Wednesday, November 20, 2013

At its meeting held 15 November 2013 in Moscow, the Executive Committee of the General Confederation of Trade Unions (GCTU) discussed the position to be taken by trade unions regarding the improvement of tax legislation. The question was brought before the meeting on the initiative of the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine.

The meeting noted that the current tax systems in most countries of the region were socially unjust and largely fiscal in nature. Meanwhile, the unions are convinced that taxes should be instrumental in solving social and economic problems, and help workers exercise their constitutional right to decent living. The GCTU will insist that the progressive tax on citizens’ incomes be introduced throughout the region, and that the funds spent on the expanded reproduction of labour force be deducted from the tax base. The GCTU affiliates were encouraged to get more actively involved in the work to improve their national tax legislations, based on the union solidarity position, and in close cooperation with women’s, youth and veterans’ organisations, employers' associations, etc.

The meeting also considered the advance of the solidarity campaigns "The Minimum Wage Not Lower than the Subsistence Minimum!” and "For a Decent Pension!" conducted by the GCTU. Speakers stressed that the Confederation and its affiliates would jointly seek ratification of ILO Convention No.102 "Minimum Standards of Social Security”, the establishment of a statutory earnings replacement rate not lower than 40-45 per cent, and the amendment of pension reform aiming to substantially improve the quality of life and health care of retirees.

The Executive Committee was briefed on the outcome of the sixth World Day for Decent Work in the countries of the region. The resolution adopted on the matter notes that this year’s WDDW was distinguished by the active involvement of young people. This explains the frequent choice of brighter, nonstandard activities, such as flash mobs, motor races, mobile pickets, street debates, etc. The contribution by union women's organisations has also increased. The most common demands included the eradication of poverty, real increases in wages and pensions, the introduction of progressive taxation, gender equality, the creation of healthy and safe working conditions, the elimination of social exclusion and all forms of discrimination in the workplace, respect for trade union rights and freedoms, and the promotion of social dialogue. The Executive Committee urged the GCTU affiliates to do their utmost to promote the Decent Work Agenda in the region.