COZZ Advisory Board charts path for Making it Happen in Central Europe
With a focus on organising and campaigning to grow union membership and influence in Central Europe, the Annual COZZ Advisory Board meeting took place in Warsaw this month.
Representatives of UNI Europa affiliates from Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland, as well as other COZZ partner organisations, UNI Global General Secretary Philip Jennings and UNI Europa Regional Secretary Oliver Roethig met to develop strategies for enhancing trans-national trade union cooperation in the region and build unions’ strengths in order to improve collective bargaining.
Philip Jennings spoke about the challenges of modern workplaces in Central Europe and how enhanced cooperation of trade union movement can best address them. In his speech to the meeting, he also gave a historical perspective of over 25 years of solidarity by the international trade union movement in the region.
General Secretary Jennings said:
COZZ is great example of how UNI’s strategic focus on “Breaking Through” and “Making it Happen” has been applied in practice with great results. There has never been a time when COZZ was needed more than now. There is a growing sense that the benefits of economic growth are not shared with the hard-pressed Polish worker.
The economies of Central Europe are booming, foreign investment continues to flood in, while at the same time trade union membership density is falling and sectoral bargaining is under attack in the countries where it still exists. Organising in Central and Eastern Europe has to be our number one priority.
Oliver Roethig, UNI Europa Regional Secretary, spoke about UNI Europa’s priorities that are crucial to workers and European trade union movement: the growth of good quality jobs and closing the gap in working conditions in West and East of Europe; growth of trade union membership and strength; and increasing bargaining power especially at sectoral level.
Regional Secretary Roethig said:
Trade unions are the future. Thanks to our activity, working and living conditions are improving. Trade union activity also has a positive impact of policy of our countries and the European Union.
Director of COZZ, Rafal Tomasiak gave the overview of COZZ set up, potential and activity to date, and spoke about planned organising campaigns in Graphical and Packaging, Finance, Commerce and UNI Care sectors.
Director of COZZ, Rafal Tomasiak said:
COZZ is a great, vibrant team, with various skills and experience, capable of planning, preparing and successfully executing organising campaigns. With your help – we want to be able to assist all our partner unions in becoming modern, effective, strong unions! We want to assist all partner unions in growing membership and winning with workers!
To do that - we need your continued support. We need your own organisations - and other you come in contact with - to know about the opportunities to develop organising projects with COZZ. We also need yourselves to keep engaging with us so we can find more ways in which COZZ can assist in promoting growth and effective campaigning.
Central European Organising Center (polish name: Centrum Organizowania Związków Zawodowych – COZZ) is a foundation established in Poland as a result of implementation of the resolution on organising – “Changing Europe by Growing Unions” – adopted by the 4th UNI Europa Conference in Rome.
COZZ is an independent NGO involving organisers and trainers experienced in trade union campaigning. COZZ was created to support the revitalization, development and growth of trade unions in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. This translates into working with partner organisations and supporting them through training programmes, strategy and organising capacity development and joined organising efforts.
The role of advisory board is to advise and support Foundation’s Council in implementing statutory aims of the foundation and specifically to advise on COZZ’s projects, securing funding for future projects and cooperation with other organisations.