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http://www.bkdp.org/news/2/844/harmonization-of-draft-general-agreement-for-2011-2013-is-running-in-a-tense-atmosphere/

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HARMONIZATION OF DRAFT GENERAL AGREEMENT FOR 2011-2013 IS RUNNING IN A TENSE ATMOSPHERE



At the regular meeting of the Working group on harmonizing Draft General Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Belarus, national associations of employers and trade unions for 2011-2013 held today on 19 October, the parties following the already established practice have resumed the discussion of issues left from the previous debates and require certain clarifications. http://www.bkdp.org/home/1/&p=news&newsid=838 Nikolai Kanakh, BKDP Deputy Chairman and Elena Eskova, Head of BKDP Legal Department, noted that this time the debate was quite tense. The Government in its usual way was insisting on including the obscure wordings while the employers were expressing their disagreement on many issues in a quite categorical manner.


As a result, the item of the Draft General Agreement on bringing in 2013 the minimum old age pension to the level of 140 percent of the survival minimum for pensioners was put on the agenda of the conciliation commission. On the insistence of trade unions the item on bringing the average size of unemployment benefits to the level of the subsistence minimum for able-bodied population in the year of 2013 was included into the protocol of disagreements. Initially the Government and employers proposed to exclude this item at all from General Agreement. The item promoting the establishment and functioning of the primary-level trade union organizations in enterprises of all forms of ownership including those having foreign capital was also put on the agenda of the conciliation commission. Representatives of the government and employers were also opposing the inclusion.

Nevertheless, as Elena Eskova, the BKDP member of the Working group, told that the parties have reached the agreement on several vitally important issues such as “taking measures on raising wages and salaries and reducing a number of companies paying monthly salaries to their workers in the amount less than 200 USD as well as on increasing by the year of 2013 the amount of child care allowance for until the age of three years to the size not less than two minimum subsistence budgets.

Then the parties came back again to the section of "Social Partnership and coordination of actions by the parties of the Agreement." Working group members have agreed in genera l on the items concerning obligations of the Government. Nevertheless, the parties failed to reach consensus on many other issues.

"In the General Agreement in force there a section is available in which the sides of social partnership recommended to include in the collective agreements and contracts a number of provisions relating to the activities of trade unions and their members. This time, the trade union side, and BKDP and FPB, jointly have decided to insist that in the new General Agreement these norms were to be not of a recommendation but of an imperative and binding character. However, the government and employers strongly disagreed, and therefore the discussion of this section has been discontinued, - says Elena Eskova.

In discussing the concluding provisions of the General Agreement the BKDP representatives Kanakh Nikolai and Elena Eskova insisted that in this section the names of trade unions on whose behalf the Agreement is concluded, i.e., FPB and BKDP, were transcribed as this has important implications for further implementation of the Agreement in practice. The working group members from the government side were against them but the employers supported and thus this proposal had also to have been included in the protocol of disagreements.


Next, the fifth in a row meeting of the Working group on Harmonization of Draft General Agreement for 2011-2013 will be held on Friday, October 22.









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