In his welcome speech the Macedonian Minister of Health, Venko Filipce, emphasized the importance of a functioning social dialogue at sectoral level. As a result of such a social dialogue, the minister announced an overall increase in salaries in April. In his view, regional cooperation among health trade unions is very important. North Macedonia stipulated bilateral social security agreements with all its neighbors.
One of the main problems that was identified in the following discussion is the general passivity of members of trade unions in the health sector (but not only there). The problem was partially traced back to the former political system in the region, where only one trade union existed in the sector and which worked rather bureaucratic and without an actual need for active members. Furthermore the participants identified the following reasons for the wide spread inactivity: The abuse of union functions and consequently distrust of union officials; political affiliation and influence of political parties on unions; a lack of structural reforms in the unions; an unclear difference between members and nonmembers; also union members feel not sufficiently informed about important issues. The further discussion also showed that young and older members set different priorities.
As a result of the conference the present trade unions agreed to use the Health Forum more intensively to share best practices and experiences with this rather pressing issue.