Goce Delcev Todev, Confederation of Trade Unions of Macedonia: Fifty thousand freelancers will leave the country
It is not reasonable bosses or the line ministry not to pay the fees for those engaged, and an employee who works for a fee to be the one to pay the amount of 19 percent of the total amount of pension, disability and health insurance. We are not against paying the amount, but the employer to pay it
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On 22 December, protests are scheduled against the Law on Freelancers. Dozens of trade union organizations in the Federation of Trade Unions of Macedonia, Union of employees in administration, justice and civic associations, Movement for Social Justice “Lenka” and the Confederation of Trade Union Organizations of Macedonia will raise their voice against the new Law on Freelancers. On that occasion, in an interview for Inbox7 we talk to Goce Delcev Todev, chief coordinator of FTUM.
Mr. Delcev Todev, what is the purpose and in what capacity are you in the protest?
Delcev Todev: Initially, the goal is to cancel the law. Not to start its application from 1.1.2015. Immediately to adopt any solution, i.e. the people who run Macedonia urgently to cancel the law. According to our assessment it will not only cover 150,000 citizens, but 50,000, a third of them will have to look for a ticket more to escape from this country as soon as possible. We know in advance that we will not succeed. I am not a skeptic, but we know how requirements in this country end, especially in the last four, five years. I am not against the government, but I am against some legal decisions made by the government at the moment. And if this law is not rejected, we are prepared to include a huge number of experts to bring, if nothing else, a variant that will balance the possibility of financial relief to citizens who work and live from fees.
These days we are witnessing fighting in the media about who organizes protests, how they are organized. Hence the question, how do you imagine the protest? How will it be organized?
Delcev Todev: Everything which is with a good goal, what is called organization of any protest, that the gentlemen who are in the cabinet of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski should be aware that they cannot reject those documents ad acta. Because they think that what they have imagined and want to implement is the cleverest solution. It is practically the most annoying moment that FTUM takes into consideration. We will ask the Minister of Labor and Social Policy urgently to have a meeting with us where we will explain everything they have omitted and not taken into account as part of the opportunity to promote citizens and society in general with this law.
You say that you are not against paying fees to the state, but that you are against this method of payment for those working part-time. Why?
Delcev Todev: Citizens who work and who are engaged by bosses, owners, and even line ministries, should not pay fees. The Ministry should pay fees for those it has engaged, not the employee who works for a fee to be the one to pay the amount of 19 percent of the total amount for pension, disability and health insurance. We are not against paying the amount, but the employer to pay it.
There are other categories of citizens who are dissatisfied with the situation in which they are. You have remarks of the Law on Labor Relations in the part of the manner of union organizing? Recently you have met FTUM. What did you discuss about and what conclusions did you bring?
Delcev Todev: I will make a small correction to your question. The law is perfect. But people who carry it out, starting from the Minister of Labor and Social Policy, they inhibit and do not implement the law. And the Law on Labor Relations exactly provides the way of establishing a trade union. All that is required by law we have met on paper as a condition. We have submitted it to the Ministry and for two years we have been waiting for registration through the single window system. It is a shame. I address the Prime Minister to pay attention to those of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy as the Law on Labor Relations in the section of the trade union association is not obeyed, but broken. Even the lawyers I wanted to engage for solving this problem say, oh, please, let’s not sue the Ministry or the Government because we know how you will end.
Let’s talk about the lawsuits that some employees of the Ministry of Interior (MOI) have filed against the institution they work for. Why is there dissatisfaction among some employees of the MOI?
Delcev Todev: Seven years ago when we established the Independent Trade Union of employees of the Ministry of Interior, we made a summary of what is called respect for members obliged by the Ministry. To respect the rights of using transport tickets, travel expenses, food, wearing the uniform. These rights have not been respected and eventually resulted in depletion of eight million. Finally, the Ministry is the one that loses. Instead of planning money for other issues important to the security of Macedonia, we are dealing with lawsuits. We brought ourselves in a situation that those who required, who sued and who won, to be considered black sheep. By certain chiefs they are chased like dogs in some police stations. The time will come when if not I, then people who are dealing with the analytics of this type, not to say the Public Prosecution and organized crime, will have to check what is happening in the Ministry of Interior.
These are serious allegations. Do you have any evidence for this? You mention organized crime and work for the Public Prosecution?
Delcev Todev: From what we have as figures, for example my received sum of money is more than 300,000 denars. For that money the Ministry of Interior has paid interests, default interests, enforcement agents, court costs. And when it will all be summed up on the number of workers who have sued, we roughly come to the amount of eight million Euros. Whether it has been abused by an individual or not, it is a subject that the prosecution should immediately start a process for. Who has allowed the ignorant attitude to the requests submitted ever since 2007.