On Thursday June 25th, the Sejm passed the act on the Social Dialog Council and other institutions of social dialog. It was accepted almost unanimously which rarely happens. In doing so, the members of the parliament demonstrated their respect for the agreement between social partners and the government. They also took into consideration the voices of employers, trade unions and the Minister of Labour and Social Policy who urged for the works on the act to be sped up in order for the Council to initiate its activity as soon as possible.
The draft of this act was proceeded very quickly – the first reading took place on June 24th and the second was held soon afterwards. The act was passed on the next day. The Senat will discuss it at the next sitting (on July 8-9th). We hope that the senators pass it without changes. If that were the case, due the 14-day vacation legis period, the act could come into force in August.
This act is a success for representative organizations of social partners, as the solutions contained therein were elaborated in autonomous dialog. Negotiations were not easy and lasted over a year. The draft was presented to the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy this January. An agreement with social partners was signed on May 21st and on June 9th the draft was passed by the Council of Ministers.
The new act substitutes the Social Dialog Council for the Tripartite Commission for Socioeconomic Affairs. Voivodeship Dialog Councils will b affiliated by marshalls, rather than by voivodes as they do now. The role of the Social Dialog Council itself will be strengthened and social partners will have more impact on the legislative procedure. They will, for example, have the right to elaborate common drafts of legal acts which the Council of Ministers will be obliged to consider. Another important right involves applying to the Supreme Court for interpretations of regulations. Members of the Council will be appointed by the President of Poland, and the chairman’s post will be rotational (representatives of all employers, trade unions and the government will have 1-year alternating terms).
The date of passing the act has symbolic significance as well. Two years ago, dialog on the forum of the Tripartite Commission for Socioeconomic Affairs was stopped. Now, thanks to a new legal framework which will have to be filled with activity and cooperation – social partners and the government will return to dialog.