Moldova: Code of Conduct to eradicate the worst forms of child labour

Moldova: Code of Conduct to eradicate the worst forms of child labour


20 years after one of the most ambitious agricultural
reforms ever carried out in the former Soviet Union, Moldova’s farm sector is only now beginning
to recover. When the large Soviet-era farms were broken
up, thousands of jobs vanished along with them. Workers who lost their jobs had no choice
but to go abroad to try and earn money for their families. With many of the experienced workers working
abroad, the reliance on child labour, common in agriculture-based
economies, increased in Moldova. [Vladimir Cucereavii]
It is difficult to eliminate child labour because there are not enough farm workers. Unfortunately many people are working abroad. Because of that, in many places, children
are involved. Beginning in 1993, shortly after the agricultural
reform, Moldova ratified the ILO Conventions on the
elimination of child labour. [Sergiu Sainciuc]
By ratifying the international labour standards, along with support of the social partners and together with non-governmental organisations, the state recognized it has the obligation
to take measures to implement these standards. With support and funding from the ILO and
Norway, Moldova’s National Federation of Employers
in Agriculture and the Food Industry, known as F-N-P-A-I-A, worked with its members
to develop a Code of Conduct for employers. The Code gives employers practical methods to eradicate the worst forms of child labour, and helps them comply with national laws preventing
minors from working in their enterprises. [Alexandru Slusari]
The spirit of the Code emphasizes that agri-employers have a firm commitment to eliminate the worst forms of child labour
in agriculture. 1500 Moldovan employers, all members of the
FNPAIA, adopted the Code of Conduct in their own agri-businesses. [Dumitru Bocancea]
We took many concrete measures at our enterprise to comply with the Code. We improved the working conditions and the
workplaces, and we invested in modern equipment and machinery that is safer and more productive. The FNPAIA also did extensive awareness rising to make ordinary people aware of the need
for children to be in school and not in hazardous work. The campaign’s slogan: “A child’s place is at school, and a child’s
work is to study” became known all across Moldova. [Zinaida Gutsu]
I read the Code of Conduct. I know that children should be at school, and that they should not be forced to work. The Code provides an education framework that is suited for our children to learn and
the pride of their families. Many of Moldova’s employers are taking it
a step further. In Taraclia village, Dumitru Bocancea invested
in the local school, and contributed funding to a community center, where children at risk for child labour can
come after school. [Ecaterina Verstag]
These are children at risk. They are vulnerable. They come from single-parent families or from large families who need support of
the community. In the villages of Birladeni and Rujnita, FNPAIA member and enterprise manager Tatiana
Pavliuc is committed to improving the quality of life in her community. She invested in the repairing the local health
clinic, and is supporting the local school by buying
computers and helping pay for school lunch programs. Employers in Moldova know they need a skilled
workforce to operate the new modern farm machinery that makes their enterprises more productive. [Tatiana Pavliuc]
We need a qualified workforce in Moldova, not cheap labour. We need workers who can use computers and
operate modern machinery. Right now, if I buy a new machine, I need to hire a specialist to study it to
be able to operate and maintain it. [Marina Elevciuc]
Tatiana herself has been financially supporting some of our students to “grow” the specialists her enterprise
needs. She provides the financial support for them
to go to university, contingent that they will return to work in
their home village. Like Tatiana Pavliuc, the local trade union is also a firm supporter of the Code of Conduct for employers to eliminate the worst forms of child labour. [Stela Ciobanu]
The reaction of union members was positive. Everyone understands that by protecting children
against child labour today, we will have a healthier generation in the
future. [Anne Knowles]
Having employers involved in developing policies and working with educational institutions with regard to skills and experience and qualifications
that are needed, or bring together a holistic approach to ensure
that the scourge of the worst forms of child labour and not
apparent in any of the countries where the ILO works. The FNPAIA employers are focused on the future, thinking strategically about the importance
of eliminating the worst forms of child labour. [Alexandru Slusari]
We look at it from the long term perspective. Don’t look for short term gains with dubious
benefits by using cheap, unqualified labour. If we do that, in the next five or ten years
we could find ourselves in a situation where there are no qualified
workers in our rural areas. Working in partnership with government and
trade unions, Moldova’s employers are committed to eliminating the worst forms of child labour in agriculture,
and building a skilled, educated workforce to operate the new, productive technologies of modern farming, and to build a more prosperous future for
the entire society.

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