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As part of the celebration of 1st of May in 2011 - International Labor Day, the Federation of Trade Unions of Macedonia CCM launched a campaign - an initiative to start negotiations with the social partners to establish the minimum wage, or a Law on minimum wage in Macedonia…

CCM believes that setting of the minimum wage will provide material security for workers and will be a strong incentive for more efficient performance of their duties, which will have a positive impact on the total economy.

At the request of CCM, the minimum wage initiative was discussed at the Economic - Social Council. It was welcomed and fully accepted by the social partners. Working groups were established by representatives of social partners with the task to reconcile the views and make proposals for the optimal amount of the minimum wage.

At the sixth session of Economic and Social Council the minimum wage is set to 8.050 denars (130 euros) or 12.265 denars (199 euros) in gross amount. Fixed level of the minimum wage refers to the basic salary for full-time and normal output, i.e. the amount does not include salary supplements, and if there is a basis for payment, the specified amount is added. Because of the sensitivity of activities such as production of textiles, leather and clothing, the social partners have agreed to ensure the compliance period in which the suggested amount will be reached. It was also agreed that the minimum wage does not apply to self-employed persons, in order to protect certain industries such as handicrafts and agriculture.

Economic and Social Council agreed to propose to the Government to oblige the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to submit a proposal for the Law on minimum wage no later than October 30 - and the law to be adopted by year's end.

The minimum wage is discussed at the sessions of the CCM bodies during the negotiations in the Economic and Social Council ant their position was that the proposed amount of minimum wage is acceptable, as negotiations continue for a higher amount of the minimum wage, given that it is not a static category. Namely, a rise of wages will increase the amount of the minimum wage or its alignment parameters will be set according to economic growth and costs of living.

The proposal for minimum wage was discussed at the closing session of the Government and it approved the proposal of the ESC for minimum wage. On 10.01.2011 was held a joint press conference with Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, Minister of Labor and Social Policy Spiro Ristovski, who is also Chairman of the Economic and Social Council, other government ministers, leaders of trade unions and representative employers’ organizations, where the amount of the agreed minimum wage was presented.

Government entrusted the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to prepare a draft Law on minimum wage within three months. The application of this Act shall commence on January 1, 2012.

On the occasion of the Agreement for minimum wage in Macedonia, for information of the membership of unions affiliated in CCM, there was a special press conference held on 04.10.2011. The press conference was attended by the leadership of CCM and observed by almost all national media.

At the  press conference the president of CCM Zivko Mitrevski expressed his satisfaction with the results achieved by determining of the minimum wage, which is a historic act for the trade unions and general trade union movement in Macedonia. This is particularly important because more than 65.000 employees, whose salary is below the agreed minimum wage will get higher and more secure incomes. Undoubtedly the minimum wage will impact on increasing of the living standards of workers and citizens of Macedonia, and will prevent negative phenomena, such as the informal economy and poverty. In fact this will be benefit for all entities in the state.

ILO Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities - EU FRIEDRICH EBERT STIFTUNG Организацијa на работодавачи на Македонија etuc