Report on the “Trade Union” Workshop

12th Rhodes Forum, September 27, 2014

The Rhodes Forum – 2014 “Tradeunion workshop” was aimed to discuss a number of issues related to labor relations in the European Union and other countries.

The dialogue highlighted that over the past 10 years a significant change in economic relations occurred, creating today a restrictive framework for trade unions. Being a basis of the national security, like the development of society and industry are, the trade unions passed through a process of development and growth both on regional and international levels. Discussants identified options for making certain alterations in the Labor Code and the Rights of employees in the post-Soviet space, according to comparative analysis of the differences in labor relations of Moldova, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Russia.

The animated exchange was focused on several themes: the flow of cheap labor from Eastern Europe to Scandinavia and England; a surge of Western European neo-Nazi sentiments of the indigenous population as a response to an unemployment rate outburst among the locals; the role of the State in regulating labor relations; formation of a Union as a guarantee of full-scale employment relationship between the staff and the boss, with a special accent on the region of the synergy; trade unions and non-governmental organizations - fears and risks of the merger.

The workshop concluded that labor and income are the fundamental elements of welfare, security and peace in every society. A free and independent trade union movement is an element of highest importance for modern democracy. It is necessary to establish and maintain an effective bond between business and workers, not only to provide favorable working conditions for everyone, but also to ensure the stability of society itself. Etalon trade union in modern times must be a solid organization motivated to create jobs, responsibly handling the negotiations, striving to modernize and improve the level of public knowledge, and to raise a better and reasonable life standards both for the whole community and for its members.

The workshop was moderated by Jan Kristian Balstad, Vice President of the Federal Norwegian Trade Unions, Ex-Minister of Foreign Trade and Shipping (Norway). Expert speakers included: Michail Shmakov (Russian Federation), Nikolay Alisov (Russian Federation), Christian Hoepher (United Kingdom), Michail Miatlikov (Belarus), Arne Treholt (Norway), Alexandra Vovolini (Greece).