President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, friends.
We met with some of you in St Petersburg last year. I am very happy to see this tradition of contacts between heads of state and government and world trade union leaders continue.
Last year, as you may know, we organised a meeting of labour and finance ministers. Unfortunately, this year our host Australia did not arrange meetings in this format. Nevertheless, Australia remains true to tradition and has placed the employment issue on the agenda.
Naturally, we all proceed from the notion that it is impossible to find cardinal solutions to employment issues without the participation of trade unions. In Russia, we maintain regular close contacts with our leading trade unions within the framework of a trilateral commission. We have already signed more than 190 labour agreements covering over 90 percent of the working population.
We also have great plans in this area. We have set ourselves the task of creating 25 million up-to-date jobs. Unemployment in Russia is at a relatively low level of 5.2 percent.
In short, I am very happy to see you and to hear your views regarding our joint efforts and the organisation of cooperation.