Baku, February 6, AZERTAC
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received a group of members of a delegation of international and foreign trade unions who are attending the 5th Congress of Azerbaijan Trade Unions Confederation.
President Ilham Aliyev thanked the delegation for participating in the Congress of Azerbaijan Trade Unions Confederation, and stressed that it demonstrates close mutual activities and solidarity among trade unions of Azerbaijan and international and foreign trade unions. The congress is always a product of a certain work and an opportunity to exchange ideas about the works already done and future tasks. The head of state noted that the outstanding tasks in this area are identical for everyone, and expressed his confidence that the issues to be discussed and decisions to be adopted at the congress will contribute to the successful development of Azerbaijan. President Ilham Aliyev said: "In every society, of course, including Azerbaijan the role of the trade unions is increasing. We are trying to ensure socially protected working conditions for citizens. This manifested itself in more than a five-time increase in salaries and working conditions in the past 15 years. Of course, constant control and problems demanding solution are also in the center of attention. This is first of all related to employment." Saying that the level of unemployment has been dramatically reduced to five per cent in Azerbaijan in recent years, the head of state described it as a great achievement. "Over the past 15 years the population has grown by 1.5 million people, and 1.4 million permanent jobs have been created. Therefore, such positive demographic dynamics, of course, force us to work actively to create new jobs in order to constantly keep the unemployment at the low level." President Ilham Aliyev emphasized that the creation of so many jobs is one of the great achievements of the state. President Ilham Aliyev said: "Taking into account scientific and technical progress, automation, development of advanced technologies, we now face a task of retraining".
"Today we are working on this. Also I think that it would be useful to exchange views on the issue of illegal employment. Both administrative and systematic measures are being taken to ensure registration of all those employed in Azerbaijan. Of course, simultaneously, strict control over the size of payment for labor as well as accountability are the focus of attention."
President Ilham Aliyev noted that it is impossible to address these issues only through trade unions, adding that both control and fiscal, tax, social protection and labor authorities should work together. The head of state expressed his confidence that the exchange of views to be held during the congress will be fruitful, and wished the congress success.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation, President of the International Trade Union Confederation Joao Antonio Felicio said: "Mr. President, taking this opportunity, first of all, I congratulate you on the achievements gained by Azerbaijan. We, as the International Trade Union Confederation, are very glad to participate in the congress held in your country."
He then highlighted the importance of trade unions` activities relating to employment against a background of complex global processes. He said a decrease in the number of trade unions in some countries is raising concerns. Joao Antonio Felicio stressed that the protection of rights of workers is one of the key tasks facing the International Trade Union Confederation. "On the other hand, the increasing number of world population is creating new challenges for preserving jobs. The growing gap between the rich and the poor in the world is another factor raising concern."
The president of the International Trade Union Confederation described migration as another pressing issue. "This is also a problem demanding a special solution." He noted that the ongoing conflicts in the world are affecting the welfare of people, especially of low-income groups. Joao Antonio Felicio said: "I am very glad to be in your beautiful city. I am thankful to my Azerbaijani counterparts for their contributions to the activities of the International Trade Union Confederation. Today the 5th Congress of Azerbaijan Trade Unions Confederation is kicking off in your country. I am hopeful that the participants of this event will share their views on how to address the tasks facing trade unions."
Vice-president of the International Trade Union Confederation, chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia Mikhail Shmakov said: "Dear Ilham Heydarovich, we are very glad to meet with you again. It is with great pleasure that we hail the progress and prosperity that you emphasized in your speech and that we encounter each time we come here and during congresses of Azerbaijan Trade Unions Confederation. Indeed, five percent unemployment is a great accomplishment. Of course, we would all want it to be even less. We very well remember the difficulties when one embarks on this work for the first time."
Mikhail Shmakov hailed fruitful mutual activities of Azerbaijani state bodies and trade unions. He said these activities contribute considerably to ensuring social and political stability in Azerbaijan, praising its achievements as an example for many countries. Mikhail Shmakov described illegal employment as one of the pressing problems. "Illegal employment is harming us and it doesn't let our economies develop more effectively. That is why we share a common position towards this issue. We should try to ensure that state laws are obeyed, first of all, everyone should be protected by the social system and on the other hand everyone should make his own contribution to the social system, so that he himself is protected. That is why your experience is an example. We will continue to cooperate with your government and trade unions."
Thanking for warm words and recognition of the works done in Azerbaijan, President Ilham Aliyev said: "Our aim is to improve the lives of our citizens, and make the government stronger and more successful. That is why all the economic reforms conducted in the country are regulated by a serious social policy." President Ilham Aliyev noted that these reforms yield fruits when there is public support. "That is why creation of jobs and decent conditions for workers is always on the agenda of our policy."
President Ilham Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan is carrying out an effective work in opening new jobs taking into account the very positive demographic dynamics. The head of state said the population has increased by 1.5 million over the past 15 years, adding that this growth tendency still continues. "This is an indicator of the developing economy. Our economy, the Gross Domestic Product has increased 3.2 times in the past 15 years. According to the latest assessment of Davos World Economic Forum, Azerbaijan is ranked 35th in the world for its competitiveness, and third among 80 developing countries. This demonstrates our country's potential."
President Ilham Aliyev said: "We can't be satisfied with these achievements because the situation in the world is changing. Instability, wars, conflicts, refugees, migration – these are evils for the individuals and the entire humanity." The head of state noted that Azerbaijan has been facing this problem for more than 20 years as the country was occupied and exposed to ethnic cleansing by Armenia. As a result of this occupation nearly one million Azerbaijanis became refugees and IDPs. President Ilham Aliyev said these people used to experience high levels of poverty and unemployment. "We managed to have reduced it dramatically. We have provided them with decent jobs and apartments. A total of 265,000 people were provided with housing. This process is ongoing."
Chairman of Azerbaijan Trade Unions Confederation Sattar Mehbaliyev said a medal was instituted on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Confederation. In accordance with the decision of the Executive Committee of the Confederation, he presented the first medal to President Ilham Aliyev in recognition of his role in encouraging the development of activities of trade unions.
President of Türk-Iş Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions Ergun Atalay presented a keepsake to the head of state.
Then a photo was taken.
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