Unions Help Refugees (UHR), an initiative set up by UNI Global Union to help workers who have fled the war in Ukraine, has been training consultants and case workers for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Poland on trade union rights and labour law.
Around 60 people took part in the training programme, which was conducted in three major cities across Poland: Warsaw, Rzeszów, and Poznań. The training session in Warsaw brought together consultants, representatives of Ukraiński Dom (Ukrainian House), and Ukraine’s Consulate staff.
The training focused on the practical uses of Polish labour law, and how best to support workers in their fight for good working conditions. There was significant emphasis on engaging with unions as an effective solution for addressing labour-related problems, especially in Poland where a labour court can easily take two to three years until the first sitting.
Rafal Rafal Tomasiak, Director of UNI’s Central European organizing centre, said:
“The training partnership with UNHCR is an important step for UHR, as it shows that our expertise in assisting Ukrainian refugees in labour disputes is now recognized by an agency of the United Nations, the biggest and most knowledgeable refugee organization in the world. The training provided to UNHCR consultants will assist in streamlining their assistance to refugees but also has expanded their perspective on trade unions as a key mechanism for rapid assistance and improving workers’ lives.”
As a part of the agreement on trainings for UNHCR and leveraging its expertise, UHR is also developing a comprehensive manual based on the presentation for consultants to use in their work. This manual will serve as a practical guide, incorporating procedural guidelines and consolidating obtained knowledge.