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The wind of change is blowing

Olanesti (Romania) 12.04.2008

Thursday 17 April 2008

On 12 April, a seminar organised by Health Union FSSDR took place in the beautiful surroundings of Olanesti, Romania. Purpose of the meeting was discussing different Health Systems and strategies of collective bargaining in Romania with colleagues from Eurofedop.

Eurofedop sent three speakers in order to facilitate comparison of different systems in Romania, the UK and the Netherlands. Viorel Rotila, Secretary General of FSSDR organised this interesting seminar in which some 30 health care workers and union representatives participated.

Ms. Corina Mihaela Raicu, representative of the Secretary of State’s office of the Public Health Ministry, held a presentation on the working of the social dialogue in the Health Sector in Romania. Femke Beumer, representative of Eurofedop, presented Eurofedop’s objectives and activities in the field of Health care. Tom Robson from the POA, UK, explained the history and the developments of the POA. Leon Vincken, representative of CNV Public, the Netherlands, outlined the way social dialogue, collective bargaining, works in the Netherlands, and more specifically in the Health care sector.

Enthusiastic participants from the Romanian health sector used this opportunity to learn all about the systems in both the UK and the Netherlands and everyone participated in the discussion. And, in turn, the speakers from the Netherlands, the UK and Eurofedop learnt a great deal of Romanian strategies. However, comparing a system of collective bargaining, as part of a democratic system for over centuries, to a young democracy with relatively new social partners, appeared to be tough at times. Moreover, within the EU we are always dealing with different cultures, history and heritage so simply copying another EU Member State’s model is neither possible nor desirable. Romanian unions will have to use their own resources, which will probably determine the success of their own Romanian model. Ms Raicu from the Health Ministry brought this message across quite clearly too. The situation is improving, though gradually, but it is very much up to the willingness and mentality of union representatives too, not just the government. In short, the wind of change is blowing, but perhaps it will have to gain more strength.

Within Eurofedop, unions are given the chance to meet exchange and learn. This type of seminar should be seen as a next step, not a conclusion. Following up these meetings is therefore very important. At the Trade Council meetings there is even a greater diversity nationalities and cultures present, which provides another opportunity for exchanging best practices.

More information on the results of the seminar in Olanesti will be provided at the next Trade Council meeting on 18 April.

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