Wednesday, May 4, 2016
The Council of the General Confederation of Trade Unions (GCTU) met in Moscow 22 April 2016 to discuss the activities of the Confederation and its affiliates over the period from April 2015 to April 2016.
Upon hearing the information presented by GCTU General Secretary Vladimir Scherbakov, Council confirmed that the line for the practical realisation of the slogan “Reliable Guarantees to Decent Work and Social Justice!" approved by the GCTU 7th Congress remained relevant, and called on the member organisations to implement it consistently.
GCTU Deputy General Secretary Natalia Podshibyakina made a report on the socio-economic situation in the region’s countries and challenges facing the unions. Following her information, leaders of eight national trade union centres and two sectoral Trade Union Internationals took the floor to inform participants about the state of affairs in their respective countries or industries. 
The speakers were concerned that the countries of the region were moving farther and farther away from the proclaimed principles of welfare state. This is evidenced by a marked decline in the living standards and social protection. The governments’ economic policies have increasingly focused on ultra-liberal orientations that imply a weaker regulatory role of the state, restraint of increases in wages and pensions, and abandonment of social security commitments. In general, the burdens of economic difficulties have more often been shifted onto workers’ shoulders.
Council noted that the current problems of socio-economic development posed a serious challenge to trade unions in the region, which demands that they respond in a more resolute way, and move on to a more offensive policy in their fight for the legitimate rights of workers.
Representatives of the International Confederation of Railway Workers’ and Transport Builders’ Union and the International Confederation of Health Workers’ Unions shared with participants their experience of working with young people. The Council approved of their reports, while stressing that youth problems had aggravated in a whole number of countries. These include the hardships of finding a job, especially a first job, and the shrinking possibilities of building families and arranging households, organising cultural and leisure activities, and realising the creative ambitions of the youth. To improve the conditions for young workers and students, and protect their social and labour rights is a major task of trade unions today.

The Council adopted the GCTU May Day Appeal (see text here), and the GCTU financial report for 2015.