Poland: New tripartite bodies begin operations
On 1 January, new tripartite bodies known as ‘labour market councils’ (rady rynku pracy) officially began their operations. The new bodies replace the former employment councils (rady zatrudnienia). Labour market councils have been established by an amendment to the Act on Employment Promotion and Labour Market Institutions of March 2014. The new bodies have a broader scope of responsibilities than their predecessors.
The organisational structure of labour market councils reflects that of the employment councils, comprising the central national labour market councils (krajowa rada rynku pracy), regional labour market councils (wojewódzkie rady rynku pracy) and district labour market councils (powiatowe rady rynku pracy).
In late March, all seven nationwide social partner organisations (three trade union organisations and four employer organisations) and representatives of government met to discuss a joint proposal for new legislation on tripartite social dialogue, prepared by the social partners. The meeting produced a consensus across the parties, meaning that the draft legislation can be allowed onto the legislative path.
The draft legislation proposes that a Social Dialogue Council (Rada Dialogu Społecznego) will replace the Tripartite Commission on Social and Economic Affairs (Komisja Trójstronna do Spraw Społeczno-Gospodarczych), and, consequently, the regional social dialogue commissions (wojewódzkie komisje dialogu społecznego, WKDS) will be substituted by regional social dialogue councils (wojewódzkie rady dialogu społecznego).
All members of the Social Dialogue Council will be nominated by the President following their approval by each party involved. The chair will be alternated among the three parties, and the chairperson will hold the post for a year. The Social Dialogue Council will be granted a separate budget so that it may engage its own expertise. Furthermore, a regular administrative unit serving the needs of the council will be established (probably by the Centre for Social Partnership, 'Dialogue'). The new body will have the right to initiate legislation regarding all issues that, according to the draft, are within the scope of its responsibility, that is 'socioeconomic development, enhancement of national economic competiveness and social cohesion'.
While it is not known yet when the new regulations will be passed into law, the government seems determined to launch the new tripartite bodies in the summer of 2015. Evidence of this determination is the fast-tracking of the legislation through the parliament.