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Macedonia: EI condemns breach of agreement

EI sent a letter to the Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia to condemn the government's breach of a wage agreement with teachers.

After months of harassing teacher union SONK the international teacher community thought that the negotiation and ratification of a wage agreement was a positive sign that social dialogue could finally materialise in Macedonia. However, the hope was dashed when the government retracted the agreement on 9 May, just one day prior to the implementation of the wage agreement.

If the wage agreement, as negotiated in February 2006, is not quickly implemented, EI will formally lodge a complaint to the ILO for violation of ILO Conventions 87 and 98.

Below is the content of EI's letter in English dated 16 May 2006: _________________________________

Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski

Government of the Republic of Macedonia

Ilindenska st, BB

1000 Skopje

Republic of Macedonia

Fax: +389-2 3 112 561/+389-2 3 123 425 (2 pages)

Brussels, 16 May 2006

Dear Prime Minister,

Education International – the global union federation of teachers which represents over 29 million members in 166 countries and has the teachers’ union SONK as one of its affiliates – is very concerned with your government’s announcement that it will not honour the wage agreement it reached with SONK in February 2006. This reversal, announced just one day prior to the agreement’s implementation, is unacceptable.

Not only is the government failing to meet its obligations towards a legitimate trade union representing 37,000 teachers, but it is also seriously breaching its commitment towards the thousands of Macedonian teachers who are dedicated to providing quality public education which will contribute to the future of the country.

The negotiation and ratification of a wage agreement in February was considered by the international teachers’ community as a positive sign that social dialogue could materialise in Macedonia, after months of harassment of the teachers’ union SONK. The fact that your government now simply revokes the wage agreement signed with SONK shows a reckless disregard for collective bargaining rights guaranteed by the conventions of the International Labour Organisation.

Macedonia ratified the ILO Conventions on Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining in 1991. Your government’s decision to unilaterally renege on a negotiated collective bargaining agreement clearly indicates that you do not take seriously your commitments under the ILO conventions. If the wage agreement, as negotiated in February 2006, is not quickly implemented, EI will formally lodge a complaint to the ILO for violation of ILO Conventions 87 and 98.

Please inform Education International as soon as possible what steps you will be taking to honour the agreement that binds you with the teachers’ union SONK.

Yours sincerely,

Fred van Leeuwen General Secretary

Copies to:

H.E. Branko Crvenkovski, President of the Republic, Fax: + 389 3 111 675 / +389 2 311 21 47

Ms. Radmila Shekerinska, Vice President, Dept for EU integration, Fax: +389-2 311 93 78

Ms. Ilinka Mitreva, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fax: +389-2 3 115 790

Mr. Stevco Jakimovski, Minister of Labour & Social Policy, Fax: +389 2 3220 408

Mr. Aziz Pollozhani, Minister of Education, Science, Fax: + 389.23.11.84.14

Mr. Blagoja Stefanovski, Minister of Culture, Fax: +389 2 3240 561

Mr. Nikola Popovski, Minister of Finance, Fax: +389 2 3281 057

H.E. Erwan Fouéré, Special Representative of the EU, Fax: +389-2 312 62 13

Ms. Mirjana Najcevska, President, Macedonian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Fax:+389-2 3 119 073 / +389-2 3 290 469

Mr. Izhet Memeti, Ombudsman, Fax: +389-2 3 129 359

Mr. Stefan Dehnert, Director of the Macedonia Office, Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Fax:+389-2-323 2656

Mr. Luigi Sandrin, Head of Centre, European Agency for Reconstruction, Fax: +389-2-3 124 760

Mr. Erhard Busek, Special Coordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, Fax: +32 2 401 87 12

H.E. Robert Chatterton-Dickson, Ambassador of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Fax: +389 2 3179 726

H.E. Ralf Andreas Breth, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Fax: +389-2-309 38 99

H.E. Véronique Bujon-Barré, Ambassador of France, Fax: +389-2-3 117 760

H.E. Frédérique De Man, Ambassador of the Netherlands, Fax: +389-2-3 129 309

H.E. Gillian Arlette Milovanovic, Ambassador of the USA, Fax: +389 2 3117 103

Mr Dojcin Cvetanovski, President of SONK, Fax + 389.23.22.46.38

ILO, ETUCE, ETUC, ICFTU

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