From 9 to 11 September 2021 took place in Struga, North Macedonia a seminar about “Problems and promotion of dignified work in the Republic North Macedonia and experiences from the countries in the region and EU countries“. The seminar was organized by YHACM - UNASM - UIATUM (Union of Independent Autonomous Trade Unions of Macedonia), with the support of EZA and of the European Union. It was part of the EZA special project for workers' organisations in the Western Balkans. 53 Representatives from workers’ organisations of Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and guests from Kosovo and Turkey participated in the seminar.
Aim of the project
The aim of the seminar is to raise awareness for decent jobs of the members of the trade unions from the region through the exchange of experiences and practices from countries of the region and EU countries.
The long-term goals of the project are to raise awareness regarding the balance of the professional and family relations and responsibilities of employees, without discrimination on any grounds, as the most important element for dignified work and exchange of experiences and practices from other countries in the region and EU countries.
What was the most important aspect of the seminar?
On the eve of the World Day of Dignified Work on October 7, we considered it very important to discuss this topic, especially against the background of the pandemic of Covid 19 and its impact on dignified work and a dignified life of workers. According to non-governmental organizations, most of the households in the country live on less than 500 euros per month. That is proof that they can not even meet their basic necessities. Additionally, statistics revealed that the last paid average net salary in the country is 21,327 denars. A large number of employees lost their jobs, especially in the textile, leather and shoe industries, the tourism activity in the service industries lost their jobs or the number was reduced. According to the information, for a long time the number of workers who worked and did not receive a salary is identical, and they are 15% of the total employed population in the country.
The experiences and practices of other countries will contribute to move forward.
Which topic are discussed?
Slobodan Antovski – President of UNASM opened the seminar and presented the project „Problems and promotion of dignified work in the Republic North Macedonia and experiences from the countries in the region and EU countries’’.
On the topic „Problems and promotions of dignified work in the Republic North Macedonia, experiences from the countries from the region and EU countries, from a professional point of view, a review was given by an expert in the field of management and leadership Professor Dr. Fance Joshevska
People cannot solve their problems if they do not change the existing way of thinking - in fact the way of thinking creates such problems.
Example from practice:
In one organization employees are members of three unions at the same time.
This discussion developed a huge interactivity because in RNM this is missing and in other countries in the region too.
Legislation, policies and the real situation regarding the dignified work in RNM
Lence Kocevska, Head of Legal Department of of the State Labor Inspectorate noted that the inspectorate is working to raise the level of awareness of employees to work on complaints. The State Labor Inspectorate is also working on a project to equip the inspectors with laptops and an application for field work due to the increased workload caused by the pandemic so the inspectors can be more efficient and give adequate quality results. In the last two years, the number of inspections for violation of employment rights, harassment at work, health and protection at work has increased significantly.
A poster for protection from Covid 19 has been prepared to raise the awareness of employees in all sectors in order to preserve, their own and the health of others.
Mr Goran Risteski, President of the Independent Trade Union of State Administration, spoke on the topic of ‘’Perception of trade unions on how much respectful work is really respected and what unions should do to promote it in a pandemic”. He stressed the need for a national program for dignified work prepared in the medium term. We should be guided by the ILO conventions both in Macedonia and in the other countries of the Western Balkans in accordance with the priorities and goals. In RNM there is no such agreement between trade unions, employers and the government.
Such tripartite programs for dignified work through various workshops may contribute to create new jobs, expand social protection, guaranteed labor rights and promote social dialogue as one of the key components of economic and social policy. At the same time, such a program would support national development priorities in line with the sustainable development goals defined by the ILO Mission for integration and support of sustainable development policies and contribution to social inclusion.
On the seminar all participants discussed and exchanged experiences from all countries, there was great interactivity from all participants where the following conclusions emerged.
1. Adopt a Law on Social Dialogue that will promote it and improve the work of workers
2 Pay attention to joint action and greater solidarity between both the unions and the other social partners
3. Pay attention to young people leaving their own countries and the motto for young people Together, young people are stronger and can do much more!
4. Creating new and quality jobs
5. Departmentalization in employment and trade union organizations
6. Regulate the ratio between public and private sector employees through social dialogue
7. Increase the inspection of the inspectorate in order to determine how appropriate is the implementation of dignified work
8. Strengthening the moral and spiritual values of workers
9. The conclusion of all those present from the region is that despite the existence of harmonized legislation, there is no implementation of the same and the politicization of some trade unions prevents the influence of other trade unions that want to realize the whole and work to protect workers.
10. Join and take concrete actions of the unions from the region without political and party influence
11. Convince decision makers of the benefits but also to create healthy trade unions
12. Trade unions must reach out to new members, activate them and mobilize them to effectively protect workers' interests
13. The situation of the workers and the problems they face are the same but with different intensities, and the role of the unions is weak due to non-compliance with the principles of solidarity, inequality due to party influence from any government.
This seminar will contribute to UNASM and the other participants, in accordance with the strategic goals for opening new and quality jobs, to improve the labor market conditions for better and more flexible jobs, to encourage young people to stay in their own countries and give their capacity here. It will also contribute to commit to improve the opportunities for women and men to get decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equality, security and human dignity. The main goal is to promote the rights in the workplace, to encourage opportunities for decent employment, to improve social protection. It gave them an integrative perspective, including analysis of aspects related to occupational frustration, safety and health, health promotion, human resource management, and organizational development. The main objective for the future will be to promote the working rights, decent employment, improved social protection, work-life balance in order to strengthen social dialogue.