ILO, Armenia Sign New Decent Work Country Programme

The Programme aims to further develop mechanisms of regulating labour relations, improve employment policy and enhance employability of women and men, and to strengthen social dialogue and collective bargaining at all levels.

News | 14 May 2019
YEREVAN (ILO News) – The Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) for 2019-2023 was signed here today by the Armenian tripartite constituents – government, employers’ and workers organizations – and Assistant Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Heinz Koller.

The DWCP priorities and key country outcomes have been developed in close consultations with tripartite constituents and other national stakeholders. The present programme is built upon the results of the previous DWCP 2007-2011 and the implementation of the agreed Decent Work Agenda for 2012-2016.

The ILO will support the Armenian constituents to promote and apply the Conventions and Recomendations of the ILO within the context of the comprehensive reform of the Labour Code started by the Government. The ILO will provide expert assistance on improving the Labour Code in order to put it in full compliance with the international labour standards, to protect labour rights and ensure decent working conditions for all categories of workers, preserve occupational safety and health, and improve the enabling environment for sustainable enterprises.

The creation of an effective labour law enforcement mechanism and rehabilitation of the national labour inspection system remain the major challenge of the labour law reform. In the framework of the  DWCP, assistance will be provided to address the comments made by the ILO supervisory bodies on the application in Armenia of the Labour Inspection Convention, 1947 (No.81). Emphasis will be put on ensuring that the bodies of the mentioned system have the mandate, structure, resources and capacity to improve compliance with national labour laws and provisions.

Armenia has one of the highest unemployment rates (17.8%) in Europe and Central Asia region. According to the Statistical Committee of the Republic of Armenia, in 2017, 17.5% of women and 18.1% of men were officially unemployed. Almost 45% of young women and 24% of young men aged 15 to 29 were neither studying nor employed. The data on the share of informally employed as of 2015 shows that total informality rate in 2015 was 47.7%.

Despite large-scale reforms in the employment sphere over the past years, there are still pressing issues to be addressed, like the gap between labour force supply and demand side and existing barriers for the first time labour market entrants, vulnerable groups, skilled workforce. Under the second programme priority, national constituents and the ILO will seek to develop a new National Employment Strategy (NES), addressing these and other issues, such as youth and rural employment, informality and entrepreneurship development. The NES, once developed and adopted, is to become a core national policy document for a comprehensive employment policy framework to support inclusive and sustainable economic growth in Armenia.

Another priority area is strengthening social dialogue and collective bargaining as an important precondition of the labour law reforms and further promotion of the Decent Work Agenda in the country. The ILO will provide advice and technical support to the tripartite constituents to further strengthen the institutional and functional frameworks of the Republican Tripartite Commission (RTC) and to develop social dialogue and collective bargaining at the republican, sectoral and enterprise levels.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Zaruhi Batoyan, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, cordially congratulated the ILO on its 100th Anniversary. “The programme we have just signed demonstrates excellent cooperation between the Government of Armenia, social partners and the ILO,” she said.

According to Heinz Koller, signing of the third Decent Work Country Programme for 2019-2023 ”further cements the foundations for future cooperation” between the ILO and its constituents in Armenia. “For the ILO, the signing of this important document takes on added significance, as we celebrate our 100th Anniversary,” he said.

Olga Koulaeva, Director of the ILO Country Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, expressed the ILO’s commitment to continue to provide support in the priority areas identified together with the constituents as well as to contribute to other initiatives to implement the Decent Work Agenda.

Gagik Makaryan, Chairperson of the Republican Union of Employers, and Eduard Tumasyan, Chairperson of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Armenia, expressed the unanimous opinion that the new DWCP, implemented in close collaboration between the Government and the social partners, will contribute to the realization of the Decent Work Agenda in the Republic of Armenia.