Solidarity is one of the most well-known trade unions recognised outside of Poland. In the years preceding the socio-economic transformation, i.e. before 1989, an enormous social movement – Solidarity – played a significant role in the transformation of the political system. Currently, Solidarity participates in formalised social dialogue as one of the three representative trade union organisations.
In April 2018, the National Solidarity Commission organised a seminar entitled Managing diversity in the Context of Age. Challenges and expectations of the Social Dialogue parties [Zarządzanie różnorodnością w aspekcie wieku. Wyzwania i oczekiwania stron Dialogu Społecznego]. It took place in Warsaw-Falenty. The meeting was held under the leadership of EZA (The European Centre for Workers’ Questions). Solidarity is affiliated to EZA alongside 70 other organisations from 29 European countries.
The issues related to the labour market in the context of the European Union’s ageing society were discussed in the above-mentioned seminar. The participants included the representatives of the trade union Solidarity, representatives of other trade unions, representatives of Polish employers, representatives of the academic milieu and policy makers. Furthermore, both presentations and panel discussions were enriched by sharing the related experience of trade unionists from other countries.
Throughout the discussion, it was emphasised that age management is no longer a choice but a necessity. It results from the changes taking place over the last decades in European societies and, as a consequence, leads to the development of versatile and diverse generations shaping today’s labour market. It was further emphasised that in the face of these changes, the growing awareness of the need for intergenerational management gained much greater significance among the social partners.
The discussion referred to the European Autonomous Agreement on Active Ageing and Intergenerational Approach signed in March 2017. It has been pointed out that it can be a kind of a route map for social partners. The participants of the seminar recommended: translation of the agreement into the national languages of the EU countries with particular attention to the quality of the translation; dissemination of the agreement among union members and employers; creating a platform for age management at the European level with the use of cooperation at the local level.
Questions to consider
- Are such initiatives helpful in social dialogue?
- What conditions should be met to make such initiatives happen?
- Does your organization have its own and proven methods of disseminating knowledge on topics important from the social dialogue point of view?
- Are these the printed publications or newsletters sent to individual company organizations?
- What kind of stakeholders does your organization invite to cooperate with?
- Are active ageing issues promoted at seminars, workshops and conferences?
- What else can be done to share the experiences and practices?