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In Panel, representatives of the Ministries of Labor highlight the importance of a social and labor agenda of Mercosur

Friday, November 24, 2006

During the 4th Mercosur Supreme Court Meeting, the representatives of the Ministries of Labor underscored the importance of a common agenda among Mercosur countries to guarantee workers' rights in the region. This was the main concern raised by the speakers in the III Panel: "The current agenda of the Mercosur socio-labor agenda", held in the early afternoon of this Friday (24/).

The panel was chaired by the Vice-President of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Argentine Nation, Elena Highton de Nolasco, and was re-elected by Professor Reginaldo Braga Acuri.

The first speaker of the bureau, the deputy minister of Labor, Employment and Social Security of the Republic of Argentina, Noemi Rial, said that in the 1990s the region was taken by an economist paradigm that, as a primordial idea, for economic growth, relativized the importance of job creation."The consequence of this is also that labor law was also relativized in this integration process," said Noemi Rial.

According to the Argentine deputy minister of Labor, in recent years there has been a paradigm shift, with the aim of seeking full enforcement of the rights of Mercosur workers. "That is why the notion of normative leadership can not be focused only on aspects of legal applicability, but also from its political dimension and the concretization of the finalist principle that already contains: the social justice," Noemi Rial said.

The Deputy Minister Noemi Rial stressed the importance of the social and labor declaration of Mercosur, as commitment of the member countries to put the work in a prominent place. In her presentation, Noemi Rial highlighted the struggle in the region to eradicate child labor.

The Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Security of Uruguay, Jorge Bruni, said that, in order to move forward, it is necessary to recognize the difficulties of the formation of Mercosur, which is only 15 years old. He cited as the type of difficulties, the unilateral or bilateral decisions of member countries.

For Jorge Bruni, social - and social work - is the aspect that most unites the countries of Mercosur. For him, this union has to go through common political strategies. "We can not think of just societies with only a national vision. If we think of a national vision, fragmentation will be the result. I believe that this can not occur, "Bruni said.

The Uruguayan Deputy Minister of Labor said that it is necessary to have "autentic realism" in the constitution of the agendas of the topics under discussion in Mercosur, that they no longer be declaratory, so that it contributes to improve the integration.

In his speech, the executive secretary of the Ministry of Labor and Employment of Brazil, Marco Antonio de Oliveira, initially discussed the actions of the federal government in the area of employment, such as the articulation of social policies, efforts to create jobs for young people and women and also the fight against the eradication of child labor in the country.

The representative said that in Mercosur there is already a "unanimous recognition" to improve the quality of life of workers in the region. "For us, the socio-labor agenda is giving due importance to social and labor standards, often placed in the background in the commercial and economic aspects that have prevailed in the process of regional integration," he said.

The representative of the Brazilian government listed four points that should be part of this common agenda: a) the emphasis on promoting decent work; (B) promoting quality employment; C) the extension of social protection standards to those who are unprotected outside the formal labor market; D) finally, the promotion of social dialogue as a fundamental tool for the construction and management of public employment policies.

The Executive Secretary of the Ministry said that the evaluation of the national employment plans of the region must be articulated with the common guidelines of the countries that integrate Mercosur. "The strategy of employment growth is therefore for us the great opportunity to reactivate the actions of integration of our economies and search for better living conditions for the population of the countries of the economic bloc," he said.

Finally, the secretary general of the Coordinator of Trade Union Centrals of the Southern Cone, Valdir Vicente de Barros, thanked the invitation to attend the event. He gave a brief history of the birth of the Coordinator, founded 20 years ago to fight against the military regimes and the region's external debt.

Valdir Vicente said that the Coordinator's performance was vanguard, for anticipating innumerable situations. "Our position of struggle, of participation and of actuality, is already part of our tradition. The socio-labor agenda is a vital space for effective integration and for the development of our region.

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