"Shaping employee interests in times of the corona pandemic

On June 24, 2020 webinar was hosted in Vienna/Austria on "Shaping employee interests in times of the corona pandemic", organized by ÖZA (Austrian Centre for Employee Education) in cooperation with EZA and with the support of the European Union.

23 representatives of worker organisations from Austria, Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Albania, Belgium, Netherlands, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia and Portugal attended the seminar.

On behalf of ÖZA President Norbert Schnedl, General Secretary Andreas Gjecaj, in his greeting, refers to the first-time presentation of this “webinar” by ÖZA / EZA.

The corona pandemic has been a global challenge since March 2020. There is still no effective drug and no vaccine against Covid-19. All European countries have therefore responded with a “lockdown” of public life. Most countries have managed to limit the number of sick and dead people. This lockdown has now led to the biggest economic crisis since World War II. All EU member countries are currently trying to rescue the economy with special programmes. EZA is responding today with this "webinar" to make exchange the experience available, to get a picture of the different situations in the EU member countries and to provide targeted strategies and procedures for representing employee interests.

Jozef Mozolewski, Solidarnosc / Poland, spoke on the topic "Being a trade union in times of the corona crisis: maintaining, adapting and developing one's own ability to act under difficult conditions" - with a focus on the situation in Poland.

Viorel Rotila, Sanitary Solidarity / Romania, spoke about "Healthcare workers in the pandemic - between revision and new professional recognition!" - with a focus on the situation in Romania.

Kristina Krupaviciene, Lietuvos Profesinė Sąjunga (LPS) “Solidarumas”, gave a lecture on “Employee interests under pressure: Achievements gained - using new scope” with a focus on the situation in Lithuania.


  • Every crisis - including the current corona pandemic - requires clear rules. As trade unionists, we welcome the fact that maintaining health and life has priority over other motives.
  • “Social dialogue” was made extremely difficult or completely overridden by emergency regulations in many countries.
  • The fighting power of the unions has been weakened by the emergency measures. It is therefore very important to ensure that all measures are limited in time!
  • The unions have to learn to deal with the "new media" and the associated new forms of communication, such as video conferences, online surveys, etc.
  • It is not enough if these new techniques are only used in the unions' offices; the members of the unions must also be taken along.
  • Personal commitment will continue to be necessary in the future. It will not be enough to click a button on the computer with the text: "Click here to save the world".
  • Free access to the Internet and "legal software" must be an internationally recognized right - there must be no exclusions in the world of the Internet, neither for individuals nor for unions.