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2012 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights - Moldova

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 6 June 2012
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2012 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights - Moldova, 6 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fd8893633.html [accessed 22 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Population: 3,600,000
Capital: Chisinau

ILO Core Conventions Ratified:

29 (Forced Labour (1930))
87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise (1948))
98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining (1949))
100 (Equal Remuneration for Work of Equal Value (1951))
105 (Abolition of Forced Labour (1957))
111 (Discrimination in Employment and Occupation (1958))
138 (Minimum Age for Employment (1973))
182 (Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (1999))

Reported Violations – 2012

Murders: none reported
Attempted Murders: none reported
Threats: none reported
Injuries: none reported
Arrests: none reported
Imprisonments: none reported
Dismissals: none reported

Documented violations – actual number of cases may be higher

Introduction

The social and economic situation in Moldova remains complicated. The trade unions oppose the austerity measures, while the enforcement of labour legislation remains problematic, and the legal framework is not conducive to independent trade union activities.

Background

While the government gloats about economic growth, Moldova remains one of the poorest countries in Europe. About 46% of the population lives below the poverty threshold. Moldova is supported by IMF, but it has to implement austerity measures in order to receive credit tranches. This policy is criticised harshly by the trade unions. The year was marked by the increased tension between the trade union movement, and the government and employers.

Trade union rights in law

A number of limitations on trade union rights apply despite initial guarantees. The right to form or join a trade union is recognised by the Constitution, and the Trade Union Law of 2000 provides for trade union independence. However, unions may only acquire legal status if they are members of a national branch organisation or national cross-sectoral trade union organisation, which unduly limits the freedom of the unions. The Labour Code also stipulates that either party to a collective dispute may submit the conflict to judicial tribunals for settlement if negotiations fail or if the party disagrees with the decision of the reconciliation commission. The right to strike is prohibited for government workers and workers in essential services, the list of which exceeds the ILO definition. Furthermore, workers having participated in an unlawful strike may face serious fines and even imprisonment.

Link to additional detailed information regarding the legislation on the ITUC website here

In practice

The amendments to the Labour Code were elaborated and proposed by the confederation of employers. The new bill has been roundly condemned by the National Confederation of Trade Unions of Moldova (CNSM). The leadership of the Confederation points out that the new amendments would undermine the trade union's right to protect its members from arbitrary dismissal. As the situation of Moldovan workers is marred by the structural weakness due to widespread informal employment, the reform of the labour legislation gives employers inordinate control over employees, and a powerful tool against the trade unions.

CNSM declared in October 2011 that an attack on the Confederation by the mass-media is a part of a systematic anti-union campaign launched in the country, in order to weaken the trade union movement, and to challenge the trade union's opposition to the neoliberal reforms.

The creation of new unions remains a problem due to the employers' resistance. Collective agreements are mainly signed at enterprises having a long history of collective bargaining. Legislative enforcement remains weak. Neither labour inspectorates nor prosecutors' offices have been effective in monitoring and enforcing labour standards, especially the right to organise.

Violations

Trade union demands no met; the union activists under criminal trial: The dispute between the sugar plant SA Glodeny Zahar and employees continues. The workers have not received their wages since June 2009. The plant went bankrupt at the end of 2009, and the bankruptcy administration has been reluctant to pay out the wage arrears. When the workers began picketing the gates of the plant in order to prevent the sale of the plant's assets, including sugar which was still at the premises, the five leaders and activists of the trade union organisation of the enterprise – Vasiliy Guliak, Valentina Semenyuk, Anatoliy Furtuna, Fyodor Svoevolin and Victor Golibaba – were arrested at the end of 2010. A strong international solidarity campaign was launched, and the trade union activists were released. But the criminal charges were not dropped, and the five trade union activists of SA Glodeny Zahar still face possible sentences of several (from three to eight) years in prison for their trade union activity. Workers' protests continued throughout 2011 without success.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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