On Tuesday July 7th, the senate Committee for Family, Senioral and Social Policy passed the act establishing the Social Dialog Council and other social dialog institution. Senators did not introduce any amendment, which is what Employers of Poland suggested. In doing so, they demonstrated their respect for the agreement between social partners and the government, thus preparing ground for the almost two years long deadlock I institutional dialog to be broken.
During the meeting, the Legislation Bureau presented its comments a.o. regarding the procedure of presenting opinions by task forces, terminology pertaining to the Council’s schedule, the works of the Voivodeship Councils and transition regulations, including the fact that no fixed date for the appointment of the Council is established. However, Jacek Męcina, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy, stated that these amendments resulted from a certain misunderstanding of the functioning of the Tripartite Commission and asked for them not to be considered.
The modifications to the principles of representativeness for employers’ organizations included in the act were also discussed. Representative organizations would be required to have regional associations in at least half the voivodeships. The objective of this regulation is to consolidate employers and facilitate dialog at the central level. Business Center Club motion for it to be removed. KIG also had some objections. Meanwhile, Andrzej Długosz, Vicepresident of Employers of Poland, reminded that these solutions regarding representativeness were negotiated and signed by social partners, including BCC, and are a result of a consensus. Monika Gładoch, Adviser to the President of Employers of Poland, pointed out the constitutional foundations of dialog institutions and the differences between social dialog conducted by employers’ organizations with trade unions and citizen dialog in which associations and chambers participate.
The new act substitutes the Social Dialog Council for the Tripartite Commission for Socioeconomic Affairs. Voivodeship Dialog Councils will be 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 Sejm passed the act almost unanimously on June 25th. It was proceeded at an express pace: the first reading was held on June 24th with the second reading coming immediately thereafter. If the act is deal with at a plenary senate session in similarly quick fashion, the act – which has a vacatio legis period of 14 days – may come into force at the end of August. The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy expects the Social Dialog Council to start working in September.