Informing and consulting the employees through the social partners, in the process of European enlargement and integration and acting in strengthening the social dialogue in order to safely deal with the consequences of Covid 19

From 16 to 18 June 2022 took place in Struga, North Macedonia, a seminar about “Informing and consulting the employees through the social partners, in the process of European enlargement and integration and acting in strengthening the social dialogue in order to safely deal with the consequences of Covid 19”, organized by YHACM - UNASM - UIATUM (Union of Independent Autonomous Trade Unions of Macedonia), in cooperation with EZA and funded by the European Union. The seminar was attended by 50 representatives of workers’ organisations, online and in presence, and was part of the EZA special project for workers' organisations in the Western Balkans.

Objective of the project:

The goal of the project was to raise the level of quality social dialogue with the participation of all relevant structures such as trade unions, employers, government and employees through the exchange of experiences from the countries of the Western Balkans and to take the models and experiences from the EU countries, with a special aspect of the method and mechanisms for dealing with the consequences of the Pandemic Covid 19.

Basic objectives:

- Quality and meaningful social dialogue

- Active social partnership and action to deal with the consequences of the pandemic

- Welfare of democracy and civil society

- protection of the right to dismissal from work;

- protection against workplace abuse as well as protection during employment

- social and health protection;

- freedom of trade union action and expression

This seminar wanted to contribute to UNASM and the other participants devoting themselves to determining the advantages and disadvantages of the legal regulation and whether it affects the quality of work (the satisfaction and dignity of the worker and the productivity of the company).

Improving the opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equality, security and human dignity. The main goal is to promote workplace rights, encourage opportunities for decent employment, decent work, improve social protection, harmonize professional and family life, all with the aim of strengthening social dialogue.

The experiences and practices of other countries will encourage us to move forward. All countries have the same goal, but each country should follow its own path in the hope of avoiding a dead end, into which some countries have entered.

Opening of the seminar and presenting the project, the UNASM chairman Slobodan Antovski, explained the role of trade unions in informing and advising workers as key factors for better social dialogue. He gave a historical overview about the evolution of social dialogue in his country in particular about the legal provisions and implementation regarding the obligation of notification of the workers and consultation with the union in cases of mass dismissals.

The seminar discussed and exchanged experiences from all countries and had great interactivity from all participants from where the following emerged:


1. The general conclusion is that the situation in all Western Balkan countries is the same or similar

2. To pay attention to joint action and greater solidarity between trade unions and other social partners.

3. Passing the Law on consultation and information, and monitoring its implementation

4. Tools for consulting and informing are needed

5. Departmentalization in employment and trade union organization

6. Through social dialogue to regulate the ratio between employees in the public and private sector

7. To increase the inspection supervision of the inspectorate in order to determine how appropriate the implementation of consultation and information is

8. The representatives of consulting, informing and counseling should be recognized authorities, people who enjoy the trust of all employees in the company, most often they are union representatives if the employer has formed a union. The employer must provide them with time and opportunity for the unhindered performance of the function, access to each employee, to each workplace and to all documents related to health and safety.

9. Strengthening the moral and spiritual values of workers

10. The conclusion of all those present from the region is that despite the existence of a harmonized legal regulation, there is no implementation of it, and the politicization of the trade unions makes it impossible for the trade unions to have the influence of those who want to implement it and work for the protection of workers.

11. Associating and taking over the specific actions of trade unions without political and party influence

12. To sensitize the decision makers about the development but also to create healthy trade union organizations

13. Unions must reach out to new members, activate and mobilize them to protect workers' interests

14. The condition of the workers and the problems they face is the same but with different intensity, and the role of the trade unions is weak due to non-respect of the principles of solidarity, equality due to party influence from any government

15. At the national level, a wide information campaign to familiarize the workers with their rights, a possible part of them have unions and are actually not familiar with their rights and neither seek them nor use their rights.