Social dialogue is a particular form of a debate on social interests. Different and equal partners participate in it, and no party has dominant status, none interest – by the legal force – is not more important than the others, and the rule of the stronger does not operate, but differences of opinions are levelled as a result of mutual concessions. Since 1997 the social dialogue is – likewise in some of Western Europe Countries – the system’s principle, twice written down in Constitution.
In the Constitution’s preamble we read: Hawing concern of existence and future of our Motherland (…) we, the Polish Nation – all the citizens of the Republic (…) we set up Constitution of the Republic of Poland as a basic laws for the state based on respect for freedom and justice, co-operation of authorities, social dialogue and rule of subsidiarity consolidating the rights of citizens and theirs communities.
On the other hand, in the Chapter I” the Republic” art. 20 we read: Social market economy based on the economic activity’s freedom, private ownership and solidarity, dialogue and co-operation of social partners, enacts the basic of economic system of the Republic of Poland.
From above recordings comes out that social dialogue is not a tool of governing which public authority may use when wishes Authority is constitutionally bound to use it.
Partners of social dialogue are: self- governing bodies, professional self – governing bodies, trade unions, employers’ organizations and other social organizations, and representations of professional and formative milieus. Their rights and obligations as well as position and role in the dialogue describe separate deeds. They are, in principle, complying with European standards.
An organizational core of social dialogue in Poland is a Tri-partite Commission for Socio-Economic issues.
Parallely, alongside with Tripartite Commission, operate10 Tripartite Branch Units.
There also exists a mechanism of dialogue on a County level.
These are Counties Commissions of Social Dialogue [ WKDS in Polish].
Dialogue and transformation.
Rules of social dialogue were shaped in Poland in the initial period of transformation. Therefore, as a matter of fact, its range amounts to civilization of labour relations and the socio-economic policy influencing. Sudden acceleration of globalization processes and aggravation of interests’ play of the main social partners is a factor that hinders passage to the higher stage of dialoguing; a stage in which, since years, Western Europe remains; dialogue appropriate to the citizens’ society building.
Poland, however, set an important legislative stop on the way of building so-called third sector, by enacting in 2003 a sill on volunteerism and a public’ benefit activity as well as appointing Council of the Public Benefit Activity, but generally we are in the other stage of a dialogue development comparing with the level of dialogue development in so-called old Union. It seems difficult and even impossible mechan8ical transfer of theirs solutions onto our soil.
This is clearly seen at the international meetings aimed at exchange of experiences. Europe, for example, develops sectoral bi-lateral dialogue.
In Poland, in fact, there is no such a dialogue. One of the reasons is that substantial part of personnel in the private enterprises situates beyond the scope of trade unions’ activity, moreover, is deprived of elementary informative-consultative subjectivity because the relevant bill fulfilling Directive 2002/14/We of the European Parliament and Council was not passed by the Diet of the IV th term.
In the context one of the Polish best specialists in the realm of labour law and social dialogue, prof. Dr. Juliusz Gardawski expressed opinion that for a prosperous development of dialogue there is not enough even impressively expanded infrastructure, but is necessary the culture of dialogue composed of, inter alia, a climate of trust, keeping one’s side of bargain and keeping one’s word as well as departing from levelling of negotiations to bidding of force.
Meanwhile, this frailty of dialogue noticed even the Dutch experts. One of them, co-author of comparative report on a position of sectorial dialogue in the Netherlands and Poland, observed that in Poland a surprising feature peculiar to a statements for both employers and unionists of metal sector is tendency for conducting talks from the force position, and not to present standpoints arising from the need of running of economic activity.
Moreover, both parties of dialogue, prefer to refer to the Government instead to each other mutually.
Rightness of these observations is not diminished by an objective historical conditionings of the Polish social dialogue, which was born in the period when arising independent unions movement ( years 70s and 80s) geared for flight with a total employer, i.e. a state in this case. Such an ethos shaped an archetype of an oppositionist – unionist not an activist of unions seeking compromises in a given economic reality.
Despite of these roots, the Polish dialogue conducted in a previous formula does not exhausted its possibilities. From the yearly reports being prepared by the supervising unit on behalf of the Government ( this is at present Division of Dialogue and Social Partnership in the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy) or under its auspices, it comes out that there is a social need not only for a dialogue development named in Poland
‘branchial”, but also for a widening of Tripartite Commission, inter alia, by farmers and jobless representation, as well as strengthening the role of WKDS.
see also the basic deeds concerning the social partners