GENEVA (ILO News) - The Russian tripartite delegation to the annual Conference of International Labour Organization and ILO Director-General Juan Somavia today signed a Programme of Cooperation between Russia and the ILO for the years 2006-2009.
A priority issue in the new Programme, which is the result of consultations between government, employers and workers, is the reform of the pay system in Russia. The Russian Federation plans to improve its wage legislation, particularly with respect to workers whose salaries are paid from the state budget.
According to the Russian statistical agency Goskomstat, 38.8 per cent of workers in health services, 41.4 per cent of workers in education and 51.2 per cent of workers in culture live on a salary equal to or below the subsistence level.
The Programme foresees the formulation of principles on wage policy for state and municipal enterprise employees in various sectors.
Another important issue is migration management. In the early 1990s, Russia became a major actor on the international labour migration scene as a receiving, sending and transit country. The Federal Migration Services estimates that there are now 500,000 legal migrants and between 5 and 14 million illegal migrants in Russia. The Programme of Cooperation stresses the need to further improve national legislation as well as international and bilateral mechanisms aimed at regularizing and preventing abuse of migrant workers.
The Programme also addresses internal migration in the Russian Federation to promote labour force mobility and create a more flexible labour market.
Other priorities of the Programme include modernizing labour legislation in accordance with international labour standards; promoting social partnership; and improving social protection systems, including protection workers against HIV/AIDS, occupational safety and health social security systems and implementing projects on child labour. It is also foreseen to implement decent work programmes in selected regions of the country.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Ms. Alexandra Levitskaya, Russian Deputy Minister of Health and Social Development, said that "the Government of the Russian Federation highly appreciates the activity of the International Labour Organization and supports all the initiatives of the Organization that are part of the Decent Work Agenda". The Minister called the Programme of Cooperation "another important step in strengthening cooperation between Russia and the ILO".
The social partners - Mr. Oleg Eremeev, on behalf of the Russian employers, and Mr. Mikhail Shmakov, on behalf of the Russian trade unions - welcomed the new programme and expressed their satisfaction with the tripartite approach in the course of its preparation.
Mr. Somavia called the Programme of Cooperation "a quality and at the same time very practical, result-oriented product", adding that it was very important that the Programme was a result of joint efforts by the tripartite partners. "I would like to reconfirm the commitment of the ILO to work together with all of you in its implementation", Mr. Somavia said.