Federation of Bosnia Herzegovina is applying on the unions through a proposal for a new law on the capital investments in state-owned companies which would allow the government to intervene in collective bargaining. Unions pledged support to the colleagues.

The 11th Energy Round Table of the Former Yugoslav countries took place 6-7 September 2011 in Struga, Macedonia. Representatives came from Bosnia-Herzegovina (all three parts), Macedonia, Montenegro, Roumania, Serbia, Slovenia, The Seminar was supported by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Belgrade. EPSU’s Josef Krejbych and Jan Willem Goudriaan participated.

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