Kadyr Baykenov of Kazakhstan has been elected the new chairman of the International Coordinating Council of Employers' Unions. He was chosen by representatives of employers' organizations from 11 countries during a meeting of the Council in Warsaw. The event was hosted by Employers of Poland.
Baykenov's term will start on January 1st 2015. Until then, the Council will be chaired by current Chairman, President of Employers of Poland Andrzej Malinowski, who opened the Wednesday meeting. – Employers influenced the scope of changes, we set the pace, we have fought with the officials – the President recalled the role of business in the economic transformation in the last 25 years in Europe. He also reiterated the tasks which faced and are facing employers, putting particular stress on the importance of social dialog. He also drew attention to the Eastern Partnership and its unfulfilled potential, for which he blamed politicians.
– We observe the activities of the Coordinating Council with interest and try to support its development as we would like to see employers' organizations in post-communists countries grow in strength – said Renate Hornung-Draus, vice-chairwoman of the International Organization of Employers, at the opening of the session. At the same time, she underlined the significant benefits of synergy between international employers' organizations. Such a synergy enables the voice of Employers from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Central Asia, to be heard on a global forum. She also stressed the importance of ICCEU for the employers' movement and the role of IOE in tackling the issues of modern economy.
Minister of Labour and Social Policy Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz was a special guest of the meeting. He pointed out the significance of employers as integrating factor in the European community and stressed the importance of the role played by Employers of Poland in the establishment of democracy in Poland.
– Our country's current international position would not be possible, if not for the organization established twenty-five years ago. These twenty-five years are also a time of building social dialogue in many countries which changed their political systems. Dialog is not an easy task, particularly in times of crisis. The common responsibility of trade unions and employers' organizations is all the more important for it. We need to look for the willingness and readiness to reach compromise. The point is not to agree on every issue, the point is to meet somewhere mid-way between extremes – said Minister Kosiniak-Kamysz, while recognizing President Malinowski's personal contribution to Poland's economic success.
– I would like to thank Employers of Poland for their support, as Poland's economic achievements would not have been possible without Polish entrepreneurs – the Minister added. – In Poland, we are now looking for a new formula of social dialog, as it needs a fresh approach and new energy – underlined Kosiniak-Kamysz. He stressed that even the best legal regulation cannot fully substitute effective dialog. – Maybe we have not managed to achieve everything we wanted to. Sometimes, we may be a little short on patience, openness and trust, but we can be proud to have created a platform for discussion – he said.
The session had a moving moment when a representative of the Ukrainian employers' organization Dimitriy Oleynik, addressed the participants speaking of the current situation in his country. – A part of Ukraine was stolen, there is a regular war going on the East, people are dying. We have long hesitated when considering the necessary reforms, we have taken along time to agree on the direction where we wanted to go. Now we have chosen this direction, but it is hard to talk about economic growth when 600 companies have stopped operating because of air strikes – said Olejnik. – Dialog is often mentioned. We have had to conduct our dialog in Maidan, which is of course far from ideal, but I hope a time will come when we will be happy to go to Moscow – he added.
– We should consider these words, particularly as our organization aims to unite, rather than divide. I see no better way to reconciliation than cooperation and common interests – commented Andrzej Malinowski.
In the final part of the meeting participants presented the contribution of their organizations to economic growth in their respective countries and exchanged experiences in dealing with trade unions and government administration.