Shaping social relations through workers' organisations

From June 20 t0 24, 2019, a seminar was held in Tirana, Albania, on the topic of "Shaping social relations through workers' organisations", organised by the CFTC (Confédération Française des Travailleurs Chrétiens in English: French Association of Christian Workers) with the support of EZA and the European Union. The seminar took place as part of the EZA Special Project for Workers' Organisations in the Western Balkans "Strengthening Social Dialogue - Shaping European Integration".

Forty representatives of workers' organisations took part in the seminar. The following countries were represented: Albania, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Kosovo (as guests), Montenegro, France, Portugal, Lithuania, Romania.

Social relations have always played an essential role in society and relationships between workers' organisations. Together they make it possible to face the economic changes that shake the world.

Can European countries work together, taking into account cultural and economic differences? Are future generations the hope for social relations in Europe still marked by Sovietism?

The seminar was moderated by Joseph THOUVENEL, Vice President of the CFTC.

The following topics were addressed:

- Analysis of the economic and social situation in Albania and the role of France by Ms Christina VASAK (French Ambassador to Albania).

- Presentation of the situation in Albania and perspectives by Bilbil KASMI (SAUATT, Albania) and Gezim KALAJA (BSPSH, Albania).

- The emergence of an independent trade union under a totalitarian system and its development in a democratic framework by Dimitar MANOLOV (PODKREPA, Bulgaria) and Vesselin MITOV (PODKREPA, Bulgaria).

- Europe's contribution to the development of social dialogue by Pierre Jean COULON (President of the TEN Department of the European Economic and Social Council).

- The role of social dialogue in Portugal, Romania and France in protecting workers and their families with Maria Reina MARTIN (FIDESTRA, Portugal), Vasilica GOGESCU (CARTELALFA, Romania) and Pierre JARDON (CFTC, France).

- Intervention by Serdja KEKOVIC (USSCG, Montenegro), Avni AJDINI (BSPK, Kosovo) and Valbona KAMBERI (KPU, Kosovo) on the question "What we expect from social dialogue and our partners (employers, state, etc.), what we contribute and are willing to contribute".

Results of the seminar

People must again be placed at the centre of social relations. With the help of workers' organisations, an essential structure for dialogue must be created, and social platforms must be strengthened.

Social and economic reforms must be carried out for the benefit of workers; the common good makes it possible to be useful, to be recognised for one's work and thus to guarantee a better quality of life.

Unfortunately, the pace of social dialogue in Europe is steadily slowing down with an ageing population and young people no longer trusting organisations. The tripartite system does not work in all countries, which prevents the implementation of social dialogue and the independence of trade unions, which are perceived by many as too close to the existing authorities.

However, some countries have had the opportunity to strengthen or conclude collective agreements that protect workers and their families and enable them to live off their work and gain autonomy.


Trade unions need to adapt to change and attract more young people. Training needs to be provided, safety at work improved and better conditions created for employees to progress.

Better cooperation between governments and workers' organisations to discuss the social and economic problems of certain countries at workers' level must be sought for.

Equality of working conditions: In some countries, despite considerable progress, working conditions are far from being at the same level as in Western European countries.

In some European countries, where negotiations are hampered, and the protection of workers in terms of employment, security and minimum wages is compromised, there are few collective agreements.


Working together at the European level as well as in each country for a common social basis with collective agreements adapted to each country. -Continuation of social and economic reforms for the benefit of European workers.