The social partners analyzed the social-economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic in an online meeting



On the eve of the World Day for Decent Work (WDDW), marked annually on October 7, the National Trade Union Confederation of Moldova (CNSM) organized on Monday, October 5, in an online format, a round table entitled “A New Social Contract for recovery and resilience”, which in 2020 year is also the theme of WDDW announced by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). The event was attended by representatives of the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Pan-European Regional Council of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC / PERC), the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection (MHLSP), the National Confederation of Employers of Moldova (CNPM) and national-branch trade union centers.

Participants discussed the role of the social partners in promoting decent work in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, the challenges and prospects of the labor market in the light of the decent work Agenda, the recommendations and vision of international organizations on the new Social contract, the actions of the social partners aimed at overcoming the pandemic crisis, and the support of employees.

Sergiu Sainciuc, vice-president of the CNSM, mentioned that the pandemic affected the entire society, which led to growing inequalities, increasing insecurity in the workplace, increasing the number of people in need of state support. “Decent work must be at the heart of government action.

The challenges of the social partners in the Republic of Moldova are to create decent new jobs, to increase social protection measures, to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, and to maintain and develop social dialog. We face unprecedented challenges and combining the efforts of the social partners is crucial to overcome this complex crisis”, said Sainciuc.

According to the CNSM representative, the data of the National Bureau of Statistics show that in the first semester of 2020 the GDP decreased by 7.2% compared to the same period last year. The number of workers was drastically reduced by over 8%. Over 24% of the total employed population stated that their situation was affected due to the pandemic. Over 160,000 employees have temporarily stopped working. The number of unemployed has doubled since last year.

In order to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, CNSM developed and distributed a set of recommendations for regulating the work of employees. Concrete recommendations were developed for health and education employees. Under the proposal of the trade unions, the law stipulating the granting of the compensation to the survivors of all the employees in the medical system who died in the fight against Covid-19 was approved. The trade unions have proposed that Covid-19 infection at work be qualified as an occupational disease.

Also, the trade unions together with the employers, exposed themselves regarding the payments made by the economic agents in order to test the employees for COVID-19. The trade unions also opposed the introduction of amendments to legislation aimed at regulating the posting of employees, regulation in the labor legislation of the form of employment through a temporary work agent, non-admission of the adoption by the Parliament of the draft law on the regime of foreigners in the Republic of Moldova.

In his turn, Alexandru Ghețu, head of department in the field of labor policies and social partnership within MHLSP, made a presentation about the activity of the ministry and the collaboration with the social partners. He mentioned that the role of the social partners in promoting decent work is very high. “Together with the social partners we have developed recommendations for employers, meant to contribute to the development of the work process so as to minimize the risks of infection. The necessary framework for the granting of unemployment benefits requested by a large number of people has been developed. Together with the social partners, the legal framework for working at home and working at a distance has been developed. Also, specific recommendations were issued in the field of safety and health at work “, said Ghețu.

In the same vein, Vladislav Caminschi, executive director of the CNPM, made it clear that during the pandemic period the process of social dialog was not stopped and continued through various online meetings to quickly find solutions to current problems. Discussions with the ILO on the adoption of a new Memorandum on decent work in the Republic of Moldova are also continuing. The employer’s representative said that some positive changes have been observed lately in the attitude of employers toward employees, which is linked to the labor force deficit which is becoming more and more acute and to the need to keep employees in the country.

ILO national coordinator, Ala Lipciu, said the decent work agenda is deeply affected by the pandemic crisis. The costs of the pandemic are enormous, and its effects will be felt many years from now. A number of sectors are facing catastrophic effects, and two thirds of employees have become extremely vulnerable. The crisis affects the stability of the employment contract, contributes to increasing inequality among women, young people are increasingly affected, many employees are stationary or on unpaid leave.

The ILO representative mentioned that in these extremely difficult conditions, state support is essential. Nevertheless, the ILO also comes up with a series of recommendations, four policy pillars to help overcome the crisis, reduce poverty and increase the economy: stimulating the economy and employment; helping businesses to preserve jobs and safeguard employees’ incomes; protection of workers at work and implementation of effective policies in the field of safety and health at work; social dialog and strengthening the capacities of employers’ organization and employees.

Anton Leppik, Executive Secretary of ITUC/PERC, attended the event and he stated that ITUC is following with concern what is happening in the countries of the region, including Moldova. Recent research by ITUC shows that there is a global backsliding in social dialog, a crisis in international institutions that needs to be reformed, and there are increasing signs that employees’ rights are being affected. Leppik said a review of the social contract is needed to overcome this unprecedented crisis.

“Our research shows that poverty is increasing, decreasing or stagnating people’s incomes, the minimum wage is insufficient to live a decent life, people say they are experiencing a sense of loss of control over their own lives and do not have the security of tomorrow, the impact of corporations on political decision-makers is increasing, we see the loss of people’s confidence in the institutions that should protect them. The benefits of the global economy have increased inequalities. We all see in various countries of the world a growing number of working movements that are mobilizing to defend their rights. We call on all social partners to attract more attention to current challenges. This social contract, which we are talking about, must say that the sustainable development of humanity must simultaneously take into account three key factors: Economic interest; employees’ rights; environmental protection. We can only achieve this goal if we show solidarity”, Leppik said.

During the activity, the trade union leaders who represent the interests of employees in education, health, public administration, gas, communicated about the actions taken to support employees, trade union members. By the end of this week, the proposals discussed by the participants will be included in an Appeal to be subsequently submitted to the authorities.

The World Day for Decent Work is marked annually, being set up at the initiative of the International Trade Union Confederation. On this day, trade unions around the world are calling for decent and fair remuneration for work, quality jobs, safe social protection, respect for employees’ rights and freedoms.

Department of mass-media and international relations of CNSM