“Mediation – an efficient resolution of labor disputes, responsibility in preventing and reducing unemployment” – a successful project in accordance the European Union policies

The Agency for Regional Development “Habitat” from Rezina successfully completed the project  “Mediation – an efficient resolution of labor disputes, responsibility in preventing and reducing unemployment”, launched in July 2012.  The project will be implemented in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Moldova, Orhei branch office, the Public Association “Concordia” Telenesti district, the Center for Mediation, negotiation and facilities conciliation in Moldova, the Labour Inspectorate, the National Confederation of Trade Unions, the Unions Federation of Building and Construction Materials “SINDICONS”, the National Confederation of Employers from Republic of Moldova, with the financial support of Embassy of Netherlands in Ukraine and Moldova.

The project goal was to contribute to the creation of a simple and affordable service of mediation of labor disputes and the implementation of an adequate and sustainable mechanism of operation of this service on the labor market of Republic of Moldova.

The project also contributed to the consolidation of the responsibilities of employers and employees in accordance with the requirements of labor law, legal rights, principles and requirements of the International Labour Organisation.

The project contributed to the following fundamental things:

  • Strengthening accountability for fundamental human rights, especially in terms of work and social protection;
  • encouraging the market economy as the essential condition of setting up a social dimension to its;
  • the implementation of the service of labor disputes mediation;
  • the support of unemployed women from Rezina, Teleneşti and Orhei to get a job, through advice and consulting in initiation their own businesses through small and medium businesses management training.

We are pleased that the majority of the 58 people who graduated have been employed on the labor market or have started a business and successfully developing it.

One quite necessary thing nowadays has been to offer optimal solutions and recommendations for youth on the labor market problem, because every generation has the responsibility to prepare the next generation for harmonious economic development. The best way to ensure youth development in this direction is the partnership with the government, educational institutions, civil society and young people searching for jobs.

Implementation of these recommendations will support the younger generations in their attempt to find a job and develop successful careers. Here are some of them: investing in improving information resources for youth; investments to increase youth access to training programs to develop job specific skills; in this direction the employers have to advise and influence for a better educational preparation that aligned to the real needs and opportunities from the labor market; the creation and operation of training programs that stimulate the accumulation of experience; commitment towards young people: supporting through training programs, special scholarships from the employers, offering jobs and mentoring; investment in entrepreneurship education programs in academic environment and creation of vocational centers.

An important strategy to stimulate growth of the number of jobs is the expanding the number of employers. Promoting entrepreneurship is a vital component to ensure the local, regional and national economic development. Promoting youth entrepreneurship may directly stimulate them, while positively influencing generations they belong to and  communities in which they operate.

Young people can better harness the potential at work, if they have entrepreneurial education as they expand their financial knowledge, business and can better focus on the organization needs, on the understanding of the need for initiative and creative problem solving, on the teamwork and cooperation.

A successful event was the meeting within a public cafe at the Free International University of Moldova with students and didactic and scientific body of the Faculty of Psychology, Sociology and Social Assistance which aims to become the first university of humanistic  applied sciences from the Republic of  Moldova. Faculty aims to train new cadres in psychology, sociology, social assistance and psycho-pedagogy, able to get involved in the competitive and dynamic economic and social context, possessing skills in theoretical analysis and practical implications of the human individual and community problem solving. During the event, students and didactic-scientific body, mentioned the actuality and necessity of the implemented project and have come with proposals regarding the mediation of labor disputes.

Public café, Free International University of Moldova, Chișinău

Such public cafés were organized in Orhei, Teleneşti and Rezina, with the participation of employers, workers, unemployed, trade unions, local public administrations, Territorial Offices of the National Agency for Employment and Labour Inspection representative. In all public cafés ARD “Habitat” made donation of books, edited within the project.

Public café, Rezina

Public café, Telenești

Public café, Orhei

In the market economy unemployment is the main indicator of economic instability and labor market functioning. Derivative nature of the labor market puts unemployment in double situation and the high level of unemployment denotes the fact that both the labor market and the entire economy is in a difficult situation. Therefore in such cases, the basic purpose of economic policies and reforms focus on reducing unemployment and strengthening the skills of those seeking work or those who have the will and ambition to start and develop their own business.

Why mediation is needed now in this period of transition and reforms? Because mediation is the only way to save and strengthen relationships at based on mutual trust, not only in relationships at internal and external levels in any field. Because mediation as an alternative dispute resolution (including labor) in the context of a weak judicial system in the country, unable to respond promptly to the needs of the parties in conflict, is an effective solution that has valences of collaboration and long-term cooperation.

In this respect to the Parliament and the Government of Moldova was proposed a draft law related to the Labor Code with a new chapter “Labour mediation”, at which we received a positive opinion of support.

Within the project was published the work: “Mediation – an efficient resolution of labor disputes, responsibility in preventing and reducing unemployment,” a very useful book for the public institutions responsible for labor relations of mediators, employers / business people and employees . The book can now be accessed on-line the Web page www.habitat.md. The work is signed by Marcel Burlacu, Valeriu Rusu and Svetlana Rusu.

Geographical area of the project implementation comprised the districts: Rezina, Telenești, Orhei and Chișinău city.

Within a survey were interviewed employers and employees from the public and private sectors from the districts: Orhei, Telenești, Rezina and Chișinău, ministries representatives from Government of Rep. of Moldova. For each of them were drafted by 2 questionnaires: a questionnaire for employers on the mediation of labor disputes and amendment of the legislation, and another – on what do employers for employees to feel happy at work; for employees related to the mediation of labor disputes and amendment of the legislation, and how employees measure their happiness at work. On the employers’ survey the sample was of 237 people, on employees segment the sample was of 1315 people.

We refer to a few moments of this survey, namely the questions:

- What problems should be resolved through social dialogue?

Respondents’ answers are:

  • divergences between business / management and union / employee representatives  - 29%;
  • development of new jobs  – 47,7%;
  • professional retraining -  8%;
  • reducing inequalities and discrimination from the labor market – 15,3%.

-         If you had conflicts or disputes, how the problem was solved for you?

  • very difficult  – 33,3%;
  • in a long period of time – 37,5%;
  • has not been resolved and I had to change my workplace – 29,2%.

-          In the event of a conflict at work, which path you choose to solve it?

  • Mediation 61,6%;
  • Judicial 13,1%;
  • Dismissal from the workplace on own initiative – 24,1%;
  • Other – 1,2%.

-         The service of the mediation of labor disputes should be?

  • independent and impartial – 70,2%;
  • subordinate to one of the state structures – 25,6%;
  • subordinated to the trade unions – 4,2%.

The project, implemented by the ARD “Habitat” was developed in 2011 and implemented in 2012-2013. We were encouraged by the fact that at the end of June 2013 the EU allocated eight billion euro to combat youth unemployment – one of the most stringent problems at European level. The measure was taken by European leaders, who approved the 2014-2020 budget.

This allows us to affirm that the project is successful, in accordance the European Union policies.

This is not the only decision. Officials have decided to support small and medium enterprises.

Of the 26 million unemployed in Europe, over 21% are under 25. The most alarming situation is in Greece and Spain, where more than half of young people do not have a job. Six of the eight billion euro allocated will be available already in 2014. European leaders have said that such measures should be doubled and to stimulate economic growth, especially in the areas most affected by the crisis.

In Brussels, EU leaders approved a plan through which the European Investment Bank will provide loans to small and medium enterprises. The measure is addressed especially to  southern Europe, where banks do not grant loans because of the market instability.

“We have to finance small businesses. They are vital to our economy. We will release loans to small firms only if they come with the projects, “said EC President.
35% of those surveyed expressed concern, in relation to poverty and social inequality, crime and violence increased, and 31% are afraid of corruption, financial and political scandals.

“We have to finance small businesses. They are vital to our economy. We will release loans to small firms only if they come with the projects, “said EC President.

35% of those surveyed expressed concern, in relation to poverty and social inequality, increased criminality and violence, and 31% are afraid of corruption, financial and political scandals.

Pity that we are not part of EU countries community , in which public policies, legislation and other measures are focused on the needs of citizens and the EU leadership not delay to do so.

Conclusions after the project implementation:

During the project implementation we faced a serious political crisis, a fact that we did not expect. On February 13, 2013, the collapse of the Alliance for European Integration (AIE) 2, on March 5th dismissal of the Filat government 2. On May 30, 2013 the formation of the new coalition, the Alliance 3. On 23 April 2013, by presidential decree of the president Timofti, Mr. Iurie Leanca was named interim Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova. From April 25, 2013 Leanca being interim prime minister, from 15 May 2013 was named Prime Minister and voted by the Parliament.

This political instability made very difficult the cooperation with central public authorities. Many meetings were repeated again with our public servants, who were renamed in function.

Given the situation, about political instability in Moldova was amended the project implementation strategy, with a focus on the relationships with the business community, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Moldova, Orhei branch office, the Labour Inspectorate, National Confederation of Trade Unions, the Unions Federation of Building and Construction Materials “SINDICONS”, the National Confederation of Employers from Republic of Moldova.

The implementation of the projects in periods of political instability, an important role has the  eficcient and synergistic partnership, which was managed during the implementation. That made the project to be successfully implemented even with the risk related to political instability.

Experience gained during project implementation has been positive in terms of the objectives of the project in political risk situations, but also presented some challenges specific to application environment. Areas of core importance for the project were: changing legislation on implementation of the service of the mediation of labor disputes, the involvement of employees and employers in project events. Their involvement and obtaining relevant information through the survey interviews, focus groups in public cafés, on the launch and functioning of mediation labor disputes service, are compelling evidence that public policies and laws pertaining to relationships labor market are required to be modified urgently, and Conflict Mediation Service Labour is long awaited on the labor market. This has been confirmed both within project events and by public institutions of Moldova, responsible for the labor market relationships.

We express our most sincere thanks and gratitude to the Netherlands Embassy in Ukraine and Moldova, for their support and effective collaboration within Matra KAP program, with whose support this project was implemented.

Valeriu RUSU, director of ARD “Habitat”, project director.