Media Review

16 march, 2012 16:36

Rossiyskaya Gazeta: "The union of labour and power"

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made a speech at the Russian Trilateral Commission on Regulating Social and Labour Relations.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made a speech at the Russian Trilateral Commission on Regulating Social and Labour Relations.

The commission held a somewhat festive meeting in the Government Building yesterday. Putin congratulated its members on its 20th anniversary. He awarded them with government certificates of appreciation and thanked them for their contribution to making the domestic labour market more civilized, an effort that will eventually increase the living standards in the country.

The commission brings together representatives of the government, trade unions and employee organisations. The meeting was attended by First Vice-Speaker of the Duma, Alexander Zhukov, Minister of Healthcare and Social Development Tatyana Golikova, Chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions Mikhail Shmakov and President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin.

Putin emphasised that the commission was being established against the background of a fundamental change in the political system, economic model and the very way of life for millions of our compatriots. "The transitional period was very difficult for the entire country, especially for the average person," he said. They had to face new realities in a very short time.

"Delays in the payment of wages lasting months, layoffs, business closings, and essentially the stagnation of whole industries acquired a long-term and, regrettably, chronic character – there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel," Putin said, describing the misfortunes that befell the nation after the U.S.S.R. fell.

"Social tensions escalated... Extremely energetic, urgent measures had to be taken," Putin explained.

The government, the business community and the trade unions had to learn to listen to each other, come to terms and find a common language. "The experience of interaction and the ability to find reasonable compromises and resolve disputable issues at the negotiating table was gradually being amassed in heated debates. In other words, we were polishing up the principles that underlie the entire system of social interaction in this country," the prime minister summed up.

The commission continues playing a very important role today, too. Putin emphasised that the government does not submit to parliament a single draft law on labour or employment without consulting the commission. Our common priorities are being translated into general agreements. Over the course of the last 20 years, 11 agreements have been signed. The last two – in 2008 and 2010 – were adopted without any discord. This does not mean at all that there were no differences during the drafting of these laws. Quite the contrary, the debates were heated and tough, but ultimately all sides came to terms, Putin said.

"We must preserve this constructive approach and employ it during preparations of a new general agreement for 2014-2016," Putin noted. He said that social policy should be fair and match the interests of our entire society. "We did not deviate from this position during the recent crisis," he observed.

"Of course, we did not make it through this period without some losses. It was difficult for many people, but we averted the aftershocks," Putin said. "The recommendations on the interaction of social partners during the crisis helped many companies. As a result, "Russia weathered the crisis without serious upheavals like the ones that shook many of our neighbours – the so-called advanced economies," he added.

The prime minister observed that the number of jobless has decreased and is now smaller than even before the crisis. "As social partners, we must continue to pursue our common strategy to create a modern labour market," he went on. Putin urged the audience to improve the culture of social partnership, adding that "many sensible and interesting proposals on labour and employment were made during the recent election campaign."

Kira Latukhina