Publication on Strategic reforms for CEE unions - Innovation and revitalization responses

The state of trade unionism in Central and South East Europe is full of challenges. Diminishing trade union density, weak trade union structures, anti-union employers, limited organising possibilities, emasculated collective bargaining systems and informality of employment which are some of the issues that contribute in preventing trade unions as strong and relevant social actors in the various countries. Building-construction and wood-forestry sectors also see the same obstacles for union revitalization. 

Is there a future for trade unions in CEE countries? What adjustments are needed? What strategic options of reforms should be undertaken? Are these changes internal or external to the trade union movement? There are many questions as building and wood workers unions face challenges. 

The BWI is pleased to present its new publication: “Strategic reforms for Central and South East European Trade Unions – Innovation and revitalization responses”. It highlights internal and external challenges trade unions face within the region, outlines good and bad practices of the trade unions in relation to organising, negotiating, and influencing policies and provides recommendations in revitalizing trade unionism in building and wood sectors in the Pan-Europe region of the BWI.

The publication was conducted in two phases. The first phase (December 2014 – August 2015) included desk research, interviews and writing by Agnieszka Ghinararu, who was commissioned by the BWI. Then, the study paper was discussed and validated at the trade union workshop for Central and South East Europe: ”Changes, Challenges and the New Way Forward”, hosted by the BWI and Building and Wood Workers Trade Union, Austria (GBH) in July 2015, in Vienna, Austria.  

The entire process identified areas of intervention for innovative unionism and campaigns defined as: “Project 2020: Rebuild, Reform and Restore” that is seen as a campaign to change the path of trade unionism in the Region of Pan-Europe. The owners of this project are the participating unions and the most important is the commitment, cooperation and solidarity among themselves. The unions define the direction and the three federations BWI, EFBWW and NBTF will follow and support the implementation of innovative approaches and defining the new way forward fighting back the attack on workers and trade union rights under attack. 

The research process and production of the publication was implemented in cooperation with the European Federation of Building and Wood Workers (EFBWW) and the Nordic Federation of Building and Wood Workers (NBTF), and the support of the Union To Union of Sweden and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation of Germany. 

To download the document, please click here.