Moldova-Business-Sind, an affiliate organisation of StreetNet International, conducted the workshop “Together we promote gender equality in the world of work”, which was implemented in the frameworks of the FLOW Project (Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women). This was held during the last week of October 2013 in Chisinau, Moldova.
Representatives of Trade Union "SindLUCAS” have been also invited to this workshop in the capacity of partners. The aim of the workshop was to raise awareness of union members, members of Women Councils, union activists working in informal economy sector on such topics as: organizing around work, advocacy, bargaining/negotiating, organisational development and gender equality.
Women working in the informal sector of the economy, as well as street vendors and domestic workers are faced with a growing number of problems related to labor relations. This occurs also because in this area there is not sufficient forces wishing to establish a trade union that would protect the social and labor rights.
The workshop’s task was to raise awareness of the principle of gender equality, equal opportunities for women – members of the Trade Union Federation “Moldova business sind" and the union "SindLUCAS", as well as greater involvement of women in social dialogue, recruiting new members to the union and the creation of trade unions in the informal sector.
The workshop was attended by 32 participants (29 women and 3 men), who were representatives of street and market workers, domestic workers, leaders of trade union organisations of different country’s districts and members of the trade union women’s committees. The workshop program was based on the work in small groups, in which the participants discussed concrete cases (examples) of discrimination against women in labor relations in the workplace. Each group was tasked to analyse the situation of women in their organisations in various aspects of their activities and accordingly to find proper ways to solve these issues, based on international and local laws, as well as taking into account the experience of other countries in the issue of achieving gender equality.
Workshop participants were familiarised with the basics of collective bargaining negotiations and inclusion of these provisions on equal opportunities of women in the workplace in the collective agreements.
Facilitators of the workshop – Natalia Suboci, the Chairwoman of the Trade Union Federation «Moldova-Business-Sind" and Valentyna Mazur, the Chairwoman of the Trade Union "SindLUCAS" provided the participants of the workshop with training materials prepared by the Street Net and held a series of practical exercises and business games on a given topic. The participants of the workshop were tasked to develop certain provisions of collective agreements on gender equality and additional benefits for women working in the labor conditions of the street, the market, small businesses in the informal sector.
They meant the particularities of female hygiene, reproductive health, additional paid leave for pregnancy, childbirth and child care. Besides, the issues of payment quality for women and their accessibility to the leadership positions at various levels, as well as the opportunity to participate equally with men in economic and political life of the country have been discussed at the workshop.
Particular attention was paid to the issue of recruiting new members to the trade union and the creation of new trade unions in the informal sector, especially among street and market workers, and among domestic workers. All participants came to the conclusion that only by establishing trade unions, joining forces of informal workers can seek to improve the status of women in the field, through negotiation with employers and local authorities. During the workshop the examples from StreetNet Manuals have been used by the facilitators, as well as some specific examples from own practice in different parts of the country. Workshop participants developed an action plan for 2013 – 2014 on recruiting new members to the union, which included lists of potential companies that will be used for conducting recruitment of new members to the union.
Mr. Petru Chiriac, the Deputy Chairman of the National Confederation of Trade Unions of Moldova also attended the workshop who is also a member of the Commission on Gender Equality of the Government of the Republic of Moldova. Petru Chiriac briefed the participants on the national and international practices in gender equality, as well as introduced the work of the Confederation in the issue of recruiting of new members to the trade union and the creation of new trade union organization, collective bargaining and the fight for the social rights of workers.
The conclusions of the workshop can be noted that the participants were given methodical material for the purpose of collective bargaining, and have developed specific items to be included in collective bargaining agreements, to improve the status of women in their hard work and providing them with opportunities to implement themselves on an equal level with men in the various areas. Participants also were armed with new methods of work on the issue of recruiting new members to the union. Participants positively estimated the activity and expressed their gratitude to the StreetNet International as well as to the Dutch government for the project FLOW.