German and Polish construction unions sign cooperation agreement

In October 1999, construction workers' trade unions from Germany and Poland signed an agreement on closer political cooperation and mutual support for posted workers

On 22 October 1999, the presidents of the German construction workers' union IG Bau-Agrar-Umwelt (IG BAU) and the two main Polish construction unions, Budowlani and NSZZ Solidarnosc, met in Warsaw to sign a new cooperation agreement.

The overall aim of this agreement is the safeguarding of the interests of construction workers who are posted from Poland to Germany or vice versa, regarding pay, working time, holidays and health and safety standards. From now on, as a result of the agreement, posted workers who are members of one of the unions should receive legal and organisational support from the other unions during their stay abroad.

Furthermore, the unions have agreed on joint monitoring of German construction companies in Poland and Polish companies in Germany, in order to make sure that the companies follow legal and collectively agreed standards. All three unions expressed their will to fight jointly against illegal migration of construction workers and illegal working practices at building sites.

In order to develop a close cross-border trade union network, there will be a top-level meeting of German and Polish trade union representatives at least once a year. In addition, the unions have agreed on a regular exchange of information, mutual exchange of trade union officials to attend practical courses within the other unions, and joint training seminars on all relevant aspects of German and Polish industrial relations. The unions have also agreed to give mutual support during industrial action and to prevent all forms of strike-breaking through the use of companies or workers from the other country.

Finally, IG BAU committed itself to supporting Polish unions in their preparation for Poland joining the European Union. It was decided, for example, to organise joint seminars on European regulation of the construction industry as well as on European social regulations. IG BAU will also endeavour to introduce Polish employee representatives on the European Works Councils of multinational companies with subsidiaries in Poland.

The conclusion of cross-border cooperation agreements is an important element in the IG BAU strategy to strengthen international trade union work. In recent years, it has already signed similar agreements with construction unions from countries such as Portugal, Austria, Switzerland or Italy (DE9804259N).

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