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Thank you, Chair.
I am speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro* and Albania[*] as well as the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this statement.
The EU and its Member States are committed to the promotion, protection and respect of human and labour rights, as safeguarded by the fundamental ILO Conventions and other human rights instruments. We support the indispensable role played by the ILO in developing, promoting and supervising the application of international labour standards and of fundamental Conventions in particular.
We firmly believe that compliance with ILO Conventions is essential for social and economic stability in any country and that an environment conducive to dialogue and trust between employers, workers and governments contributes to the creation of a basis for solid and sustainable growth and inclusive societies.
Convention 144 on Tripartite consultations to promote the implementation of International Labour Standards is intrinsically linked with two Fundamental Conventions: 87 on Freedom of association and protection of the right to Organise and 98 on the Right to organize and Collective Bargaining Convention, as well as with at least five Sustainable Development Goals. Tripartite consultations and meaningful and effective social dialogue are essential elements of application of fundamental principles and rights at work.
The EU and its Member States are committed to the people of El Salvador through strong cooperation, political, and trade ties. The EU – Central America Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA), which entered into force in 2014, and the provisional application of the trade pillar of the EU - Central America Association Agreement since 2013, provide a framework for developing our partnership.
We wish to recall the commitment undertaken by El Salvador under the trade and sustainable development chapter (Title VIII) of the EU‑Central America Association Agreement, to effectively implement in law and practice the fundamental ILO Conventions.
We note with deep regret that this case was already discussed in the last two years in the Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS), including as a serious case in 2017. The Committee noted with concern the dysfunctional operation of social dialogue in the country and the non‑compliance with the ILO Convention 144. It has also provided clear recommendations related to the importance of non-interference with the constitution of employers’ organisations and the need to ensure proper representation of legitimate employers’ organisations.
The Committee demanded also the reactivation the Higher Labour Council (CST) by ensuring its full functioning with proper social partners' representation. The Council can only fulfil its role when it effectively puts into practice tripartism and genuine social dialogue. We observe with concern that the Council is still not operational.
We welcome the government’s recent calls for dialogue toward the prompt reconstitution of the Council following a cross-sector dialogue as required by international standards. We nevertheless urge the new government to take appropriate measures to reactivate the Higher Labour Council, by developing, in consultation with social partners, the rules of its functioning, in particular clear and transparent rules for the nomination of workers’ representatives that comply with the criterion of representativity, as well as the process of its reactivation.
We also call on the government to ensure full autonomy of the social partners and their participation in consultations related to employment and labour policies and legislation, in a transparent and inclusive manner and before a decision is taken. We encourage the government to provide information on the outcome of the tripartite consultations held in relation to the Protocol on the submission procedure, as well as to provide updated information on the content and outcome of the tripartite consultations held on all the matters relating to international labour standards covered by Article 5(1)(a)–(e) of the Convention.
We also strongly encourage El Salvador to inform about the measures undertaken or in preparation in the framework of the ILO’s technical assistance.
The EU and its Member States remain committed to constructive engagement with El Salvador, including through cooperation projects, which aim to strengthen the government’s capacity to address all issues raised in the Committee's report.
Thank you, Chair.
[*] The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.