Social partners call for concerted action on Global Jobs Pact

In June 2009, trade union confederations and employer organisations at national level called on the government to join efforts for implementing the ‘Global Jobs Pact’, in order to counteract the effects of the global economic crisis. Most of the trade unions and employers hold the common view that openness to social dialogue with the aim of finding the best ways to maintain and create jobs would enable Romania to contribute to the success of the pact.

Need for common effort in wake of crisis

After the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted the Global Jobs Pact at the end of June 2009, four of the five national trade union confederations and 10 of the 12 employer organisations at national level in Romania issued a collective call to the government (Guvernul României) to join the social partners in a common effort to sustain the pact in Romania.

The preamble to the call highlights the ‘commitment of all social stakeholders, governments, and trade union and employer organisations in the creation of the Global Jobs Pact, which is viewed by the ILO as the only realistic solution against the world economic and financial crisis’.

Aims of proposed efforts

In the opinion of the trade unions and employer organisations, the response to the crisis should be channelled towards:

  • stimulating real demand and maintaining the current wage levels;
  • supporting jobseekers through:
    • active, efficient and well-targeted policies in the labour market
    • improving the competence and supplementing the resources of the public employment agencies
    • organising vocational training programmes to equip trainees with the skills required in the labour market;
  • increasing the funding for training, refresher courses and vocational readjustment courses, particularly for vulnerable groups;
  • supporting companies to limit and avert job losses, and to create new ones, through various forms of cooperation including social dialogue;
  • promoting legislation to support the sustainable development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), through various means – such as access to loans, as well as investment in public works and in infrastructural research and development, including the ‘green economy’.

In addition, the social partners agree that the Global Jobs Pact should include measures to strengthen the country’s social security schemes, and to encourage respect for social dialogue as well as international labour law and standards.

The social partners concede that Romania is increasingly being affected by the consequences of the global economic recession. Moreover, since an international crisis requires global measures, they recognise the role of the ILO and the importance of cooperating with this organisation for the successful establishment and implementation of the Global Jobs Pact.

Commentary

The Global Jobs Pact seems to have renewed interest in social dialogue, creating the opportunity for Romania to set a good example in this respect. At the ILO conference, Romania was represented by a tripartite delegation, which included the country’s Minister of Labour, Family and Social Protection, Marian Sârbu, among its members.

Following the social partners’ plea to the Romanian government, the National Trade Union Confederation Cartel Alfa (Confederaţia Naţională Sindicală Cartel Alfa, Cartel Alfa) called a press conference, also inviting the labour minister to take part. After Minister Sârbu pledged his commitment to engage more intensely in social dialogue for immediate action in various matters, including the pact, Cartel Alfa decided to suspend the rally scheduled for the first half of July (RO0906029I). The trade union confederation has warned that it will resume its protest action in August if no progress is made by then.

Luminita Chivu, Institute of National Economy, Romanian Academy

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