Trade unionists from Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine have adopted a Joint Statement



Trade unionists from Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine adopted on 24 of September a Joint Statement on the implementation of the social dimension of the Association Agreement with the European Union in all three countries. The document was signed at the Conference “Promoting social dialogue and labor rights through the efficient implementation of the agendas of the association of three Eastern Partnership states: Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine”, by the Georgian Trade Union Confederation leadership, the National Trade Union Confederation of Moldova, the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine and the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine.

The Association Agreements concluded between the EU and the mentioned states provide a series of obligations in the sphere of employment, labor relations, social policy and the transposition into national legislation of a number of directives. This involves aligning legislation, standards and social policies in line with international labor and European Union standards and directives.

According to the Joint Statement, notwithstanding of some progress in various fields, the trade unions in the three countries emphasize a slowdown in the approximation of the EU legislation of employment, labor relations and social protection field. “We consider it necessary to state that it is unacceptable to promote trade or investment by weakening the existing level of protection of labor rights in our countries and ignoring the requirements of national and international labor laws, including the norms prescribed by the European Union directives.”, is presented in the document.

Trade unionists declare that decent work, labor rights, social protection of the population are integral elements of sustainable development and inclusive economic growth. In the process of implementing the Association Agreements with the EU, cooperation with trade unions and the development of social dialogue at national level are of great importance. The trade unionists call on the authorities of the three countries to pay more attention to the social dimension of the Association Agreements with the EU, for which it is necessary to create working groups with the participation of social partners, that will focus on issues labor and social protection.

In all three countries, social dialogue suffers from a chronic lack of systemic approach and institutional formats do not allow realizing the potential of social dialogue, which is one of the most important elements of the European social model, and therefore, require immediate improvement.

Another issue reported at Tbilisi concerns the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, which remain without the proper attention of governments. In this respect, it is mentioned that the legislation restrictions
regarding the right to strike are unacceptable, are contrary to the guarantees established by ILO standards. At the same time, there are no mediation mechanisms, and the limited potential of the Labor Inspectorate does not allow workers to protect their rights and to accomplish their interests.

The signatories of the document were particularly concerned about the situation regarding the activity of the Labor Inspection from Moldova and Ukraine and pleaded for the urgent restoration of the full mandate of the respective structures.

In this context, trade unionists draw the authority’s attention to the application of gender equality, especially in the field of labor remuneration, as well as the reduction of gender segregation in employment. It was also mentioned that informal employment and disturbance of surveillance mechanisms lead to an increase of accidents, including deaths, the investigation of which does not eradicate the causes. Preventive measures need to be strengthened in accordance with the EU Framework Directive on occupational safety and health at work.

On a different note, the trade unionists appreciated the work experience of the civil society platforms. However, in order to support them, it is necessary to provide consultative and financial support.

Participants at the conference mentioned the lack of a holistic approach for the promotion of decent work, properly motivated, productive and socially protected, which causes a high share of poverty among the population, a significant number of informal jobs and a large wave of labor force migration. Also, rising unemployment is due to the discrepancies in the labor market and the vocational training system, areas that require greater involvement from the authorities.

The Parties consider that the Association Agreements in the field of employment, social policies and equal opportunities are incomplete and insufficient, it reduces the chance of creating economic prosperity and is a threat to social peace and sustainable development. In the year of the ILO Centenary, they advocate the ratification of the priority Conventions and other ILO Conventions, as well as the full ratification of the European Social Charter.

The Joint Statement of the trade unionists from Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine was sent to the legislative and executive bodies of the European Union, and to those of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, as well as to several European structures.

The conference was held on September 23-24, in Tbilisi, Georgia, and was organized by the International Labor Organization, in collaboration with the Georgian Trade Union Confederation, in the context of the DANIDA project, whose cooperation priorities for the period 2017-2021 provide for the promotion of human rights and democracy.



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