Social dialogue in Macedonia to be advanced with EU funds

Skopje, 22 October 2014 – Strengthening the tripartite social dialogue at national and local level, stimulating collective agreement and establishing sectoral infrastructure on collective agreements, introducing an operational mechanism to allow labour disputes to be settled in a friendly manner is the goal of the EU-funded project “Promoting Social Dialogue”, set to be implemented in the next two years in Macedonia.

“Social partnership is a key element in the development of democratic society and a vital stakeholder in order Macedonia’s economy to be developed. Social dialogue, as a key and necessary tool to create comprehensive relations between social partners, is a major challenge and goal and also a response to the complex and dynamic economic and social states. The government’s commitment, manifested through numerous strategic documents and activities, is particularly aimed at the country’s economic growth by attracting new investments and creating new respected jobs in an effort to improve the lives of citizens and to improve the society,” said Minister of Labour and Social Policy Dime Spasov addressing the launching of the project.

It is particularly important for investors and for officials of the private sector, he added, that there is a constructive dialogue and an atmosphere of mutual trust between the Macedonian government, trade unions and employers’ organizations.

The Minister noted that a huge breakthrough had been made so far in improving the social dialogue in Macedonia. “I’m confident that the project will additionally enhance the capacities of the Economic Social Council at national level, the capacities for collective agreement and set up an operational mechanism for peaceful settlement of labour disputes,” he stated.

Macedonia has been fostering a successful and intensive social dialogue based on the several conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and on domestic legislation in relation to labour relations, Minister Spasov said.

EU Ambassador Aivo Orav stated that social dialogue was of paramount importance for every country. The accountability of settling the issues it covers, he added, is not only borne by the government, but also by all social stakeholders.

“Social dialogue should serve as a bridge between people and institutions guiding lawmakers towards adequate decision-making,” Orav stated.

The issues settled by social dialogue are neither easy, nor simple, according to Antonio Graziosi, ILO Director for Central and Eastern Europe.

These issues are sensitive, he said, and the establishment of an effective process of social dialogue does not aim at finding a solution, instead it aims at creating an environment built with compromise from all interested parties.

Zivko Mitrevski, President of the Macedonian Federation of Trade Unions, said he was pleased with the progress made involving social dialogue in the country urging all involved social partners to use the project to additionally reinforce their capacities.

The project “Promoting Social Dialogue” is funded under IPA Operational Programme “Human Resources Development 2007–2013” with 1.3 million EUR.