Social partners have agreed on the common draft of an act regulating the functioning of a new institution of social dialog. The draft has been presented to the Minister of Labour and Social Policy. After autonomous negotiations between employers’ organizations and trade unions, the time has come for the Ministry to present its initiatives. If the legislation process runs smoothly, the new act may be passed in the first half on 2015.
The draft involves establishing a new institution in place of the current Trilateral Commission for Socioeconomic Affairs – the Social Dialog Council. The aim of the regulation is a.o. to increase the social partners rights with regards to their impact on the legislation process. Thus, the new act gives the Council the right to autonomously elaborate drafts of legal acts which the Council of Ministers would then be obliged to examine. This would amount a quasi-right of initiative.
According to the draft, social partners will also be given other new competences, such as the right to submit a motion to the High Court to resolve ambiguities in judicial decisions and the obligation for the Council of Ministers to reply to inquiries of members of the Social Dialog Council within 30 days.
Apart from that, the draft is intended to grant more autonomy to the new institution – it would be chaired rotationally and be organizationally independent of the Ministry of Labour, with administrative matters taken care of by a dedicated bureau. New regulations are also aimed at increasing the transparency of social dialog – with this in mind, the Council would be obliged to present an annual report of its activities and the state of social dialog.
However, social partners have not managed to agree on two issues – the unions’ proposition to establish a post of the Social Dialog Commissioner and the suggestion that Council members should be appointed by the Speaker of the Sejm. In spite of this, social partners are open to discussion. Hopefully, government representatives will also be ready to enter discussions, as the introduction of regulations increasing the standing of social dialog institutions can overcome the impasse which has blocked trilateral dialog in Poland for 1.5 years.
Wioletta Żukowska, expert of Employers of Poland