(5 July 2018) Taking inspiration from the Prague Statement union leaders voiced their support for addressing the gender pay gap in the Central European countries. A lively discussion took place analysing different situations and discussing how best we can address these as unions. EPSU’s Richard Pond enriched the debate presenting the findings of EPSU research projects on equal pay. These confirm the importance of #breakingwiththepast and putting equality between men and women high on the political and trade union agenda.
The situation for the trade unions in the region remains difficult with authoritarian (far-right) parties in several countries questioning trade union and workers’ rights and defending the underfunding of public services, for example in cultural services, childcare and public administrations. The EPSU position regarding the EU-strategy for the Western Balkans provides common guidance to influence our governments and employers. Strengthening collective bargaining including at sectoral level is a joint demand. Most unions reported difficult relations with their governments. It was recognized that union fragmentation and lack of cooperation hampers our effectiveness to build union strength and achieve our goals. Affiliates reported that the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina is difficult between the different entities.
As in the other constituencies, union leaders discussed with the General Secretary the work being undertaken to prepare next year’s EPSU Congress. The draft Programme of Action #Fighting4Future4All received broad support. Participation in Congress, finance and amendments to the EPSU statutes were also discussed.
The meeting took place in Sarajevo, 26-27 June 2018. The Central European Constituency includes trade unions from Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. The meeting received support from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.