• Report on Joint Social Conference in Romania (JSC Ro)

  • By Petre Damo | 25 Oct 10
  • 1. GENERAL ASPECTS

    The 1st edition of the Joint Social Conference in Romania (JSC Ro) was organized on 25th-26th of September 2010 in the City of Pitesti.

    Its main objective was to promote the model and general aims of the Joint Social Conference Brussels European initiative in Eastern Europe, particularly in Romania, with a focus on a new strategic working together between Trade Unions, NGOs, Social Movements and citizens.

    The JSC Ro is void of political vectors and is not meant to replace or compete with Trade Unions, NGOs or Social Movements; it is rather a joint initiative for cohesion, solidarity, and unity both in terms of vision and action.

    The JSC Ro is being supported by one of the most important TU Confederations in Romania, the Democratic Trade Union Confederation in Romania (CSDR), affiliated to ETUC. 

    2. PARTICIPANTS

    The initial estimation in terms of participation spelled about 40 to 60 people. The actual number of participants was of 141 people.

    Here below is the list of participant organizations:

    Romanian Confederations:

    • CSDR Confederation leadership (2): President Iacob Baciu; Vice-president Nicolae Cretu;

    Romanian Federations:

    • ‘Romanian Automobile’ Federation, affiliated to BNS Confederation (1): President Miu Ilie;

    • FSLI Federation in Education, affiliated to CSDR (4): Prime Vice-president Simion Hancescu; Secretary General Liviu Marian Pop; Head of Youth Dept. Danut Ienesescu; Mija Vasile;

    • ‘Prolex’ National Federation of Policemen and Custom officers, affiliated to Meridian Confederation (2): Vice-president Marius Idita; Executive Vice-president D.G.P.M.B.;

    Romanian County Braches of Confederations:

    • CSDR (1): Arges County TU Alliance, President Nicolae Cretu;

    • BNS (1): Arges County TU Branch, President Ilie Scarlat;

    • CNSLR Fratia (1): SANITAS Federation in Health Care, Arges County, President Doina Fanica;

    • Cartel ALFA (1): ‘Primus’ TU in Local Public Administration, Arges County, President Stelian Ungureanu;

    • TU of the Retired Military, Arges County Branch (3)

    Romanian County Branches of FSLI Federation in Education:

    • SIA Alba, SIZ Aiud and SIZ Zlatna;

    • S.D.I.A. Arad;

    • SIPA Muntenia Arges County;

    • S.L.I. Bihor;

    • U.S.L.I. Bistrita-Nasaud;

    • ‘Diaconul Coresi’ TU Brasov;

    • ‘Ion Neacsu’ TU Buzau;

    • S.L.I. Odorheiu Secuiesc and Ciuc Regions TU Harghita;

    • S.L.I. Calarasi;

    • S.L.I. Dambovita;

    • U.S.L.I. Gorj;

    • S.I. Ilfov;

    • S.L.I.M. Maramures;

    • S.L.I. Mehedinti ;

    • C.L.I. Caracal ;

    • S.L.I. Ialomita ;

    • ‘Scoala Prahovei’ TU Prahova ;

    • S.L.I. Sibiu/Medias ;

    • U.S. Didactica and S.L.I.Z. Husi Vaslui ;

    FSLI Federation Branches in Bucharest:

    • S.I.P. Sect 1, District 1;

    • S.L.I. Sect 2, District 2;

    • S.I.P.R. 5, District 5

    Romanian NGOs:

    • AD FSR

    Foreign participants (JSC IC):

    • CNE-CSC-ACV Belgium, Felipe van Keirsbilck, Secretary General;

    • CGIL Italy, Antonio Morandi, International Dept.;

    • CGT France, Jean-Michel Joubier, International Dept.;

    • Solidarires France, Alain Baron, International Dept;

    3. CRITICAL ANALYSIS

    3.1. RESULTS

    • The objective of linking the European JSC Initiative to a similar national, i.e. Romanian, initiative was partly achieved by the participation of a number of members of the JSC IC and of the Romanian Confederation CSDR as well as of a number of Romanian Federations affiliated to CSDR as well as to other Confederations; the presence of mid-range leaders was a positive aspect in terms of understanding and disseminating the initiative to grass-root activists and members;

    • The first and only Confederation that has been steadily supporting the JSC Ro initiative from the very beginning is the CSDR. Consequently, one of the most important achievement in this sense stands in the Mandate by which the CSDR Confederation gets linked to the European JSC process;

    • The members of the JSC IC had the opportunity to get directly in touch with Romanian reality; in turn, Romanian trade unionists had the opportunity to hear some of the major problems and approaches of their trade unionist colleagues struggling in other European countries as well as jointly at European level;

    • As a first step in building up the JSC Ro Initiative, the event contributed to building up communication and trust;

    • The number of participants was about three times the number expected, which proves not only good organization but also a good level of interest on behalf of participants;

    • Open, and sometimes heated, debates proved to be a natural democratic experience;

    • During the JSC Ro a number of valuable proposals were put forth:

    - need for harmonization of European and Romanian legislation in the field of Labour and Social rights;

    - need for educating people in the spirit of Culture of Democratic Participation and Protest;

    - need for a European Labour Legislation Guide for the migrant workers in the European Union;

    - role of Education in shaping Civic Culture and Political Culture in the society;

    - need for training of TU leaders;

    - issue of setting a European minimum wage expressed in percentage from the average national wage;

    - need for common European-National actions;

    - need for exchange of information between European and National levels;

    - need for working out common platforms of interests for Trade Unions, NGOs, Social Movements, and people;

    • General criticism of those in Power proved the awareness and the need of Political Change ;

    • Organizers and participants alike expressed their will to make the it an annual event following in the footsteps of the European JSC process;

    3.2. FAILURES

    • Except the CSDR Confederation, none of the other Romanian Confederations participated at the JSC Ro, albeit having been invited in due time;

    • Except AD FSR, promoter of Romanian Social Forum process, no other Romanian NGO or Social Movement participated at the JSC Ro;

    • There could be noted a difficulty of grasping the idea of the JSC initiative as a process;

    • A tendency of particularizing seemed to be prevalent versus the importance of general issues;

    • There is yet much work to be done until JSC Ro takes-off as a process;

    • The above remarks lead to a number of conclusions such as:

    o there is a lack of common vision, cohesion, solidarity and unity inside and between Trade Unions in Romania;

    o the above applies to other actors of Civil Society, which leads to the assertion that, in European terms, Civil Society is almost completely absent in Romania

    o there is a lack of Political Culture, Trade Union Culture, and Culture of Protest in the frame of Lawful State;

    o NGOs are out of the European NGO model of social struggle and are not interested in social initiatives, processes and movements but only in getting financing for so-called training programs. Since financing, be it European or not, comes through Governmental Agencies, it becomes obvious that most of the NGOs are in fact Governmental NGOs (so-called GoNGOs) that promote only the fashionable Politics of those in Power;

    4. TASKS

    • Setting up the JSC Ro Initiative Committee (for the beginning 5 to 7 members) following the criteria and model of the European JSC IC (people should have a mandate to represent their organizations; people should be committed to spend time and energy in the process; organizations should encompass different sectors, Federations and Confederations, as well as actors of Civil Society; etc);

    • Getting involved in the European JSC process;

    • Starting a JSC Ro networking and communication by launching a website following the European JSC website model (www.jointsocialconference.eu ) in order to support a national-wide development of the process;

    • Organizing the participation at the JSC in Brussels (10th-11th of March 2011);

    5. STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

    • Identifying those issues/themes that are of interest for Trade Unions, NGOs and Social Movements in Romania and, at the same time, are part of the more general European themes of struggle;

    • Bridging the European and National, i.e. Romanian, levels of vision and action;

    • Developing the JSC Ro process and setting the frame for the JSC Ro 2011;