Quality jobs: from minimum wage to an innovation economy and new employment trends in the Baltic States in contrast to other European countries

From 8 to 10 June 2017 took place in Jurmala, Latvia, a seminar about “Quality jobs: from minimum wage to an innovation economy and new employment trends in the Baltic States in contrast to other European countries”, organized by LKrA (Latvijas Kristīga Akadēmija), with the support of EZA and of the European Union.

59 representatives of workers’ organizations from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Finland participated in the seminar.

The most important aspect of the project was a) urgent reference to European Commission’s target of strengthening the goals of Europe-2020 strategy, and sharing social responsibility to jointly defining the economic and political tasks of the day; b) seeking cooperative answers to the complex problem of qualitative and innovative understanding of the work innovations: the quest for criteria solutions for the quality of innovations at work-place was the main focus point of the reports and discussions; c) presentation of workers’ involvement in regional modern innovations. Visiting the UAV Factory” – the winner of the Innovations award in The Baltics-2016; d) seminar encouraged workers and employers to develop European dimension ideas of importance of innovations in the institutions they are working for increasing motivation and productivity.

The project was important just now because today strategies of innovations in the labor market in the European context are of great importance because in the coming years in the EU will depend to an important extent of a “battle of ideas”, involving a wide variety of actors, including political parties, governments, Trade unions, expert organizations to confront each other with their beliefs and discourses concerning social justice, democracy, efficiency and development. Trade unions have a variety of functions and identities that often go beyond mere representation of the economic interests of their members: they can also be class-actors opposing the capitalist system and societal actors representing interests of society at large – also responsible for the Innovation Performance in Europe. Seminar contributed to the current assessment and ways for innovations development in work-places in the Baltic States in comparison to other EU countries and Europe-2020 strategy goals to be reached.

The following topic fields were discussed:

-Productivity and efficiency: open innovation and role of Trade Unions for promotion of the social capital;

-Innovation system in the Baltic States and governmental support for its development;

-Quality innovations; Individualization and Employment relations;

-Comparison of the Trade Unions role development in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia;

-Employee share ownership in the Baltic States – benefits for innovative organizations;

-Economic perspectives and Challenges to promote social innovations in the EU;

-the Role of knowledge management for the support of innovations in multicultural context of the EU;

-the importance of LLL;

-Innovative economy and the role of Trade Unions in it: examples from the Western Europe;

-Labor market innovations and the role of the new technologies – criteriology and assessment models for Trade Unionists;

-Science, research and implementation of innovations.

Due to the invested time for preparation and to the work done before the seminar for the excellent and mutually agreed preparation of the seminar by EZA organizing committee and the Senate of Latvian Christian Academy (LCA) together with LBAS (Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia) – all speeches were perfectly prepared and first-class. We would like to mention Mr. Pēteris Krīgers, Ex-President of Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia – his report on comparison of the TU role for development of quality innovations in different EU countries; Mr. Māris Ēlerts, senior expert from the Innovations departments of Ministry of Economics, on the Innovations system growth and the role of the government and all social partners in support and development. Insightful understanding of the chosen topic in the context of the Europe-2020 strategy goals was presented bt Dr.oec. Remigijus Civinskas (Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania) and Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists. Sharp sociological analysis with conclusions was presented by ass. prof. Mr. Juris Osis, who did twofold task: read the report sent in by Sir Leen La Riviere (NE) on innovations’ economy experience in the The Netherlands, and analyzed the special role of NT: from criteriology and assessment aspects for trade unionists.

All participants of the seminar were encouraged to realize in their daily work:

a)    Responsibility for conducting an atmosphere of openness, trust and innovative attitude towards tasks to complete in the context of the common-good and Europe-2020 improvement goals,

b)    Demand for further networking on common role for innovation economy development and sustainable good practice exchange platform,

c)    Positive attitude towards “European Workplace Innovation Network” – to share knowledge and to learn from others.

All participants of the seminar supported the opinion that seminar was of relevant theoretical and practical value. They were encouraged (and this is of great value!) to invest their daily efforts at theoretical and practical value for European consciousness and common good in regards to innovations at work-place. They were reminded how to use and understand the key issues of innovations as a mandate for Innovation Performance in the EU. They got precise knowledge on digitalization, servitisation, disruptive business models and resource efficiency. They got helpful hints for the strategies form employee organizations: what could be done to reduce differences on national levels to the pan-European level; a lot of good knowledge on solidarity issues and social justice.

 

 

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