Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund

Information and networking events

Group Joint Visit

Bucharest 16.05.-20.05.2022

The group visit with 19 delegation members from different organisations and authorities, consisting mainly of Romanian-speaking advisors from the Fair Mobility Network, employees of the advisory project Network for Fair Posting, a colleague from SOKA BAU, colleagues from the Food and Catering Union NGG, a colleague from the PECO Institute for Sustainable Development e.V., the German liaison officer of the European Labour Authority ELA and a colleague from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. 

As the country from which a large number of workers in the construction industry, seasonal agriculture and meat industry in Germany come, the aim of the trip was to build networks with relevant institutions and actors in Romania, as well as to have an exchange about the working conditions of workers in Germany in the above-mentioned sectors and to discuss issues relating to advising this group of workers.

 

Digital Conference:
FAIR WORK IN EUROPE! Strategies against the Exploitation of Seasonal Workes in Agriculture

July 8 2021 | online

The EU's fruit and vegetable sector is highly dependent on foreign labour. Most of them come from Romania, Bulgaria and third countries. In July 2020, the EU Commission developed new guidelines for the protection of seasonal workers and announced further measures. Nevertheless, seasonal workers are still among the most vulnerable workers in the EU.

In our digital converence we exchanged ideas about the situation of seasonal workers in their countries of origin and destination, which trade unions strategies have been developed to counter this and which changes at EU level could lead to an improvement.

 

Romanian seasonal workers braving the pandemic for the second year are entitled to fair working conditions

Mai 1st 2020 / by Dumitru COSTIN, BNS President

Seasonal work is not new but the Covid-19 pandemic brought into focus the situation of temporary labour migrants in the agricultural sector everywhere in Europe. Besides border closures hindering both departure from sending countries and arrivals in host countries, unsafe travel, accommodation and working conditions received a wide attention from the media, social actors and public authorities.

Since BNS became a partner of the DGB’s Fair Mobility centres’ network, with its own centre of information and counseling for Romanians working abroad, we dealt with situations not only induced by Covid-19 but also linked to recruitment and the role of intermediaries, exploitative employment and improper housing conditions, health and safety issues. Confronted with an array of cases that required specific interventions, BNS has developed several partnerships with national public institutions and organizations, and issued a number of policy propositions for the national level and will continue to do so in the future.  

Seasonal works from Romania became much more visible since last year when - following pleas from its own population and pressure from Germany and Austria, who needed harvest helpers and caretakers – the government decided to exempt seasonal workers from the travel ban. These workers last year sent their families 6.6 billion euro, which is almost a third more than the foreign direct investment Romania attracts. Cross-border workers, such as posted, seasonal, temporary agency workers or other mobile and migrant workers, make up an essential part of the European workforce but continue to be the least protected, the lowest paid, and the most vulnerable. A vast majority of Romanian mobile and migrant workers work in key sectors, such as construction, transport, tourism, agriculture, food industry, health and social care, domestic and care work but are particularly marked by discrimination, social exclusion and lack of job opportunities. Moreover, they are most likely to be exposed to abuse, violence and harassment.               

Therefore, I am very happy that BNS has teamed up with Fair Mobility in a joint strive to ensure access to information as workers should be informed about their rights at work - especially in their own language, even before they travel, and know that – for example - they must be given a written employment contract. This should include information about applicable work conditions, collective agreements, as well as social security rights, access to healthcare and municipal registration obligations. Moreover, to cover the temporary nature of mobile work, this obligation should apply also to shorter assignments. It is paramount for workers to have access to information on how to join a union and counselling services provided by social partners (in partnership with civil society organisations and/or public employment services), including complaint mechanisms to report abuses and discrimination. Trade unions must have access to workplace premises and accommodation facilities, to provide information and talk to the workers, as ILO Convention C135 on Workers' Representatives must be fully respected. Together, BNS and DGB, through the Fair Mobility network of centres, support and promote fair labour mobility and tackle abuse and discrimination.  Our work together is already yielding good results, our voice is stronger together. Equal treatment is a prerequisite and it is key in tackling social dumping and ensuring decent work for all workers. The principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights and the EU social acquis must apply also to the protection of mobile and migrant workers.

Presentation of the project at the international seminar "Bogus self-employed"

13-15 November 2019 | Brussels

Mirela Caravan from the Romanian advisory center took the opportunity to present the project during an international seminar organized by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI). 
The seminar, open to trade union officers at local and regional level and activists in the field of bogus/false self-employment, aimed at a joint profund analysis of the scope and forms of bogus self-employment and the situation in different European countries as well as discussions and an exchange of experiences how to protect this group of workers. Mirela Caravan introduced the project Fair Working Conditions and the German project Fair Mobility and the work, practice and experience gained so far.  

etui

Mirela Caravan

Opening of the BNS Info Centre for Romanian posted workers

28 May 2019 | Bucharest

On May 28, 2019 the Romanian trade union confederation BNS (National Trade Union Bloc) signed a Partnership Framework Agreement with the Ministry of Labour and Social Justice, and a Cooperation Agreement with the Labour Inspection. On this occasion, BNS announced the inauguration of the BNS Centre for information, counselling, guidance and support services for Romanians posted workers in Germany.

The Romanian Minister of Labour, Mr. Marius Constantin Budăi was present at this event to highlight that the Ministry of Labour, together with its institutions, fully supports the BNS initiative. This Agreement is part of the BNS’ efforts to address labour market challenges in the context of workers' mobility, digitization and the need to respect workers' rights in the field of labour relations. BNS will sign similar agreements with other public institutions.

During the conference the BNS representatives stated that the aim of BNS is to improve the access to information for Romanians who are working in Germany or intend to go there as posted workers, while strengthening the transnational cooperation between European unions and other relevant stakeholders with regard to the specific needs of posted workers. BNS aims to strengthen a partnership relationship with the national institutions that have clear roles and responsibilities in solving the labour problems of Romanian citizens working in Germany. This pilot project prepares a similar approach for other countries with important Romanian communities.

A live video transmission allowed two colleagues from Germany to greet the participants at the conference. Dominique John from DGB-project Faire Mobilität, and Letitia Matarea-Türk, from the Fair Mobility Centre in Frankfurt spoke about the significance of the cooperation between Romania and Germany and their work so far in providing important information for workers posted to Germany. They underlined the fact that abuses will be prevented if the minimum working conditions required by law will be known by the Romanian nationals before going to Germany, and the matters that workers should consider before and after their stays in Germany in order to protect themselves against exploitation.

Among the participants at the conference for the inauguration of the BNS Centre were representatives from the German Embassy, the Labour Inspection, the National Employment Agency, the President of the National Public Pension Agency, Eures, trade union representatives of federations in various sectors, such as Construction and Agriculture.

Opening of the Info Centre for posted workers in Warsaw

15 April 2019 | Warsaw

The Info Centre was opened by the Vice-President of OPZZ Mr Piotr Ostrowski and Mr Adam Rogalewski – Acting Head of International Department of OPZZ. They presented to the media the situation of the carers of elderly people living in a nursing home, which in many cases resembles modern slavery. Particularly exposed to poor working conditions are carers delegated to work in Germany, who as part of a complicated employment model (in most cases employed by Polish agencies under a contract of mandate and then transferred to a German agency that sends them to work for families in Germany) are struggling not only because of low wages, but also due to the lack of contact and support from employers. This creates a very precarious situation for the employee, in which, in many cases, Polish citizens, in complete isolation and without the support of their employers, are available to provide care to German families 24 hours a day.

Reports on the opening are available on OPZZ website and in various Polish media (Puls Biznesu, Polski Obserwator, Everethnews).

Opening of the Info Centre for posted workers in Budapest

29 March 2019 | Budapest

Several trade unions and employers' organization were welcomed at the opening ceremony on March 29th, at VASAS headquarters, such as Meat Industry Workers' Union or Construction Workers' Union. After the presentation of the project, the participants expressed their interest and appreciation for the opportunity and then agreed on the details of further contact.