Thank you, chairperson.
I am speaking on behalf of the European Union and its member States.
The Candidate Countries Montenegro[*] and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area align themselves with this statement.
We would like to reiterate the importance we attribute to the promotion, respect of fulfilment of human rights, as safeguarded by ILO Conventions and other human rights instruments. The EU and its Member States also support and promote health and safe workplaces for all. Moreover, we believe that labour inspection is fundamental to promote decent work.
We confirm our commitment to the political association and economic integration in the framework of the EU-Moldova Association Agreement with its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), based on core values, notably respect for democratic principles, rule of law, good governance, human rights and fundamental freedoms. We welcome the results of the EU- Moldova Association Council held last month.
The issue of labour inspection in Moldova is not new and was examined several times by the CEACR. Some parts of the legislation and in particular Law 131 were assessed as being in contradiction with ILO Conventions 81 and 129. The law also initiated a reform of the State Labour Inspectorate that was finally enacted in 2017.
As a result, the mandate of the State Labour Inspectorate was redefined and supervision of occupational and health safety /OSH was removed from the Inspectorate and distributed to ten technical agencies according to a sectoral logic.
This reform puts in place a complex system that raises many concerns as to its compliance with the Conventions, notably regarding overall supervision, and coordination of OSH inspections, allocation of sufficient budgetary and human resources, professional qualification, stability and independence of inspectors.
We are also very concerned that the new system will not deliver equal prevention of occupational risks and protection of health and safety at work to all workers in the country.
We would also like to express our strong concern about the restrictions to labour inspections contained in law 131 and described in the CEACR report. These provisions limit the cases of unannounced inspections that can be made, as well as the number of inspection visits per year and weaken the system of penalties. It also jeopardizes the confidentiality of complaints.
We are also surprised at the fact that the number of infringement reports emanating from inspections has significantly dropped these last years and we would like to understand the reasons for these trends.
We firmly expect that the government will take the necessary steps to bring the national legislation, in particular law 131 and practice related to labour inspection, including in agriculture, into conformity with the Conventions and that it will continue to avail itself of ILO's expertise.
We want to underline that the lack of an effective system for enforcement of labour rights and standards can result in a breach of commitments taken by the Republic of Moldova under its Association Agreement (including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area) with the EU.
This includes commitments to effectively implement in national law and practice the core labour standards embodied in the ILO fundamental Conventions and to approximate national legislation to EU law on labour and health and safety at work (Art. 37). ILO Conventions on labour inspections belong to priority Conventions that the Republic of Moldova has ratified and committed to effectively implement in national law and practice (Art. 365). The Republic of Moldova has also committed not to lower the levels of protection, and not to fail to effectively enforce labour law, as an encouragement for trade or investment (Art. 371).
In this respect, we want to stress the need for the government as well as the ILO to coordinate closely with all relevant international organizations, such as the IMF and the World Bank, to ensure that measures taken with regard to labour inspection are in accordance with ILO Conventions.
We will continue our close and constructive engagement and partnership with Moldova.
Thank you chair
[*] Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
d Association Process.