The President of the Federation of Trade Unions of Macedonia, Darko Dimovski expresses a great disagreement with the statements presented by the Council of Foreign Investors and the Chamber of Commerce that stated that for now the increase of the wages of the workers is not possible, and the productivity of the workers should be first increased.
Once again I want to emphasize that the wages of the workers in North Macedonia are low and they do not reflect the poor performance of the companies, the low productivity, but they reflect their greed and thirst for achieving bigger personal profits and more comfortable life.
For years we have pointed out that the amount of wages should be discussed and agreed with the workers, through collective agreements that should be signed in which the working conditions will be regulated and the labor price determined.
However, employers remained deaf. They are constantly seeking help from the state. (Better business climate: cheap labor, lower taxes, lower contributions, cheap loans, trained workforce, subsidized salaries).
It is really unfair someone to say that the productivity depends on the workers and to ask for money (subsidies) from the state, thus investing in their companies and increasing the salaries of the employees.
In order to stop the greed of the employers and the constant reduction in salaries, we were forced to seek the adoption of the Law on Minimum Wage Act to determine the lowest threshold below which salaries can not be paid. The employers complained that they could not pay a minimum wage of MKD 8,000, yet they paid it and in the end made a profit. They complained and threatened to dismiss workers and shut down businesses when the minimum wage rose to 10,000 and 12,000 denars. No one dismissed workers, no one closed the business, nor did they fully use the subsidies offered by the state to pay the minimum wage - obviously they did not need them.
I always stress that, the Federation of Trade Unions of Macedonia, as a social partner, supported all measures that the state undertakes to facilitate the work of employers, in order to be able to modernize their work, so that they can easily introduce new technologies in order to produce products that will be competitive both on domestic and foreign markets, but employers have forgotten and marginalized their most important resource and social partner - the workers.
In order to achieve greater productivity, in addition to machines, we need valuable, quality, loyal and satisfied workers.
And these disadvantaged and insufficiently motivated workers (insufficiently trained and poor-quality workers - as the employers say) - provided GDP growth of 4.1%.
And once again I point out that in conditions when only the costs of food in the Union Minimum Basket amount to 13,909 MKD, there is a real need to increase the minimum wage to at least the amount needed to cover these costs which are necessary for survival and not for normal life.
I also emphasize that apart from raising the minimum wage, it is necessary to make a step-by-step increase of the wages as well.
The same employers who are constantly seeking help and subsidies from the state do not allow workers to join the unions. That is why I recommend to the employers not to be afraid of the unions and to allow unionization of their employees, in order to initiate dialogue and regulation of rights, but also obligations of workers and employers in accordance with the possibilities in individual collective agreements.