Promoting Core labour standards and Social Dialogue by effective implementation of the EU Association Agendas in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine

Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine are active participants of the EU’s Eastern Partnership programme and have Association Agreements with the EU.

They also benefit from the agreement on Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the EU. These agreements, among others, call for proper labour Governance through social dialogue and compliance with ILO’s international labour standards. Through a joint statement, adopted during the seminar organized with  assistance of the ILO DANIDA TCP and Workers Activities Bureau (ACTRAV) and held 23-24 September in Tbilisi, Georgia, trade union leaders of the three countries warn that, despite certain progress, so far, not enough attention is given to social dialogue and labour rights.

The statement signed by Irakli Petriashvili, President of the Georgian Trade Union Confederation (GTUC ), Oleg Budza, President of the National Confederation of Trade Unions of Moldova (CNSM ), Grygorii Osovyi, President of the Federation of the Trade Unions of Ukraine (FPU ) and Petro Tulei, Vice-President of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU ) highlights that “In all three countries, social dialogue suffers from a chronic lack of systemic and systematic approach. The legislative frameworks and institutional formats do not allow realizing the potential of social dialogue, which is one of the most important elements of the European social model, and therefore, requires immediate improvement”.

The joint statement sent a message to the Governments of the three countries and the EU, requesting a stronger focus on reforms aimed at bringing labour legislations and labour market institutions into compliance with EU Directives and ILO standards as envisaged by the association process in their respective countries.

Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova share similar challenges in ensuring meaningful social dialogue at national and regional levels. Through the Eastern Partnership with the EU, the countries seek to strengthening institutions and good governance, including in the world of work. In September 2019, with the support from the ILO’s DANIDA funded projects “Inclusive Labour Markets for Job Creation” in Ukraine  and Georgia , ILO/ACTRAV organized a seminar in Georgia for trade unions in the three countries. The seminar also marking 10th anniversary of the launch of the EU’s Eastern Partnership, focussed on enhancing trade union influence on and benefits from the EU’s Neighbourhood Policy.

In addition to developing the joint statement, seminar allowed for sharing of experiences between the three countries on social dialogue and workers’ rights. The trade unions of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine now have opened better communication channels to share experiences in monitoring the progress under the association agreements, raise concerns, initiate policy changes and show solidarity across borders.

Georgian government representatives from the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Affairs, head of the Labour Inspection Department, as well as the representatives of the Employers’ organizations (GEA and EU-Georgia Business Council), the Ukraine and Moldova embassies and the EU delegation in Georgia, have attended the seminar.

The leaders of the trade union centres of the three countries have agreed to make such meetings annual to assess the progress and identify common challenges to be followed by their joint actions.

Source- ILO