Minutes of the General Assembly meeting – 2006/12/13

MINUTES OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETING

The General Assembly of the Friuli Venezia Giulia/Veneto/South-Western Croatia CGIL, CISL, UIL, SSSH Interregional Trade Union Council met on 13th December in Trieste, at the headquarters in via Polonio 5.

Attending members: Monica Ukmar (CGIL Friuli Venezia Giulia, substitute of Roberto Treu who is on leave), Luca Visentini (UIL Friuli Venezia Giulia), Michele Berti (UIL Friuli Venezia Giulia), Luciana Levi Bettin (CGIL Veneto), Gerardo Colamarco (UIL Veneto), Jadranka Tomašić (SSSH South-Western Croatia) and Slobodan Kapor (SSSH South-Western Croatia).

Absent on leave: Renata Bagattin (CGIL Friuli Venezia Giulia), Giovanni Della Valle (CISL Veneto), Salvino Bibulić (SSSH South-Western Croatia) and Boris Majetić (SSSH South-Western Croatia).

Abstent without leave: Giovanni Fania (CISL Friuli Venezia Giulia), Massimo Albanesi (CISL Friuli Venezia Giulia) and Josip Šišović (SSSH South-Western Croatia).

Other attending persons: Vesna Bolić (SSSH South-Western Croatia) and Claudio Zaccarin (CGIL Veneto), as guests.

Agenda of the General Assembly Meeting:

  1. Ratification of the appointments of new members;
  2. Approval of 2005 budget;
  3. Assessment of the activities implemented in 2006;
  4. Planning of 2007 activities;
  5. Any other business.

At 16.53, Luca Visentini, acting as President of IR.T.U.C., opened and chaired the General Assembly.

1. Luca Visentini asked Jadranka Tomašić if SSSH South-Western Croatia had identified the candidates for the four vacant positions in the General Assembly and for the vacant position in the Presidency Office. Jadranka Tomašić said candidates had been identified. For the General Assembly – besides Boris Majetić, who was presented in the previous meeting of the Presidency Office on 24th October 2006 –, the remaining four candidates of SSSH South-Western Croatia were: Vesna Bolić, who was attending as guest, Gordana Paris, Veljko Peloza and Branko Kužet. As for the Presidency Office, the candidate of SSSH South-Western Croatia was Josip Šišović. In this respect, Monica Ukmar announced that CGIL Friuli Venezia Giulia section replaced one of its two members of the General Assembly, namely Renata Bagattin. She had accepted a position in the national secretary office in the CGIL federation of retired workers and therefore was no longer able to work in the cross-border sector with the neighbouring Croatian counties: the candidate to replace her was Giobatta Degano. Michele Berti informed the General Assembly that – following recent talks with Lorenzo Garziera – CISL Friuli Venezia Giulia, which today had no representative – decided to reappoint the current members instead of replacing them. Luca Visentini expressed satisfaction for this and opened the vote on the candidature:

  • of Vesna Bolić, Gordana Paris, Veljko Peloza and Branko Kužet, from SSSH South-Western Croazia, and
  • of Giobatta Degano, from CGIL Friuli Venezia Giulia,

as new members of the I.T.U.C. General Assembly. The I.T.U.C. General Assembly unanimously approved the proposal.

Along the same lines, Luca Visentini opened the vote on the candidature:

  • of Josip Šišović, from SSSH South-Western Croatia,

as new member of the I.T.U.C. Presidency Office. The I.T.U.C. General Assembly unanimously approved the proposal.

2. The five main items of expenditure of the 2005 budget were explained by Luca Visentini, the relevant breakdown was the following:

  • “Administration and activity of the services on frontier workers mobility” € 60.251,90;
  • “Conference” € 4.545,42;
  • “Action of social dialogue” € 2.253,55;
  • “Purchase of equipment” € 1.539,85;
  • “Informative material” € 8.247,60.

In 2005, the total expenditure was equal to € 76.838,31. Michele Berti noted that – unlike the 2005 budget, which included 6 items – no costs were ascribed to item n. 6 “Training and follow-up of information service staff”, as nobody from I.T.U.C. attended the course of the European Trade Union College of the E.T.U.C. “Information, consultation and workers’ rights in multinational corporations”. This course was scheduled in 2005 and, for unknown reason, it was later postponed to 2006. Therefore, the sum of € 500,00 included in this item was not spent and was transferred to the item “Informative material” which was underestimated in the light of actual needs.

Luca Visentini described the 2 items concerning revenues in the 2005 budget with the following breakdown:

  • € 61.624,62 as financing from the Autonomous Region Friuli Venezia Giulia, under article 5 of the Regional Act n. 11 of 1996 and subsequent amendments and integrations, for the implementation of institutional activities;
  • € 15.213,69 as contribution of the I.T.U.C. member Trade Union Organizations, for the implementation of institutional activities.

In 2005, the total expenditure was equal to € 76.838,31 and therefore there was a balance between expenditure and revenues. As no one asked to take the floor or asked for explanations, the vote on 2005 budget was held. The General Assembly unanimously approved the proposal.

3. Luca Visentini informed the General Assembly about the I.T.U.C. activities of 2006 which mainly concerned the comparison between collective bargaining in Italy and in Croatia in the sectors of credit and textile in the light of delocalisation and the Italian investments in Croatia. He reminded the General Assembly of the workshop scheduled on the following day in Trieste, as members were kindly requested to attend. During this workshop, Tamara Tomić would present the findings of her research which was one of the two main activities of I.T.U.C. for this year. This research/survey included a summary of the contracts in the credit sector and in the textile sectors in Italy and in Croatia as well as a comparison showing similarities and differences. This survey aimed at creating a basis for colleagues of Italian and Croatian trade unions with a view to finding synergies and common action strategies for the defence of workers’ rights. Copies of this survey were to be handed out to participants both in the CD version and on paper. No other remarks were made.

4. Luca Visentini reminded the General Assembly that the Presidency Office in its latest meeting on 24th October 2006 agreed to keep on focussing on collective bargaining in Italy and Croatia in 2007, in particular in the sector of trade and tourism. Today, this proposal was submitted to the General Assembly for approval. The President urged member to put forward other suggestions. Monica Ukmar pointed out that, instead of focussing on trade union and contractual rights of Croatian workers in Italian companies delocalised in Croatia, attention should be paid to Croatian citizens working in Italy. For instance, considering the high number of Croatian workers in the building sector in Italy, the collective national agreement of this sector could be translated into Croatian, this could be an advantage for these workers. Jadranka Tomašić agreed on the proposal of the Presidency Office and pointed out that – unlike the currunt year, when the comparison was made between two sectors without national collective agreement in Croatia – in the trade and tourist sectors such agreement did exist in Croatia. She confirmed her support for the proposal aimed at making the comparison simpler and more effective between Italy and Croatia. She added that the survey in the trade sector was particularly appropriate; for instance, the Italian owner of the new mall in Rijeka did not want to negotiate with Croatian or Italian trade unions. Claudio Zaccarin pointed out the focus of Veneto trade unions on delocalisations in Croatia, in particular for the Benetton Group in the textile sector, and he expressed the hope that European work councils will soon be introduced in Croatia too when it will become a member of the EU. He said that steps forwards may be made in the workshop scheduled for the following day in view to achieving this objective. In this regard, Luca Visentini mentioned the I.T.U.C. survey carried out in 2005 on delocalisation of Italian companies in Croatia. Part of the survey was about the information of trade unions in the two countries on delocalisation in Croatia and on the actions that could be more appropriate to prevent damage to workers. He pointed out that the lack of data was due to the difficulty of Italian and Croatian trade unions to draw up common strategies on prevention and action. Gerardo Colamarco pointed out that, as data gathered in the 2005 survey were not adequate, this meant that the relations between trade unions in the two countries must be enhanced. He expressed the hope that the workshop scheduled on the following day could be an opportunity to set up meetings between trade unions in the two countries concerning the sectors of the survey, i.e. the credit sector and the textile sector, as well as the topic for the 2007 survey, i.e. trade. He asked Jadranka Tomašić to give more information about the Italian company owing the mall in Rijeka. Jadranka Tomašić said that the company is based in Lombardy. Michele Berti wondered if the collective national agreement could be a common objective for trade unions in the two countries. Otherwise, this could be an obstacle to a common strategy between trade unions in Italy and Croatia working on the same sectors. Slobodan Kapor pointed out that in Istria there were many textile companies – about 750 small companies – working for the Benetton Group as outsourcers. These companies reject trade unions, and no trade union representation is allowed. There are no prospects for workers, as they all work under contracts having a limited duration. Therefore, investors’ strategies must be taken into account in view of defining an effective trade union strategy. In this respect, a successful experience was reported with Ziche Group: before the branch went bankrupt and closed down, the trade union succeeded to obtain a collective agreement for workers. After the speech of Slobodan Kapor, Jadranka Tomašić updated the General Assembly on trade union relations in two textile companies in Osijek, “Antonazzo” and “Confezioni Osijek”, which I.T.U.C visited in 2005. Ante Krajina, the colleague from the Osijek area, who was currently on leave, asked her to inform the General Assembly that the conditions of workers have worsened: also these companies are outsourcers of the Benetton Group. Gerardo Colamarco asked Slobodan Kapor for more detailed information on the 750 workers who are working for the Benetton Group in Istria, in particular the type of companies they work for, the actual units, etc. Slobodan Kapor replied that, as trade unions are not allowed in these companies, it’s very difficult to obtain this information. Claudio Zaccarin said that CGIL Veneto certainly has these data and he will pass them on to I.T.U.C. He will also pass on to I.T.U.C. the ethical code of the Benetton Group, which is binding for all branches, including foreign branches, and which can be used by Croatian trade unions to assert workers’ rights. Luca Visentini expressed interest for the proposal of Claudio Zaccarin, and suggest that this code should be translated into Croatian as part of I.T.U.C. activities for 2007. Jadranka Tomašić agreed with Luca Visentini and hoped this code was translated as soon as possible. As no one else asked for the floor, Luca Visentini summarised the debate and the two proposals that had been made:

  1. to carry out a comparison and get an insight on collective bargaining in the trade and tourist sector in Italy and Croatia, along the lines of the activities of 2006 and as suggested by the Presidency Office;
  2. to translate the ethical code of the Benetton Group into Croatian.

Luca Visentini opened the vote and the General Assembly unanimously approved the proposals.

5. No requests to take the floor were made on this last item of the agenda.

As no requests to take the floor were made, Luca Visentini officially closed the meeting of the General Assembly at 17.35.

The minute-taker
Michele Berti