Today, December 15, 2023, the members of the General Council of the National Trade Union Confederation of Moldova (CNSM) convened in a meeting to examine several issues related to the work of the trade union movement. The main topic discussed by the trade unionists concerns the actions of the CNSM to ensure the social-economic and legal protection of trade union members and the approval of the Action Plan for 2024. The activity was attended by Corina Ajder, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Republic of Moldova.

The agenda of the meeting included issues regarding the rule of representation of CNSM member-organizations in the General Council of the Confederation, modification of the nominal composition of the CNSM General Council, the actions of CNSM to ensure social-economic and legal protection of trade union members (April – December 2023) and the approval of the Action Plan of CNSM for 2024, with a view to the realization of the CNSM Strategy for 2022-2027, regarding the implementation of the national trade union campaign “Grassroots Trade Union organization – the energy of the trade union movement”.

At the beginning of the meeting, Igor Zubcu, the President of CNSM, addressed a congratulatory message to all citizens of the Republic of Moldova in the context of the historic decision of the European Council of 14 December on the opening of negotiations on the accession of our country to the European Union. 

In his report, the President of CNSM, Igor Zubcu, stressed that the Confederation has advocated and continues to insist on setting the minimum wage at 50% of the average wage in the economy, in accordance with the revised European Social Charter and the EU Directive on adequate minimum wages in the European Union. Following repeated insistence of  trade unionists, on 6 December this year the Moldovan government decided that as of 1 January 2024, the minimum wage in the country will be 5000 lei, which is a 25% increase compared to the amount set previously.

At the same time, at the insistence of the trade unions, starting from 1 October 2023, the salaries of employees in public medical institutions under the compulsory health insurance system were increased by 15. per cent. From 1 January 2024, the reference value used to calculate the salaries of employees in the education sector will be increased from 2000 lei to 2300 lei, an increase of 15 per cent.

The trade union leader noted that in order to mitigate the impact of price increases in the previous and current year, the CNSM asked the Prime Minister to return to progressive taxation of wages, increase the income tax exemptions and develop measures to support employers and employees in the real sector.

The CNSM came up with a number of proposals to the draft law on the funds of compulsory health insurance for 2024 and the draft law on the state social insurance budget for 2024.

At the proposal of the trade unions, from 1 January 2024, the monthly allowance for raising a child up to the age of 3 will be calculated from the insured income of one of the spouses, which will result in a higher amount of the allowance, which will increase the social protection of families with children.

On 31 July this year, the Parliament adopted Law No 234/2023 (in force from 11 September 2023), which exempts trade unions from paying the state registration fee – an extremely important achievement for the trade union movement in Moldova.

In his report, the President of CNSM informed the members of the General Council of CNSM about a number of achievements of the Confederation in 2023 in terms of developing social partnership, strengthening the activity of CNSM at national level, developing cooperation with international organisations such as ILO, ITUC, ETUC, inclusion of young people in the trade union movement, promoting gender equality and combating violence in the world of work, trade union education and training, the participation of CNSM in processes aimed at integrating the Republic of Moldova into the European Union.

According to Igor Zubcu, the President of CNSM: “reviewing the activity of the CNSM during the period under review, we can conclude that a wide range of actions have been successfully carried out, which have led to ensuring the rights and interests of employees, increasing the degree of social and economic protection of employees, strengthening the organizational structure of trade unions. The actions, which for various reasons were not carried out, will be carried out in the coming period. The CNSM aims to continue to campaign for the promotion and protection of the rights and interests of employees-members of trade unions, ensuring a decent living for citizens, creating well-paid jobs that meet international standards in the field of occupational safety and health”.

The trade union leader thanked all those who contributed to the achievement of several important objectives set by the CNSM in 2023 and came up with a proposal to pay more attention in 2024 to the social-economic problems faced in by the agricultural branch at national level and to the employees, trade union members, in agriculture.

During the meeting, the members of the General Council of CNSM congratulated Igor Zubcu, the President of CNSM, for his important achievement, and namely his election as PERC President, held in Brussels (Belgium), at the General Assembly of the Pan-European Regional Council (PERC) of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

The implementation of the national trade union campaign “Grassroots Trade Union Organisations – the Energy of Trade Union Movement” was discussed at the General Council meeting on 15 December 2023. On this topic, Lilia Franț, the vice-president of CNSM reported on the activities carried out in the framework of the campaign at  national level, the training seminars held and the exchange of best practices of leaders of grassroots trade union organisations on enhancing the role and potential of primary trade union organisations, improving the legal framework on trade union rights, recruiting and motivating trade union members, drafting and distributing the “Guide for Grassroots Trade Union Leaders”, organising a campaign to promote rural women, launching the Grassroots  Trade Union Organisatios contest to be held between December 2023 and March 2024.

In their speeches, the members of the General Council of CNSM referred to the problems existing in the branches they represent – education, health, agriculture, communal services, and local public administration. The speakers referred to problems related to work remuneration, salary arrears accumulated for several months at the “Railways of Moldova” State Enterprise, problems related to gender equality and women’s rights in rural areas, promotion and support of young specialists, combating the informal economy.

For the year 2024, the members of the General Council approved an Action Plan containing a number of specific objectives. It provides for the following priorities: submitting proposals to amend legislation in the field of labour remuneration in both the budgetary and the real sectors of the economy; promoting an increase in exemptions for the calculation of income tax for individuals; submitting proposals to estimate and establish an indicator with reference to the assessment of minimum living needs; promoting the principles of decent work through social partnership mechanisms; promote the development of a mechanism to provide for collective bargaining coverage of around 80% per cent of employees; ensure representation of employees, trade union members, at all levels in the processes of developing occupational policies and making decisions on the functioning of the labour market; promote the development and adoption of a national strategy to combat the phenomenon of “undeclared work” and “envelope” wages.

The goals set by trade unionists for 2024 also include: expanding the types and volume of benefits and services provided under the social insurance system; harmonising social insurance legislation with international standards, increasing the amount of social insurance benefits and improving their indexation mechanism; promoting the improvement of the legal framework on compulsory health insurance; lowering the retirement age for old-age pensioners and the required contribution period for workers working in conditions of increased health risk; improving pension legislation with a view to reducing the contribution period required for early retirement for working under special working conditions and for both parents in whose families 5 or more children were born and educated up to the age of 8; promoting proposals for an annual increase in state budget funding for the health system; promoting improvements in the regulatory framework for occupational safety and health and bringing legislation in line with international standards; strengthening the organisation of the trade union institution, etc. a.

The General Council of the CNSM is the governing body between Congresses and operates on the basis of its own Regulations. The Council determines trade union policies for the implementation of the Strategy and Action Programme established by the Congress.