«TRANSNATIONALE BROSCHÜRE und Die Prozesse der Unterrichtung, Beratung aktiver Beteiligung der Arbeitnehmer im Agrarsektor – eine Perspektive zu ...»
As for the state’s role, the judgment is stricter, which is no surprise, bearing in mind the “national context” presented above – the right to information and consultation is considered a basic right at the national and European levels. Nevertheless, the majority of the interviewees emphasize that the government institutions do not show a genuine interest in this topic. Probably, this explains the answers. Will, however, the situation improve in the foreseeable future?
3.6. republic of MAceDoniA А. National context – the reforms should be accelerated In Macedonia labor relations are regulated on the basis of the Constitution, the relevant Conventions of the International Labor Organization and the relevant labor legislation. Article 20, paragraph 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia says: “All citizens shall be free to get associated, to implement and protect their political, economic, social and cultural rights and their beliefs”. The latest amendments to the legislation on employment relations resulted in discontent among many citizens, who claim that these changes are not in line with the EU legislation and the overall labor arrangements within the EU.
Many amendments were introduced in 2009, in particular in relation to mass redundancies:
EU ProjEct VS/2012/003/0305 Informed and experienced for sustainable agriculture Ͻ Introducing a qualitative definition of the term “mass redundancies”;
Ͻ Deleting the provisions regarding the obligation to offer alternative solutions to mass redundancies;
Ͻ Minimizing the priority in terms of rehiring employees who have been laid off.
The criteria for the participation of social partners’ representatives in a bipartite and tripartite social dialogue have at last been applied. The trade union started concluding collective bargaining agreements in the public sector. However, the bipartite and tripartite dialogue is still fragile, and the participation of social partners’ representatives in policy-making is still far from being satisfactory.
According to the two representative trade unions involved – the Federation of Trade Unions of Macedonia (CCM) and the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Macedonia (KSS), the Economic and Social Council established at the national level in 2010 is still in a process of developing. Economic and social councils were set up at the local level with the participation of trade union representatives. While the government took measures in relation to restricting fixed-term employment contracts in the public sector, which is unlawful, there are still a substantial number of workers who are temporarily employed. We should highlight an achievement – at the initiative of the social partners a European Works Council Act was passed. This law allows information and consultation, as well as the participation of employees in the European Works Councils in relation to European matters and for the purpose of enhancing the social dialogue. In addition, after Macedonia became an independent state the first law regulating the minimum wagewas passed. Furthermore, amendments were made to the Remuneration Act whereby salaries were increased by 5% as from December 2012.
B. Agricultural sector In Republic of Macedonia there are 35 enterprises in the agricultural sector employing more than 50 workers, 14 of whom are members of the AGROSINDIKAT.
The sector collective bargaining agreement (agriculture and food industry) lays down the necessary conditions for communication between the employer and the trade union
within the framework of consultation and information (Art. 112):
“Employers shall be obliged to regularly and timely inform workers and employees about the economic situation and the development of the staff as a result of the economic
and social standing, in particular about:
Ͻ Annual and multiannual development plans;
Ͻ Organizational changes;
Ͻ Decisions regulating rights that ensue from workers’and employees’ employment ;
Ͻ Annual performance results;
Ͻ Other economic aspects;
Ͻ Other matters of mutual interest.” The notification is done in writing or, sometimes, verbally, by means of an internal newsletter, a meeting, etc., irrespective of the existence of a trade union organization. This procedure is within the powers of employees’ representatives at the level of chairpersons of trade union organizations, as the selection of employees’ representatives is not regulated in a law. Trade union organizations are recognized as privileged representatives in the social dialogue in relation to any employment relations matters.
Information and consultation issues are addressed in a sector perspective on a bilateral basis. The line of activity is a priority one for AGROSINDIKAT – the latter should be informed on any economic and social issues relevant to the enterprise development.
In spite of the deficiencies in the information and conEU ProjEct VS/2012/003/0305 Informed and experienced for sustainable agriculture sultation system in the country, the interviewees say that it is efficient to the extent to which workers and employees are informed on the matters indicated in Article 112 (quoted above).
However, the same interviewees share the view that the state should take the necessary measures in order to ensure the full transposition of Directive 2002/14/EC, including the mandatory agreement between the employer and employees regarding the content of information and the ways for the provision thereof to employees’ representatives. Hence, similar to the other countries, the responses in the questionnaire bring to the forefront the need to reconsider the thresholds regarding the number of staff required for the establishment of an information and consultation system.
SUMMARY – RECOMMENDATIONS
1. summary The contemporary trends at the European level show that in these turbulent times the social dialogue is the tool which facilitates the process ofovercoming the crisis whose persisting nature is due to numerous structural and development reasons. While it has often been subject to criticism and a skeptical perception, the social dialogue, according to its definition in the acquiscommunautaire, is a prerequisite for the success of the European Employment Strategy 2020.
The European employment strategy provides the framework (“an open coordination method), which allows the EU member states to identify challenges and define objectives, to share information and analyses, and to coordinate their employment policies. It is integrated in the new Europe 2020 Strategy for Employment and Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, which became the successor to the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Employment in 2010.
The Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusions DG of the European Commission has been cooperating with the member states, the social partners, the organization of the civil society and other bodies in the area of meeting globalization challenges, combating population ageing, and in support of society
development. The DG has focused on the following:
Ͻ More jobs and of a better quality;
Ͻ Free movement of workers and alignment of the social insurance regimes;
Ͻ Improvement of working conditions by introducing common minimum norms for health and safety at work;
implementation and development of the social dialogue at the European level; modernization of trade union relations and support for the mobility of European workers;
Ͻ Social inclusion.
Therefore, the topic of this report is at the center of attention of the Europe 2020 Strategy. In this context, regardless of
its specific application at the national level, the information and consultation procedure is a tool whereby each party should put in place programs and processes for enhancing the dynamics of employment and the conditions for the conclusion of employment contracts. The restructuring processes taking place on a bigger scale in large enterprise should be conducted in a fully transparent environment and on the basis of preliminary
forecasts. It is worth mentioning in this context a recent study2:
The European value added of the EU measure related to information and consultation of workers, anticipation and management of restructuring, published by the European Parliament in four languages – English (the original version), German, Spanish and French. This study emphasizes, inter alia, that “timely consultation and training can have a positive impact even if the practice itself is not so efficient at the national level as it is on the enterprise level”.
This publication has been producedin spite of the existence of a variety of mechanisms for applying the I and C procedure at both the national and the enterprise levels, which sometimes may be a challenge for workers’ and employees’ involvement in the procedure. This variety of mechanisms resulting from the national legislations and the ensuing different representation forms, the various tools available to the employees’ representatives for the delivery of their tasks are an impediment to promoting the efficiency of this mechanism in the agricultural sector (numerous small enterprises). We can
also list some other obstacles:
Ͻ The size of agricultural farms – as indicated above, the sector consists mainly of small agricultural farms, which is a practical hurdle to the I and C procedure in view of the requirements at present. Nevertheless, there are interesting specific practices – for example, the genTheCercasReport of theEMPLCommitteeonEmploymentandSocialAffairs, approved on15 January 2013 (P7_TA-PROV(2013)0005) EU ProjEct VS/2012/003/0305 Informed and experienced for sustainable agriculture eral assemblies attended by several enterprises (Italy).
Ͻ Drawbacks at the national level (selection of representatives, political will, ignoring the employees’ representatives by the employer, reluctance of the employer, etc.) – most countries are faced with such drawbacks; in some cases, legislative solutions can be applied. However, it seems that these deficiencies mirror a more deeply rooted problem which should be addressed and the findings should be brought to the attention of the EP3 - one of the findings from the analysis is the obvious reluctance to “take part in the game”, to work in partnership.
Ͻ Different categories of representatives of workers and employees (trade unions, etc.) – this aspect is partially related to the above one, and is indicative of how deep and substantial the issues are.
Ͻ The difficulties in finding candidates – the number of trade union members has been on the decrease. This issue also relates to the previous one.
Ͻ The protection of employees’ representatives – there is unanimous recognition of the fact that the I and C right is a basic one, as regulated in the acquis communautaire. The usual threat of imposing sanctions on employees’ representatives (including dismissal) is a serious obstacle to the exercise of that right, especially in view of the fact that most trade union organizations are considered to be a privileged partner.
Ͻ The means ensured for employees’ representatives – while the lack of such means is not ubiquitous, it also challenges the exercise of the right. Hence, the entitlement of employees’ representatives to training should be developed.
Ͻ Trade union training – in most cases, it is organized on the field, but there are difficulties in terms of the resources needed and the autonomy of social partners.
3 ЕP = European Parliament
TRANSNATIONAL BROCHUREThe issues addressed also identify the reasons for the efficiency of the I and C procedure. According to most responses, where the law is observed the procedure is efficient. It should be highlighted that the implementation arrangements are a matter of national competence – e.g. the tools for informing workers and employees differ across the countries in the survey. Moreover, there are differences in terms of the content of this information. The survey points to a clash between two basic ideas in
terms of the efficiency of the information procedure:
1. The content is regulated by law – the content of the information due is defined by means of topics in the legislation;
2. The content is defined in an agreement to the collective bargaining agreement.
Regional culture seems to be a relevant factor determining the content of information. What matters is that the information process should take place early enough in order for the employees’ representatives to be able to take preemptive actions, instead of being reactive in their response – the latter is the most common source of social tension.
2. recommendations for consideration There are various scopes of actions within the framework of the Project concerning the two latest EU member states and
Republic of Macedonia. Two situations have been identified:
Ͻ In some countries the Directive has been transposed and is applied, but there are certain drawbacks ;
Ͻ In other countries the Directive is in the process of transposition.
The analysis enables us to also make an assessment in the European perspective. In this case the scope of action is defined by the European trade union and, respectively, employers’ federations. In this context, consideration should always be given to the specifics of the sector which consists mostly of very small enterprises.
The project implemented and the summarized presentaEU ProjEct VS/2012/003/0305 Informed and experienced for sustainable agriculture tions of the current situation made by the partner countries, as well as the analyses and the findings highlight the need for an in-depth study to be conducted by the European trade union and employer organizations, which will be the subject of follow-up activities and a future joint project.
А. EUROPEAN LEVEL