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Act of Launch Tripartite Dialogue for the Reform and Modernization of the Labor Code

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to welcome you to this event through which we begin a new stage in the dialogue process with a view to reforming and modernizing the regulations of our labor market. As we all know, any development strategy depends on the capacity of the economic system to generate quality jobs, which in turn largely depends on the current rules of the game. We are therefore facing a transcendent event, the results of which will have a decisive influence on the future evolution of Dominican society.

El Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC) feels honored to become the headquarters for the work of this stage of the Dialogue, which represents a task clearly in tune with its commitment to social contribution, which we enthusiastically undertake. We are committed to honoring the trust placed in us, through balanced and constructive moderation. At the same time, we are proud to know that we are giving continuity to the contribution of the universities to the discussion of this issue, since I cannot fail to emphasize that the discussions that generated the current regulations were carried out under the auspices of a sister institution, the Pontifical University Catholic Mother and Teacher.

And it is that any reform process to the Dominican labor regulations must begin with an acknowledgment of the immeasurable contribution that our Labor Code has given us. For two decades, this Labor Code has been an essential instrument for the harmonious coexistence between employers and workers, and I do not think it is an exaggeration to affirm that its provisions have been the basis for the strengthening of a political and social stability that, despite its limitations, we Dominicans must value. It was a visionary piece, which guaranteed conquests of the workers while allowing a process of business expansion over the years.

Predictably, however, the passage of time has revealed opportunities for improvement that we have an obligation to explore, and if we are here, it is because we believe that this is possible and desirable. The challenge ahead is to reform our regulations in such a way as to guarantee valuable objectives for each of the parties: more employment and better wages for workers; and more productivity and higher growth for companies.

This act has been preceded by several actions, which began with the issuance of Presidential Decree 286-13, by means of which the President of the Republic appointed a Commission for the task of presenting reform proposals for labor standards. In fulfillment of that mandate, said Commission carried out a commendable work of reflection and put on the table several ideas that now, although they are not binding on the sectors, constitute a starting point of great value. On that basis, the technical team of the Ministry of the Presidency worked on the elaboration of new proposals that could be put on the dialogue table, while the sectors involved maintained an informal communication, with a view to organizing a final stage of conversations. which is precisely the one we started at this moment.

Let me briefly describe the working methodology that will be followed. The dialogue has a tripartite character, with the government serving as an element of neutrality and consensus between the business and union parties. Each of the three sectors has appointed a group of representatives, who will be meeting as of tomorrow and as many times as necessary, with the intention of completing the work in a reasonable time.

The nature of the issues makes it necessary to move forward with determination, but with caution. The parties have already identified articles that will remain unchanged and, at the same time, have expressed the intention of openly discussing the rest of the articles. In a spirit of good faith, they have also undertaken to maintain a constructive attitude that contributes to the strengthening of mutual trust. The rules of conversation ensure that whatever the result, it must be positive for each of the parties, since no decision will be adopted that does not have the approval of the actors involved. All these conditions give confidence that we will achieve satisfactory results, as has happened in other processes in which the maturity of our society has managed to overcome the pitfalls and difficulties that arise along the way.

To end my words, I want to express my personal thanks to the Minister of the Presidency, Mr. Gustavo Montalvo, and to the business and union sectors, for allowing me to contribute to the moderation of this process. This represents a challenge that I assume with the best spirit, counting on the good intentions of the government, with the good faith of the parties and, when I feel that things are tightening and exceeding my capabilities ... with the wise advice of our Monsignor Agripino Núñez Collado. For the good of the country, I ask all sectors to face the task with enthusiasm, aware of the commitment they have to our nation. Thank you very much!