8 june 2012

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev addresses a gathering to mark Social Workers Day

“Some 20 million people in Russia rely on the work you do every day,” the prime minister said, congratulating social workers on their professional holiday.

Transcript of Dmitry Medvedev’s address:

Dear friends, I am very glad to see you and express my best wishes on your professional holiday, Social Workers Day. You represent a large group, numbering some 500,000 people, who work at social services and institutions. I would like to start by thanking you for the difficult but highly important work you do, which is so important for so many of the country’s citizens. Some 20 million people in Russia rely on the work you do every day. Thank you all so much.

I wish you health, wellbeing and success in your work. Your profession is one that requires a commitment from the heart. Let’s be honest: you cannot do this work, with all the stress and the low wages, if you are indifferent. All of you follow your heart. But it doesn’t have to be this way, and we certainly must make every effort to provide the legal framework for your work and acceptable social conditions. Currently work is being done to finalise the draft law on the foundations of social services for public. I issued instructions to draft the law back in 2010, and the work is being finalised at last. The draft law should include regional initiatives and practical methods you use, as well as the experience in cooperating with businesses, non-commercial and volunteer organisations. The draft law stipulates common standards for social services to be secured in all regions, which is highly important in such a diverse country as Russia. I hope, this will make your work more efficient and up-to-date. And, certainly, everything should be done to make social workers aware of their importance as well as the significance and usefulness of their work. First of all it’s the issue of wages. The way to settle this issue is clear. It envisages a gradual increase in social workers’ wages to make them reach the region’s average within several years. I believe this is a highly important task and the government will have to seek funding for the purpose.

The prestige and importance of your profession should be promoted by competitions, such as the Social Service Institution Best Worker. This year, it was held for the second time, and I met with prize winners for the second time as well. We had a good and open conversation, with due understanding of the challenges you face and tasks to be addressed in the sector.

I know that people who have received high accolades – and I hope many of those present here will receive them as well someday – are people with very strong positive energy.

I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to the competition prize winners on their victory and the praise they have received, and to wish every success to everyone present here.

In conclusion, I would like to say once again: on behalf of those who pin their hopes on you, those who wait for you and who love you – thank you very much for your work! Congratulations on your professional holiday!