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Joint statement signed by Labour ministers of Romania, Germany regarding intensification of cooperation in labour market



The minister of Labour and Social Protection, Violeta Alexandru, and her German counterpart, Hubertus Heil, have signed a joint statement of intention regarding the intensification of cooperation in the domain of the labour market and social policies, announced, on Wednesday, the Labour and Social Protection Ministry.

"The first thing that I discussed with the minister refers to the way in which the seasonal activity in Germany is taking place, namely the activity in key domains in which Romanians bring an important contribution, recognized and appreciated by my colleague, Mr. minister Heil, for which I thank him. I received the assurance that the Romanian workers come to Germany with contracts sent by employers, but surely we must do more in regards to the contents of these contracts. I had the full openness of minister Heil to respond firmly to all complaints received from citizens that work in seasonal activities," said the Labour and Social Protection minister, Violeta Alexandru.

She mentioned that she encouraged the Romanian workers in the farms she has visited in Germany to make complaints when their rights are infringed, to come in the support of the authorities that can check these aspects, according to a release of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection.

In his turn, the Federal Minister for Labour and Social Affairs of Germany, Hubertus Heil, appreciated that the working visit of his Romanian counterpart shows the importance of the subject, but also the commitment of the two governments to discuss a joint approach.

"I know that these conditions of health and security of Romanian workers in Germany are a big problem in Romania. And for good reason. The mass infection of Romanian workers is unacceptable. It brings us shame! The Romanian workers should have the same right to social protection and security and work health," said the German minister.

According to the quoted release, following discussions, the two dignitaries established that it is in the interest of both ministries to intensify cooperation in the realm of labour market policies and identify new means of cooperation in the realm of social protection.

The main cooperation domains identified by the two officials target work health and security and the social protection of all groups of mobile workers, as well as their access to counseling services regarding their rights in the realm of labour and social legislation.

"The ministers of Labor of the two states target a tighter cooperation in the realm of social security, at the bilateral and EU level, in order to ensure adequate social and health protection to mobile workers and in order to establish an exchange of information regarding cases referring to the labour force which may appear especially in situations with a high level of vulnerability in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the document signed by the two dignitaries establishes the exchange of information regarding the national and international events in Romania and Germany and the creation of working groups to adapt the policies of social protection in the two countries, as well as the promotion of the social bilateral dialogue between social partners. The two institutions are to elaborate a working plan, and the activities which will take place on the basis of the joint statement of intention will be financed by each ministry, by other public or private legal entities involved in activities, including by European funds," the Labour Ministry notes.

The Romanian Labour minister also spoke, during her trip to Germany, with Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Julia Klockner, whom she met on Monday.

In this context, both ministers agreed that there should be no compromises or differences between foreign and German workers in what regards housing, health and security at the job and that all seasonal workers should benefit from the same rights as German workers, rights guaranteed by the work contracts.

Furthermore, the two dignitaries showed that the recent infringements of the law and the intolerable conditions in which some Romanian seasonal workers had to work in certain meat processing units are completely unacceptable.

The minister of Labour and Social Protection, Violeta Alexandru, has emphasized that it is important that Romanian seasonal workers who work in Germany be guaranteed their social rights and support, for example in the case of the companies closing or in case of getting sick. Furthermore, the Romanian dignitary said that regular verifications of work and life conditions is indispensable and proposed the establishment of a technical work group.

On the same subject, minister Julia Klockner gave assurances that the competent authorities in the federal states will cooperate even closer as part of their inspections in the future, in order to remedy eventual problems which may appear.

At the same time, the Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture mentioned that the Federal Government will do all that is possible to improve the life and work conditions of seasonal workers.

Labour Minister Violeta Alexandru conducted on Monday and Tuesday a working visit to Germany in order to see what are the problems the Romanian workers face there in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.