Tripartite call for local and national employment pacts

In May 2004 in Hungary, two employers’ associations, two trade union organisations and the Minister of Employment and Labour signed a joint memorandum urging local labour market actors to develop joint initiatives to improve the employment situation. The document was also signed with a view to concluding a similar national pact.

On 18 May 2004, a joint memorandum on Territorial Employment Pacts (TEPs) - an EU-promoted scheme whereby all the actors in an area mobilise to fight unemployment - was signed by the Ministry of Employment and Labour (Foglalkoztatáspolitikai és Munkaügyi Minisztérium, FMM) and a number of social partner and other organisations. On the employers' side, the signatories were a national confederation, the National Association of Entrepreneurs and Employers (Vállalkozók és Munkáltatók Országos Szövetsége, VOSZ), and the sectoral Agrarian Employers’ Federation (Agrár Munkaadói Szövetség, AMSZ). Similarly, on the trade union side the document was signed by a confederation, the National Association of Hungarian Trade Unions (Magyar Szakszervezetek Országos Szövetsége, MSZOSZ), and a sectoral organisation, the Agricultural, Forestry and Water Management Workers’ Trade Union (Mezőgazdasági Erdészeti és Vízgazdálkodási Dolgozók Szakszervezete, MEDOSZ). A civil organisation, the European Information Association (Európai Tájékoztatási Egyesület, ETE), was the final signatory.

The joint memorandum seeks to instigate TEPs along the lines of the practice in the EU 15 dating back to a 1996 European Commission Communication entitled 'Action for employment in Europe: a confidence pact' (EU9702101F). As in the western European Member States, local social partners in Hungary are now expected to cooperate with local governments, vocational training institutions and civic organisations to develop feasible and sustainable alternative projects, partly from local resources, to increase the level and improve the structure of local employment. The confederations and sectoral organisations that signed the joint memorandum pledged to support local initiatives through their own national network down to the level of 'NUTS IV' districts. The memorandum is open, so other social and civil partners are expected to join.

The signatories also envisage cross-border cooperation. Furthermore, the joint memorandum was signed with a view to concluding a similar national pact. The possible content of such a national accord, however, has not yet been specified.

The president of MSZOSZ stressed that four TEPs and one interregional agreement have already been concluded in Hungary, and that the main goal of the new initiative is to disseminate such helpful initiatives. The president of VOSZ said that the main objective of the pacts is to enhance the competitiveness and employment capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises and micro-businesses: for example, it is in the employers’ interest to harmonise the curriculum of state-funded vocational schools with labour market requirements. The leaders of organisations representing agricultural employers and employees emphasised that this sector's special circumstances had led to enormous job losses in recent years and improving employability was thus of paramount importance.

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