To The Metal
To The Metal




Workshop II 20-21.04.2022. - Phase III Adaptation

On the first day of the workshop, on November 23 2021. the project was opened and the participants of the trade unions and employers' organizations were presented, as follows: as the main applicants SFMM CL Podkrepa, SFMM CL Podkrepa – Bulgaria, Federacja Zviazkov Zavodovich Metalovcov and Hutnikov, FZZMiH – Poland, Samostalni sindikat metalaca Srbije, SSMS – Serbia, Federacja Przedsiebiorcov Polskich, FPP – Poland, Bugarska granska mašinska zgrada, BBCMB – Bulgaria, Unija Poslodavaca Vojvodine, UPV – Serbia, Comisiones Obreras de Industria, CCOO de Industria – Spain, Asociacion Industrial Tecnica i de Comercio, ASITECO – Spain, Unija slobodnih sindikata Crne Gore, USSCG – Montenegro, Unija Poslodavaca Crne Gore, UPCG – Montenegro.


Due to the current situation with the COVID-19 virus, the participants accessed the workshop online via the ZOOM application, in which way they were able to actively participate in the discussion and follow the presentations.


Within the first panel, national case studies and interview results were presented by all participants in the project by national experts from Serbia, Poland, Bulgaria, Spain and Montenegro, also 8 main issues that were supposed to reflect the situation in companies related to informing and consulting employees during the Covid 19 pandemic, ie developed risk management strategies / actions, levels of social dialogue, risk management strategies, as well as security practices and employee health developed during the Covid crisis 19.

The general conclusion of all participants after the presented surveys is that most companies complied with the regulations related to information and consulting, as well as labor laws, so that they are mostly in line with European legislation, and the workers assessed them as satisfactory during the Covid 19 pandemic.


After the part dedicated to questions and answers related to national presentations, the expert presented a presentation related to the best practices related to the health and safety of workers during Covid 19.

It was concluded that examples of best practice for worker safety during Covid 19 were mainly used in production facilities, where a large number of people worked, and most of the examples related to specific measures taken in the metal sector, namely: providing personal protective equipment, masks and disinfection, ensure safe transportation of workers from home to work, work in several shifts to reduce contact and infection, work from home where possible, usually for administration, ambulances in production facilities, temperature measurement when entering the company of all persons entering the employer's premises, separate rest zones, multi-shift canteens, disinfectant dispensers before entering the company, training of employees for safe work, revision of the act on risk assessment with Covid-19, disinfection of tools and equipment before starting work, disinfection zones / chambers when entering the employer's premises, vaccination points in the production plant and in the company, reduction of unnecessary contacts, minimum distance 2 m, indebtedness of the contact person for the implementation of measures, redistribution of working hours with shift work and fewer employees, increased hygiene and disinfection of work premises, which includes hiring companies that do disinfection, frequent ventilation of the workspace, providing a sufficient amount of soap, towels and alcohol-based disinfectants, instructions for safe work of employees.

After this panel, the participants recorded video interviews with representatives of organizations for the needs of the project.

On the second day of the workshop, on April 21, 2022. within the first panel, the expert presented the role of trade unions / works councils during the Covid 19 crisis.

Joint conclusions of experts and participants define that trade unions can help their countries emerge stronger from this crisis by demanding urgent action from governments and giving new and innovative proposals for transforming short-term crisis measures into systemic reforms.

The demands for urgent action to be taken by the governments of the states during the Covid19 crisis relate to: universal health care, prolonged illness due to Covid / 19, special protection for the unemployed and family, job and income security through the adoption of flexible part-time work schemes, financial support to companies in order to avoid redundancies, compliance with OSH regulations, recognition of Covid-19 as an occupational disease, strengthening social dialogue, improving the entire social protection system to all categories of workers and their employment status, long-term investments in social services, partial or complete forgiveness of external debts and financial assistance to vulnerable companies or economic activities, in order to maintain employability................................................       

On behalf of the FPP organization from Poland by experts, the following presentations were presented to the participants:

Crisis negotiations and cross-border restructuring - process and consideration for works councils, trade unions and employers' representatives and Information on business impact and resolution scenarios.

Regarding crisis negotiations by experts, it was pointed out that in these situations it is crucial to strengthen dialogue and nurture mutual trust in companies in order to improve risk predictability, more flexible work organization and easier access to training for employees in the company, because fast business solutions must be made in order to successfully overcome the crisis.

It is also necessary in these situations to increase the level of information and consultation on the situation and likely changes in employment in the company; where, in the opinion of the employer, employment in the company may be jeopardized, informing about possible anticipatory measures, especially regarding employee training and skills developmen.

The conclusion of experts and participants is that timely information and consultation is a condition for successful restructuring, and that the effectiveness of social dialogue depends on a transparent, regular and reliable process of information and consultation and that the basis of negotiations is trust and respect of agreements.

For successful crisis negotiations, it is necessary to develop timely predictions and prevention of crisis situations in the company, because the problem of too late reaction to changes can affect the neglect of economic aspects of decisions, as well as delayed reaction does not contribute to predicting the actual development of employment in companies or risk prevention, relations should be maintained and improved regardless of circumstances. Negotiation in times of crisis requires trust, resilience in accepting compromise solutions, as well as new solutions, ie ad hoc strategies and scenarios.

Regarding the presentation on the topic of information that affects the business and remediation scenarios by the expert, the concept of benchmarking was explained - concrete solutions and good practices based on experience. This issue is especially important in human resource management. It is crucial to adapt to new jobs and new working conditions, so it is necessary for the organization to be flexible, to have flexible responses to the crisis.

It is necessary to disseminate good practices and develop standards of conduct, based on the experiences and patterns of competitors, mainly in the field of work organization and personnel management methods. Modern people management implies the need to adopt different methods of cooperation and influence on different groups of employees.

The main problem is that trade unions negatively perceive flexibility, fluctuation and autonomy, which does not always mean worsening labor standards, while employers mistakenly associate greater employment protection only with additional employment costs, in order to avoid any doubts about the interpretation, it is necessary to understand the intentions of the interlocutor and explain the meaning of regulations and procedures.

For all the above reasons, it is important to motivate, create a friendly atmosphere, eliminate the feeling of threat, so that it will 1. improve the information and consultation process to be transparent, reliable, regular and stable. 2. establish exchange of experiences and expert advice. 3. use experts or consultants and coordinators for better cooperation with the company's central management. 4. decisive factor - the state and related optimization, vision, organizational culture and image of the company.  5. introduce measures for systematic professionalisation of information and consultation representatives.

The expert presented a presentation on effective online cooperation and recommended protocols for online meetings. As for new challenges and opportunities for unions in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, they are mainly related to national digital deficit and growing informalization.

The presentation pointed out that digital technologies, especially virtual meetings, threaten the traditional model of industrial relations. There are two main challenges for networking, ie. on line: inaccessibility and lack of connection. The adoption of these technologies by unions and employers is recommended, as they provide opportunities and benefits that would not otherwise be realized through physical meetings and conferences.

Covid-19 has made it clearer that unions must: recognize information technology as a critical force in shaping their relevance in the future, as a strategic plan for greater IT visibility in union structures; improve online cooperation, for mutual connection and solidarity, mobilizing and uniting workers in this way; ensure that provisions for digitization and dissemination of technology are integrated into the collective agreement and the structure of social dialogue in the workplace; develop their own applications and databases that are available to their members.

The advantages of online cooperation are new forms of online communication that allow unions to hire more members. During the pandemic, numerous online meetings and webinars were held, which the unions accepted as a way of communication during 2020. In this way, they received more direct and better information from their members. Increased online engagement, allows unions to better represent members and strengthen their role with employers. Trade unions should invest in upgrading their knowledge and knowledge of new technologies, as well as to adapt to the online sphere and improve their communication infrastructure through online communication.

The general conclusion for the workshops was that social dialogue and resilience in management proved to be extremely important during the pandemic, precisely as a way to reduce the negative impact on business and the ability to maintain employability during the crisis, and all thanks to the application of the institute of information and consultation.

It was concluded that there is a need for greater networking of trade unions in industry at the regional and European level, as a first step towards better knowledge of the importance of adequate and timely involvement of workers in the decision-making process, with special emphasis on crisis decision-making;

At the end of the meeting, the moderator and main applicant of Podkrepa thanked all participants for their contribution and useful presentations, which will certainly lead to significant ideas on the project "Put the pedal to the metal", its recovery and further development with the application of an elastic management model as a response to the Covid-19 crisis.

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