The Council of the Baltic Sea States’ (CBSS) Baltic Sea Labour Forum (BSLF) was established in 2012 as a platform for social dialogue between trade unions and employer organisations and is a Flagship under EUSBSR Policy Area Education, with the CBSS as the Flagship leader. The Baltic Sea Labour Forum brings together the key labour market actors from around the Baltic Sea Region.
The latest project Sustainable Working Life Project, financed by the European Social Fund, is focussing on supporting Sustainable Working Life, improving the employability and working life conditions for older persons and making sure that adequate provisions enabling and promoting active aging and lifelong learning are in place.
Bringing people together to create sustainable labour markets in the Baltic Sea Region.
The Steering Committee is the highest strategical decision-making body of the BSLF. It comprises of one representative each of the BSLF member organizations and observers. The main objectives and tasks of the Steering Committee are identifying and discussing topical issues within the BSLF remit, deciding on BSLF administrative matters and on themes and layout of the Round table and others.
CBSS/BSLF Coordination Group on Labour and Employment
Consists of representatives from ministries (can be labour, education or health) from CBSS Member States, Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference, Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social well-being, EU DG Employment, EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region Policy Area Education as well as experts from academia and other organisations with competence in a field of common interest.
Our priorities are:
- Labour Mobility and Migration: preventing brain drain, stimulating brain circulation
- Demographic Challenges and Lifelong Learning: addressing ageing population challenges, senior policy and silver economy
- Knowledge Supply: using labour market forecasting, research and technological advances to tackle current challenges to the labour market
- Youth Employment: maximising the opportunities of young people in the region by integrating education and labour markets’ needs
- Inclusive Labour Market
BSLF past projects
The final conference of the Baltic Sea Labour Network was opened by Dr. Werner Hoyer, State Minister, Federal Foreign Office, Germany in a video message. It was organised on 15-16 November 2011 in Hamburg where 240 participants agreed on a conference resolution and 13 central recommendations for developing strong labour markets in the Baltic Sea Region. The base for the successful development of the project is the common understanding that social dialogue and tripartite structures are crucial elements of sustainable economic growthand social development. The social partners have a shared interest in well-functioning and fair labour markets as a backbone of a strong and competitive region.
- facilitate the transition from the BSLN to the Baltic Sea Labour Forum and build up the BSLF-secretariat at the premises of the CBSS – Secretariat in Stockholm, for an initial period
- the second round table of the Baltic Sea Labour Forum was organised in autumn 2012
- develop cooperative structures for the employers’ associations in the Baltic Sea Region.
The Flagship Initiative idea has been developed within the Baltic Sea Labour Forum (BSLF) and is therefore directly linked to it. The BSLF consist 28 organisations- representing trade unions and employers associations as well as the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Secretariat (BSPC) and the Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat (CBSS). It was established in November 2011 and wants to promote well-functioning labour markets in the BSR in order to contribute to the attractiveness of the region for living and working and to support the economic growth in the BSR.
The BSLF “working group on cross border mobility” developed an “Action plan on cross border mobility in the BSR” which highlighted the need for cooperation: The mobility of labour plays an important role in increasing prosperity and welfare and brings considerable added value for workers, companies and society, through better matching of skills supply and demand, better functioning of the single market and more prosperity. At the same time labour mobility causes challenges, too, which need to be examined further.
Taking up the recommendations of the action plan, the seed money project is focusing on three working areas which are all relevant for the flagship.
1. Cross boarder labour market information for employees and companies:
Due to the different national systems in the BSR, employees and companies are challenged by legal distinctions especially referring to national tax law, immigration law, social security, labour law, the role of social partners, collective agreements. In many cases there is a lack of systematical information for employees and enterprises concerning the legal distinctions and the differences in governmental practice. At the same time there are very good examples how migrant workers and companies can be informed well like in the information service “hello norden”, the “Region Sønderjylland – Schleswig Regionskontor” and others. With this initiative, BSLF aims to convey a better provision of information, advice and support to migrant workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities. The provision of information for migrant workers and employers must be facilitated and easy to access and understand e.g. through one-stop-shops or welcome centers where workers and companies can get all the information they need concerning their rights and responsibilities.
2. Working conditions and the prevention of undeclared work:
Undeclared work (also known as “grey economy”, “shadow economy”) is a complex phenomenon resulting from an interaction of multiple causes and is a worrying practice for all: employers, workers and the states. It creates unfair competition for businesses in labour-intensive sectors. It places workers in insecure working conditions and undermines the financing of social protection and tax systems. Undeclared work can only effectively be combated if actors at all levels are strongly committed to it. Within this initiative, the social partners shall investigate the existence and extent of undeclared work, as well as the prerequisites for fair working and competitive conditions, in order to develop recommendations and action guidelines addressed to the national governments.
3. Vocational mobility, occupational orientation and school-business cooperation: Hamburg, Germany will take over the lead here, involving most probably Denmark and Latvia but also other BSR countries.
In the Baltic Sea Region the Nordic countries and Germany have had the advantage of receiving capable work force from abroad while Russia, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have lost it. That is partly negative for the latter countries, but it has positive aspects as well. Workers can return with new skills and while working abroad they often send money to their families, which stimulates the economy. Especially regions with a high (youth) unemployment rate or with a high demand of workforce can benefit from “cross border occupations” or exchange programs. Also cross border vocational trainings could support the positive effects of mobility. Within the Flagship initiative, these trainings could be offered to young people from Denmark and Germany during the construction of the Fehmarnbelt link. Within the BSLF mobility Flagship project, an exchange about national practices in occupational orientation should be initiated (in order to make educational opportunities in the BSR more transparent for teachers etc.) and the national practices of occupational orientation should be further developed.
The seed money project partners are directly or indirectly involved in the BSLF and responsible for the three different work packages:
- BWH e.V. – Education and Training Service for Hamburg Businesses (Lead partner; Vocational mobility, occupational orientation and school-business cooperation)
- Cooperation Centre Hamburg – Kooperationsstelle Hamburg IFE GmbH (Flagship consortium/partnership)
- Region Sønderjylland – Schleswig Regionskontor & Infocenter (Cross boarder labour market information for employees and companies)
- TJS Study Centre – The Educational Federation for Unions for Professional Employees in Finland (Undeclared work)