On Monday 26 January 2015, ETUCE European Director Martin Rømer will travel to the Former Yugoslav Republic of  Macedonia to help seeking for a solution in the current severe labour conflict in the education sector. For many months, the social dialogue about several pending and urgent labour issues has been extremely difficult. When ETUCE's Macedonian member organisation SONK called for a strike in the autumn 2014, the Ministry suddenly offered to negotiate. However, it seems that it was only paying lip service. According to SONK it has never seriously engaged in real negotiations leading to effective results which prompted SONK to relaunch the strike at the beginning of the year.

SONK reports now about oppression and threats not only against the protesting teachers but moreover against their children. During the last months, the ETUCE European Director has numerous times reached several times to the Macedonian Minister of Education and Science to offer his help as a mediator in this case. So far, the Ministry has rejected this opportunity by completely ignoring every approach and contact.

These developments in Macedonia are downright unacceptable: The measures apparently taken by the government against the protesting people pose an attack on one of the most fundamental human rights of all which is the right to strike. Social dialogue is a core element of the European social model which Macedonia, as an EU candidate country, should be fully aware of. In October 2014 a significant EU funded project aiming to promote social dialogue in Macedonia was launch which makes the current developments all the more striking and alarming.

In Skopje, Martin Rømer will call for a complete reversal from this serious and unsustainable situation and urge the Macedonian social partners to return to the negotiation table. The social partners need to co-operate on better solutions with the long-term objective to guarantee best quality education for everybody in Macedonia.

Read the Press Release