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New Trade Union World Briefing on Moldova

INTERNATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF FREE TRADE UNIONS

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141/091105

New Trade Union World Briefing on Moldova


Stuck between poverty and exile in Moldova

Brussels, 10 November 2005 (ICFTU Online): The flood of emigrants, the explosion of the informal economy, child labour, trade union rights violations and the forgotten dispute over Transnistria are just some of the issues covered in this new 12-page TUW Briefing published today by the ICFTU. It sheds light on such aspects of the social situation in Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Europe, whose current administration provides scant promise of a better future.

Corruption and legal uncertainty are deterring foreign investors, despite the fact that the minimum wage is one of the lowest worldwide at 13 euros in the public sector and 36 euros in the private. The vast majority of workers live off the land, but the land reform that ended the kolkhozes (collective farms) was steeped in preferential treatment and has left small farmers with virtually no means of survival.

This new Trade Union World Briefing stresses that as a result of this between 600, 000 and one million Moldavians have left their country to work abroad (out of a total population of 3.38 million). In other words, scarcely a single Moldavian family has no family members abroad. This migration is having a bad impact on family life and children's education, and is causing a shortage of members of many professions, such as teaching. The money sent home by the migrants is, however, doing something to quell people's anger at the falling living standards.

The growth of the informal economy and child labour is another serious consequence of the country's failing economy. According to union estimates, some 400,000 people are employed in the informal economy and are subjected, as a result, to breaches of all their rights. They have no protection against dismissal and no right to daily rest periods, leave, health insurance or paid overtime (with bus drivers working up to 16 hours per day), etc. The ICFTU's affiliate the CSRM has recently started a major initiative to raise awareness of the rise of the informal economy and try to organise the men and women working in it.

This new Briefing also recalls the forgotten dispute over the region of Transnistria, a small stretch of land next to Ukraine that autonomously declared its independence after a civil war that split Moldova in 1992. The civil war has since developed into a cold war between the Moldavian government and that of the self-proclaimed Republic of Transnistria. Though weapons have been laid down, there is still no dialogue between the opposing authorities. Thanks to support from the ICFTU, the unions in Moldova and Transnistria have recently starting talking to one another again and have even signed a cooperation agreement. The workers hope this will help unfreeze relations between the two camps.

Despite its sustained efforts to support Moldavian workers and its role in maintaining a dialogue with Transnistria, the CSRM has been assailed by the authorities, which have done all they can over the last four years to get workers to join 'Solidaritatea', a confederation that is hand in glove with the government and does virtually nothing to defend Moldavian workers.

Please also read an associated Spotlight Interview with Petru
Chiriac, iPresident of the CSRM here:
http://www.icftu.org/displaydocument.asp?Index=991223030&Language=EN

The new briefing can be downloaded here:
http://www.icftu.org/displaydocument.asp?Index=991223028&Language=EN


The ICFTU represents 145 million workers through its 234 affiliated organisations in 154 countries and territories. The ICFTU is also a member of Global Unions: http://www.global-unions.org

ENDS

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