Annex to Collective Agreement for Culture Signed

26. November 2020  •    Further

ilustration The annex allowing a 100% compensation of the salary in case of COVID-19 infection was signed by the representatives of trade unions of culture and the authorities.
This extremely important addition to the branch collective agreement provides the employees with 100% salary, which is calculated on the basis of the average salary they earned in 12 months preceding the month when a temporary impediment to work due to the confirmed COVID-19...

Unlawful dismissals in Austrian “Zumtobel”

22. November 2020  •    Further

ilustration The number of dismissed workers has risen to 19, as the company tries to justify its move by the effects of the corona virus pandemic. The unions reacted immediately insisting on the obligation of employers not to dismiss anyone after receiving financial assistance from the government. They reject the employers’ explanation saying they employed more workers than it was stipulated by an agreement signed with the government and point out to 7,500 euros the government granted to company for each new work place.

Kosovo and Metohija: Workers’ Struggle Goes On

18. November 2020  •    Further

ilustration Struggle against the violation of workers’ rights and the exploitation can never be totally obfuscated by the nationalist rhetoric. Confronted with rapacious local politicians plundering for years the ex-workers property in Serbian southern Autonomous Province, the trade union of Kosovo postal and Telecom employees (PTK) organized an impressive rally in front of the provincial government and asked for the unblocking of the company’s bank account and payment of all outstanding wages.

Air Serbia: 20% of the Staff to Be Dismissed

15. November 2020  •    Further

ilustration On November 10, the management informed the staff about a new program of voluntary retirement, promising a redundancy package better than one prescribed by the Labour Law. At the same time, they announced a decrease in salaries from December to March next year, the exact amount of which would vary depending on the position held in the company. Although the news is still to be officially confirmed, the calculations hinting at 300 redundancies have already been made.

Digital Work: Freelancers’
Protest against the New Tax

10. November 2020  •    Further

ilustration The protest letter dealing with the retroactive payment of taxes and a regulation of the freelancers’ status, was handed over to the Ministry of Finance. The employees’ association is rather new – it was established only last month, after the Tax Department had announced that all those who had been paid by foreign clients for their work via Internet, would have to pay taxes and contributions to social funds for last five years!

Urgent Need to Improve Regulation of Telework

5. November 2020  •    Further

ilustration Although the number of employees working from home in Serbia has been constantly growing and is currently three times higher than at the outbreak of the pandemic, the telework has not been regulated so far. In a recent interview, the well-known expert in labour relations, employed in the Institute of Social Sciences, Nada Novakovic, spoke about difficulties that the lack of regulation implied and the possibility of amending the existing Labour Law.

Risk of Poverty Rate in Serbia 23.2% in 2019

28. October 2020  •    Further

ilustration Not long ago we celebrated the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, with 130 million persons added to the existing list of 690 million already suffering from hunger. At the same time, the risk of poverty rate (or social exclusion rate) in Serbia in 2019 reached the appalling 23.2%, However, some optimism was brought by the fact that it was 1.1% less than a year before, according to the Republic Statistical Office.

What is the Real Number of Unemployed in Serbia

20. October 2020  •    Further

ilustration Mario Reljanovic, our famous expert in labour relations, has recently commented on the fact that, according to a Government inquiry, the number of unemployed decreased by 87,400 in the second semester of this year. It’s true, he says, that certain number of doctors and nurses were employed during the Covid-19 crisis, but it’s also a fact that many unemployed who lost their job were not registered in the Central Register, due to the informal nature of their work.

Corona Crisis: One in Five Young Worker
Got Their Wage Reduced

9. October 2020  •    Further

ilustration The majority of them (one third) work in the private sector, which was badly affected by the pandemic. On the other hand, only 11% of them were granted an increase, reads the resume of an inquiry conducted by the CATUS in six ex-YU countries - a fact highly predictable in a region with poor social dialogue and everlasting employers’ hegemony.

President Orbovic on Employers’ Greed

9. October 2020  •    Further

Ljubisav Orbović Wages in Serbia could be higher if the employers were ready to share a part of their profit with the employees, said Orbovic on the occasion of the World Day of Decent Work celebration in Belgrade.
Part of his analysis was dedicated to the rhythm of growth of workers’ and employers’ income showing a highly disturbing trend.

VINCI Airports-Belgrade:
Inhumane Treatment of Workers

6. October 2020  •    Further

Airport VINCI The absence of social dialogue might lead to a strike at Belgrade airport, said the trade union representatives. A few days ago the company management informed workers that those whose work contracts expire at the end of October will lose their jobs. The decision, reasoned by a “decline in business activity”, was followed by a social program intended for those willing to resign voluntarily.

“Zastava Arms”: Dismissal of Managers
Due to Trade Union Affiliation

30. September 2020  •    Further

logo In an announcement of the Autonomous Trade Union in “Zastava Arms” (affiliated to the CATUS) it is said that workers condemned the decisions related to the dismissal of managers in the production (a director and two other managers) and were ready to prevent further harassment of employees and trade union members.

ILO/EBRD assessment: Coronavirus crisis cost
Serbia equivalent to 510.000 full-time jobs

18. September 2020  •    Further

FIAT In Serbia, the coronavirus pandemic has led to a decline in working hours during the second quarter of 2020, equivalent to the loss of 510,000 full-time jobs. However, by offering the most generous and comprehensive economic package among the Western Balkan economies, the Serbian government contained “the expansion of poverty”, according to the new rapid assessment report, joint work of the ILO and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Workers of FIAT in Workshop Again

8. September 2020  •    Further

FIAT Workers don’t know how long they will be working, but at the moment there is some work to be done. They are coming back after a paid leave and collective annual leave. However, it is not known how many days they’ll spend in the production hall. What we do know is that the factory management is authorised by the government to send workers to a paid leave till the end of the current month.

Drakulic: Mass Dismissals Could Lead to Social Unrest

5. September 2020  •    Further

Zoran Drakulić President of the Employers’ Club “Privrednik”, Zoran Drakulic, made some interesting comments on the minimum wage negotiation process and warned about dangers we might face during the painful recovery period. He said he was aware that we are in the middle of an extremely serious crisis, exacerbating employers’ feeling of anxiety and fears of what future might bring.

State-Sponsored Minimum Wage
Payments Are Coming to an End

3. September 2020  •    Further

ilustration Serbian Minister of Finance, Mali, announced that the last payment, amounting to 18,000 dinars (150 euros) will be made on September 8. Meant at mitigating the hard consequences of the corona-virus pandemic, it will be paid to more than one million workers, employed in 235,000 enterprises. It’s the second payment within the last of the two “assistance packages”, each payment equaling 60% of the statutory minimum salary.

No Agreement on Minimum Wage
after First Round of Talks

29. August 2020  •    Further

ilustration As negotiations among the representatives of trade unions, employers’ association and government ended up without success, a new round starting on September 1 has been announced. According to domestic regulation, the talks should be over by September 15 and their failure would trigger government action and a special law on the subject. Currently, round 350,000 people in Serbia live on the minimum wage.

New Trends in Investment and
Employment in Serbia

25. August 2020  •    Further

ilustration In the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia they are of the opinion that the country will benefit from West European investors’ plans to safeguard their supply chains by transferring production from non-European countries to Europe. Because of their comparative advantages, the West Balkan markets might be of special interest for them.
Generally speaking, the investments in Serbia have not fallen down to a level which might cause anxiety.

Future of Pensions Hard to Predict

17. August 2020  •    Further

ilustration Serbian pensioners still stick to the promise of President Vucic given during the electoral campaign and hope that after a long period of fiscal consolidation (2014-2019), when pensions were first reduced and then “frozen”, they won’t be subject to some new government restrictive measures again. Vucic namely promised that “Serbia will pass through corona crisis more smoothly than other countries, without reduction of pensions and salaries in public sector”.

Debate on the Efficiency of the 100 Euro Gift

10. August 2020  •    Further

ilustration Debate on the efficiency of the “gift” (100 euros) the government gave to all full-of-age citizens before the elections, is still going on. Having in mind that the national GDP might contract by 3% this year and army of unemployed increased by new 30,000 to 50,000 members, its rationality is really controversial.

Government Keeps on Helping Private Companies

3. August 2020  •    Further

ilustration During first phase of the pandemic, the government assistance to companies – meant to help them heal worst consequences of the economic crisis - was given indiscriminately. This time, it will be given only to small and medium enterprises. The former are those worth not more than 4 million euros, earning up to 8 million euros a year and having less than 50 workers. The latter are the ones whose value is not exceeding 20 million euros, with the profit up to 40 million euros and staff limited to 250 workers.

Full Salary for COVID-19 Sick Leave,
Regulate Work from Home

28. July 2020  •    Further

ilustration As COVID-19 epidemic opened up the issue of sick leave/furlough bonus, as well as the need to regulate more frequent work from home, representative of trade union confederations agree that rules of the game need to be determined.
Vice-President of the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia, Duško Vuković, says that the amount of bonus is the biggest problem in case somebody gets infected. In the whole of public sector, he says, this bonus amounts to 100% of salary, except for the sector of culture.

FIAT: Paid Leave All Summer Long

22. July 2020  •    Further

ilustration Since July 21, 2020 workers of FIAT Chrysler Serbia have been on paid leave which will be linked to their collective annual leave, meaning they won’t come back to the factory till the beginning of September.
As paid leave had been approved by the Government, it is to be seen whether the workers will keep on resting even after September because it all depends on the the automobile industry market where the situation doesn’t look bright.

The 16th CATUS Congress Was Held

1. July 2020  •    Further

16th Congress On June 30th, 2020 in the Trade Union House the 16th Congress of the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia was held. Congress was attended by 296 delegates and around 150 guests. All the preparations were done with due respect of protective measures and physical distance.
Congress of the oldest and largest trade union confederation, which marks its 117th anniversary, conveyed a joint message Experience with us, Future ahead of us!

Government Introduce
New Employment-Increasing Measures

25. June 2020  •    Further

ilustration At a meeting held with representatives of the employers, the new government program “My first salary”, aimed at increasing employment of the youth, was presented by the Prime Minister, Brnabic, Minister of Finance, Mali, President of the Chamber of Commerce, Cadez and Director of the National Employment Service, Martinovic. By partially covering employers’ costs for wages, the government will help young people overcome the most difficult moment in their professional caree...

Serbia Wouldn’t Survive Another Lockdown

22. June 2020  •    Further

ilustration The second wave of corona virus epidemic with a repetition of all things we’ve already seen (closure of factories and shops, quarantines and a broad lockdown) would have much more serious repercussions on Serbian economy than the first one. Asked to give their judgment on that issue the experts are almost unanimous: a come-back of the corona virus would bring us mass dismissals and a considerable reduction of wages.

Is the “Short-Time Working” Coming to Serbia as Well?

8. June 2020  •    Further

o drzavnoj pomoci poslodavcima u krizi The corona crisis has negatively affected all the world's economies and they are now looking for the ways that might help them return to the old levels of production, as quickly and as safely as possible. In the neighboring Croatia, they are seriously considering the German model of "Kurzarbeit", i.e. a reduced working week, which helped many work places there to survive.

Minimum Wage for
One Million Serbian Workers

3. June 2020  •    Further

isplata minimalca u preduzecima pogodjenim krizom Tomorrow the government will start to pay out minimum wages (30.000 dinars i.e. 254 euros) to one million employees working in Serbian SMEs. The money (32 billion dinars i.e. 271.186 million euros, in total) will be deposited to the accounts of 232.000 companies. The initial payment was made at the beginning of May and the third will follow the first week of July. All payments will cost the government more than 800 million euros, the money being a part of a huge 5.1 billion euro plan aimed at rescuing Serbian economy.

Repatriates from EU
Put Pressure on Wages and Employment

1. June 2020  •    Further

ilustration More than 400,000 Serbian workers left their jobs in EU countries and came back to Serbia following the outbreak of the corona virus epidemic.
Last year, according to the World Bank estimates, our employees working abroad remitted 4,16 billion dollars to Serbia, which was enough to cover two thirds of its foreign trade deficit and more than enough to considerably raise the living standard of the recipients

More than 400,000
Serbian Workers Returned to Serbia

28. May 2020  •    Further

ilustration The strongest economies in the euro-zone (and at the same time the most important trade partners of Serbia) have been severely hit by the corona virus pandemic. In Germany and Austria, where around 750,000 Serbian citizens live and work, the economy has been at a stand-still for almost two months and the unemployment increased by more than 10%

200.000 or 7.000 Lost Jobs in Serbia?

15. May 2020  •    Further

ilustration An analysis made by SeConS Group and Friedrich Ebert Foundation has shown that 200.000 Serbian workers (many of them working in informal sector and as self-employed) lost their jobs during the pandemic and the state of emergency. The research was made on a sample of 1.600 people who still worked in February this year.
Half of them were dismissed because their company stopped working and one quarter because they were not offered a new contract after the expiry of the previous one.

FIAT Chrysler Serbia Asks for Additional
80 Days Paid Leave for Workers

15. May 2020  •    Further

ilustration As journalists were told by the Autonomous Trade Union in the company (affiliated to the CATUS), the fact that company asked for an additional leave for workers in Kragujevac factory, could mean they hoped the leave, which was supposed to last till May 18, might be prolonged almost till autumn.

Every Fifth Citizen in Difficult Financial Situation

14. May 2020  •    Further

ilustration While 40% of Serbian citizens said they didn’t need any help in the critical situation caused by the pandemic of corona virus, more than a half, precisely 55% expressed their need to get financial aid, shows the research conducted by the MASMI – the international agency for market and public opinion research.
A half of population able to work and older than 16 (with students and pensioners who are not working left out of the count), were in a way influenced by the spread of corona virus.

Opposing Estimates on Current Economic Situation

6. May 2020  •    Further

ilustration Judging by the official data, Serbian economy has survived the first wave of corona pandemic, while the manufacturing industry has even registered some growth. In a statement issued recently, the Chamber of Commerce seemed to be convinced that the economic activities would be brought back to normality by mid-May. Out of 130,000 employees sent to forced leaves at the peak of the crisis, they said, 42,000 have already been back to their work places in more than 40 companies and the number will grow with a progressive...

New Discontent of JURA Workers in Niš

30. April 2020  •    Further

ilustration The notorious South-Korean company producing spare parts for cars keeps on tirelessly violating Serbian labour and sanitary legislation. Although they are back to work after a short industrial action, workers are still dissatisfied.
In spite of the strict sanitary and hygienic rules issued by the City of Nis Crisis Headquarter, which stipulate a maximum of 50 workers per 5,000 square meters and a minimum distance of 2 meters among them, the employer is stubbornly massing people in a narrow and airless space.

FCA Serbia Asks for Additional 40 Days Off

30. April 2020  •    Further

ilustration After exhausting the quota of 45 days off, guaranteed by the domestic legislation, the management of FCA Serbia asked Serbian government for a new, 40-days break. The reason is obvious (epidemic of COVID-19) and the demand rather convincing, especially because the workers would be remunerated according to the law. Last year, the FCA already stopped production after getting government’s consent for additional 87 days off.

Experts Do not Approve of the
Entire Government’s Rescue Plan

28. April 2020  •    Further

ilustration Although the economists mostly supported government crisis measures, some of them have already been severely criticized. Primarily, the decision to pay out of the budget a sum of 100 euros to all full of age citizens is under attack. So far, no one knows who precisely will be entitled to the donation, i. e. does it cover or not Serbian citizens abroad. The majority in the Fiscal Council is convinced that government did not give enough reasons for such payment.

No Dismissals in Assisted Companies!

24. April 2020  •    Further

ilustration Yesterday, Serbian Minister of Finance, Mali, announced the government’s readiness to activate the Development Fund and start assisting companies-victims of the COVID-19 crisis. Those having interest in that are invited to send their requests for help, while the government experts are preparing a legal framework for crediting (mostly) micro, small and medium entreprises.

Is There Anyone to Finally
Teach JURA a Lesson?

9. April 2020  •    Further

ilustration One of the latest scandals in Serbia is the day-to-day toppling of workers’ rights in South Korean company JURA, which has its factory in the city of Leskovac. After trying many times to make contacts with the management and alarm the Labour Inspection, CATUS had to turn to the COVID-19 Crisis Headquarters. President Orbovic informed them that severe restrictions imposed on all territory of Serbia and almost entire population obviously had no impact...

Serbian Government: Program of
Anti-Crisis Measures

6. April 2020  •    Further

On March 31, 2020 the Government of the Republic of Serbia published the Program of Measures Aimed at Reducing Negative Effects of the Corona Virus and Supporting Serbian Economy (hereinafter: Program), which was explained by the Finance Minister, Siniša Mali.

Economic Measures to Fight
the Effects of the Epidemic

31. March 2020  •    Further

ilustration President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, said that because of the epidemic of corona virus the government will soon take economic measures necessary for overcoming of the crisis. Everything possible will be done to prevent the dismissals, while all small entrepreneurs will be getting a financial help equal to national minimum wage (250 euros) during next three months.

Employers’ Obligations
during the State of Emergency

26. March 2020  •    Further

ilustration Government’s decree on this subject, fixing the concrete obligations such as health protection of employees, telework, work from home and ban on business travels, was published in the “Official Gazette”, a few days ago.
During the state of emergency the employers need to organize work outside the usual work place, whenever it’s possible and according to the Labour Law and work contracts.

CATUS: “It’s Time for Solidarity!”

20. March 2020  •    Further

ilustration The epidemic of corona virus is a challenge for all countries, governments, employers and workers.
In fact, it is a challenge for all humankind, and in this fight against the invisible enemy we can win only if we are united, in solidarity and mutual responsibility.
Throughout the history, workers have always been at the front line. Both when they carried guns or helped rebuild what had been destroyed.

Trade Unionists Victims of Employers’ Arbitrariness

16. March 2020  •    Further

ilustration As soon as the new government comes into being, the two major Serbian trade union confederations, CATUS and TUC Nezavisnost, will demand the adoption of amendments to the Labour Law enabling the protection of shop-stewards. At the press conference held recently in Belgrade, the CATUS President Orbovic defined the more and more frequent sanctioning of trade union representatives in companies as unacceptable.

Only 40 Public Companies
Can Be Successfully Privatised

13. March 2020  •    Further

ilustration By 2014 a myriad of companies which in times of self-management socialism belonged to the community, was reduced to 560. Nowadays, they are 80, and only 40 of them are interesting for potential buyers. The rest is highly questionable and difficult to sell (mostly having unresolved property issues and awaiting court decisions on the subject).

Trade Union Membership Decline - Whose Guilt It Is?

10. March 2020  •    Further

ilustration All main trade union confederations in Serbia agree that the guilt lies with all social partners – employers, Government and the unions themselves. Still, the main culprit for them is the Government with its continued effort to eliminate or restrict labour and trade union rights. Namely, in order to attract foreign investors, it has been giving them the incredibly high subsidies and - what’s the worst – promising them not to be subdued to any trade union “pressure”.

Serbian Spas:
A Privatisation Against Pensioners’ Interests

27. February 2020  •    Further

Miša Radović Kursumlijska and Vranjska Spas which belonged to Serbian Pension Fund went to businessmen who paid for them just a miserable sum of money – the toil of workers, who during decades financed the construction of spa hotels was sold for only 72 euros per square meter! The maneuvre was enabled by some amendments to a law, while other 27 sales are to follow yet.

Half Million Serbian Citizens Unable
to Satisfy Their Basic Needs

25. February 2020  •    Further

ilustration On the occasion of the World Day of Social Justice, Serbian Ombudsman Zoran Pasalic warned that according to the latest data round 500,000 Serbian citizens cannot afford products and services considered essential for a civilized life. Mostly exposed to the risk of poverty are families with three or more children, the sick, unemployed and youth under eighteen. Their position he described as “extremely difficult”.

Epidemic of Corona Virus
Affects Production in FCA Kragujevac

14. February 2020  •    Further

FCA Serbia It seems that because of a lack of spare parts “Made in China”, machines in FCA Kragujevac will rest during the next few weeks. The production was stopped on February 13 and there are rumours it could be restarted only at the end of the month or in the first week of March. The main victim is the popular model 500l.

Hyper-Exploitation of Migrant
Workers Causes Anger

10. February 2020  •    Further

Migrants Recently we learnt that more than a hundred Indian citizens working temporarily in Serbia were unlawfully exploited although employed at the state-monitored infrastructural projects. Their work contracts were of poor quality and according to the experts, even contrary to the law. The most notorious case is the one concerning Indian workers hired by the company “Nikic d.o.o.” of Kraljevo, who turned to ASTRA, a non-governmental organisation specialised in combtting human trafficking and asked for assistance for protection of their rights.

Unions for a Ban on Sunday Work

6. February 2020  •    Further

Sunday The commercial sector in Serbia is rather specific: it encompasses round 200,000 workers, 70% of them are women and wages are 30% under the national average. Currently, there is a big campaign aimed at eliminating the work on Sundays echoed by both positive and negative reactions. In the EU, the issue was left to the member states, which have the full freedom to regulate it following their specific cultural and religious traditions.

Management of Clinical Hospital Centre
Accepted Strikers’ Claims

24. January 2020  •    Further

CHC Belgrade Warning strike in the Belgrade CHC was organised on December 24 last year and after intense negotiations all (eight) strikers’ claims were accepted. The agreement between the union and the management was signed on January 13.
This time strikers (mostly nurses serving food, cleaners and administrative-technical staff) did not claim a usual salary increase, but protested against the lack of personnel.

After December 9 Break,
Production in “FCA Serbia” Restarted

21. January 2020  •    Further

FCA After being sent to forced leave and additionally granted a paid absence, the FCA workers are back at their work places in Kragujevac producing the planned number of FIAT 500L. In the company trade union organisation (affiliated to the CATUS) we were told that in the months to come two shifts should produce 209 cars a day.

Serbia: Workers’ Conditions Better
in Public than in Private Sector

18. January 2020  •    Further

Niš In an interview delivered to Serbian media during his visit to Nis, CATUS President Orbovic said that last five years were extremely difficult for Serbian workers. That period was marked by low salaries/pensions and a ban on new employment in public sector. CATUS did its best, but is still not satisfied with the achievements.

Dramatic Wage Increase in Serbia by 2025:
Dream or Reality?

15. January 2020  •    Further

ilustration Serbian President Vucic spoke recently about the domestic average wage rising from 500 euros in 2020 to 900 euros in 2025. The statement which was met with both enthusiasm and skepticism lit up a fervent discussion, which still lasts. How to attain the 80% growth of salaries if the 2025 GDP would be increased by only 51%? Our famous economist Stamenkovic also expressed his opinion on the feasibility of the idea.

Labour Law Used as Employers’
Instrument to Fight Labour

20. December 2019  •    Further

Dragan Božić There are individual cases representing perfectly the general state of affairs, so what has been happening to our worker Dragana Bozic is a precious (and tragic) indicator of some negative trends in Serbian society. She is a tailor working in company “Healthcare Europe” in Ruma and was employed in 2015 after meeting all the necessary criteria. Her work contract defined the nature of her work which corresponded to her qualifications, she worked hard, with high sense of responsibility, was praised by the bosses and presented as exemplary.

Post of Serbia: End of the Nine Day Strike

18. December 2019  •    Further

ilustration Decision to end the strike was taken after postal workers’ acceptance of the salary increase proposal which was rejected a week ago. The signing of the agreement gives hope not only for the payment of delayed pensions, but also for the re-establishment of the normal functioning of this vital public service.
Demand of the workers who wanted to see their salaries increased up to the national average was not met, as they will be receiving round 3,000 dinars less than that.

Future of Serbia in Jeopardy :
How to Stop Youth Emigration?

17. December 2019  •    Further

ilustration According to the newest data 30,000 to 60,000 people left Serbia last year. Average age of the emigrants was 28 and one in four was highly educated. Even more alarming are the results of an inquiry made by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development showing that one third of 11,000 students who were interviewed said they were planning to leave the country after graduating.

Post of Serbia:
Two Hundred Workers Suspended

12. December 2019  •    Further

Zoran Pavlović The reason for suspension of workers is their participation in the strike which has shaken not only one of the oldest institutions of Serbia but a big part of the public, as well. Workers demand a salary that would equal the national average, i.e. they want 54,000 dinars (458 euros) per month and are not ready to step back.<

Post of Serbia: CATUS Support for Striking Workers

10. December 2019  •    Further

CATUS logo The longest and most massive strike ever organised in Serbian Post goes on. It was seven days ago when its employees stopped delivering letters and parcels to clients, and there are still no signs of a possible agreement. According to the relevant sources round 8,000 out of 15,000 workers are on strike, which was provoked mostly by the management’s refusal to increase wages and amend numerous irregularities criticized not only within company’s walls.

New Law on Occupational Health and
Safety to Stop Mass Accidents at Work

28. November 2019  •    Further

ilustration The new law that should be adopted until the end of this year will hopefully make both employers and workers more responsible, while the Labour Inspection will have the obligation to close the “foul” construction sites for at least three days.
The Ministry of Labour insists that the employers must understand the importance of this issue, especially because the preservation of workers health is in their interest, too.

Pensioners Ready to Fight to the End

21. November 2019  •    Further

ilustration Serbian pension system covers 1,715,000 pensioners in a situation where 2,160,000 people work regularly and 650, 000 seasonally. The fact that Pension Fund disposes annually of 6 billion euros makes the issue of its finance and governance very important. Until the adoption of amendments on the law regulating its work the Fund was governed by equal number of worker, employer and Government representatives.

State of Employment in Serbia: a Sad Story

13. November 2019  •    Further

ilustration While the official propaganda speaks about an unprecedented growth of employment, a study on decent work in Serbia shows that it’s a place in Europe with the highest percentage of people working with shorter-than-three-months work contracts. In last few years their number has considerably increased – from 4.6% to 11.4%.

Government Should Govern, Not Subsidise Spas

8. November 2019  •    Further

ilustration The experts are unanimous: the Government’s subsidising private investors who want to build or restore hotels in our spas is a serious offence committed against the interests of the citizens.
According to Serbian legislation, all such investors – be they foreigners, or our co-nationals – are entitled to subsidies granted by Serbian Agency for Development, on condition the minimum value of the project be 2 million euros and the staff consist of at least 70 employees.

Half Million Serbs
Hardly Make Their Ends Meet

4. November 2019  •    Further

ilustration Serbian Government’s Team for Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction has defined the country’s absolute poverty income to be 12.286 dinars (104 euros) per month. Paradoxically, for 7.1% of Serbs that amount is still a dream! The fact that compared to 2017 the poverty decreased by 0.1% is of little help, as a half million citizens cannot satisfy their existential needs, yet.

Unions against New Law on
Occupational Health and Safety

31. October 2019  •    Further

ilustration The law should be adopted until the end of this year, but it has not been approved by the government and Parliament, yet. The Ministry of Labour has published the draft on its web site, without anyone being acquainted with a version that might be offered to the MPs. One of the main problems is the lack of consensus in the Economic and Social Council, where both representative unions - CATUS and TUC Nezavisnost - were categorically against the government/employers’ proposal.

Number of Peacefully Settled
Labour Disputes Increased

20. October 2019  •    Further

ilustration The number of such cases has in fact doubled compared to 2018, as more and more workers avoid strikes and complicated court procedure and choose mediation of the Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labour Disputes. (Compared to 2010 the facts are even more striking: the number of mediations being ten times bigger than nine years ago).

Informal sector in Serbia Resisting Reforms

10. October 2019  •    Further

Zoran Mihajlović In spite the intense efforts to suppress the informal work, many workers are still ready to receive wages without employers’ contributions paid to workers’ social funds. Only in the first eight months of the 2019 the Labour Inspection inspected 40,000 companies and found 9,747 workers without regular work contracts.
It seems that employers are so satisfied with their profits that they would rather pay heavy fines stipulated by the law than register the staff.

Public Utilities Union: Strike if
Government Doesn’t Increase Salaries

8. October 2019  •    Further

logo Employees in Serbian public utilities are resolute in their decision and are already preparing themselves for the action planned for October 16. The strike will start if the government by October 9 does not respond positively to union’s claim for higher salaries.
The decision to prepare a strike was taken at October 3rd session of the Presidency of the Union of Employees in Communal and Housing Industry of Serbia.

Entertaining Industry:
Labour Inspection Taking an Offensive

7. October 2019  •    Further

Dragisa Golubovic Autumn in Serbia will be gloomy for musicians and employers violating the recently signed collective agreement in entertaining industry. The enhanced controls will follow soon and those caught while illicitly breaching the regulation will face heavy fines.
The news was announced at the seminar organized by the Labour Inspectorate of Serbia and the Autonomous Union of Entertainers of Serbia at the end of September in Vrnjacka Banja.

Serbian Workers’ Victory in Strasbourg

26. September 2019  •    Further

Strasbourg Court_logo European Court for Human Rights passed two judgments ordering Serbian government to pay 2,000 euros to each of the employees in public corporations whose right to a trial within a reasonable time was violated as they were claiming their wage arrears before the domestic courts. In both cases Serbian courts did order the payment (in 2014 and 2016) and appellate courts did confirm the judgments, but the money (100 to 400 euros) was never paid.

Minimum Wage Increased but without Consensus

12. September 2019  •    Further

two serbian ministars Serbian government unilaterally increased the minimum wage for the next year after social partners’ failure to agree. Instead of 155 dinars (1.3 euros), it will be 172 dinars (1.46 euros) per hour. It means that per month those doomed to receive it will get 30,000 instead of 27,000 dinars (254 instead of 228 euros). Minister of Finance, Mali, said it was the “biggest increase of minimum wage ever recorded in the history of Serbia”.

Unpaid Overtime in Serbia -
Threat to Workers’ Health and Privacy

10. September 2019  •    Further

ilustration In Serbia, the rules governing the overtime are very clear, but there is a wide gap between them and the everyday practice. All unions agree that employers (mostly in private companies) do not respect the law. This creates an additional problem to workers already exploited by low wages and non-payment of contributions. The situation in public sector and state administration is not much better, as the overtime is also usually not paid but compensated by the days-off.

Minister Mali: “Minimum Wage Will Be
Increased by More than 10%”

9. September 2019  •    Further

Minister Siniša Mali The minimum wage in Serbia is not sufficient for a decent life, while the “freezing” of salaries in public sector has considerably increased the number of those who get it, said CATUS President Orbovic at the round table organised in our premises. “Around 350.000 workers receive that poor amount and together with generally low, stagnating wages, it is one of the reasons of migration of 50.000 youngsters who leave the country every year”, he explained and added that only by increasing the employees’ earnings it would be possible...

Serbian Pensioners: Our Spas
Are Not for Sale!

3. September 2019  •    Further

ilustration Association of Pensioners’ Trade Unions of Serbia – APTUS (a member of the CATUS) demands the abrogation of a decision taken by the national Pension and Disability Insurance Fund according to which famous spas in Kursumlija and Vranje are to be privatized. Besides, the Association has announced a lawsuit against the Fund as two spas are pensioners’ private property and Fund Administration Board (where the Government has the majority of votes) has no right to dispose of them.

Serbia Facing Serious Labour Shortage

28. August 2019  •    Further

ilustration The first symptoms are already appearing –you find kiosks, shops and restaurants covered with notices advertising free work places everywhere. The unions are convinced that the only way to solve the problem is the pay rise. The situation is alarming as in some supermarkets there are important departments completely lacking staff in the afternoon. Very often you see retirees maintaining roads – the young have left and the deadlines are to be respected.

Sebian Prime Minister:
There is a Plan for Coal-Mine Resavica

23. August 2019  •    Further

Resavica Our Government has planned to find strategic partners for companies that have been burdening the domestic budget for years – the same was already done with “giants” such as copper mines and furnaces in Bor, steel works in Smederevo and the milk manufacturing corporation in Belgrade. Some time ago, the IMF recommended closure of the mines, but according to our Prime Minister its 3500 workers don’t have to worry: they will not be dismissed until alternative jobs have been created.

Advantages and Disadvantages
of Foreign Investment in Serbia

20. August 2019  •    Further

ilustration Last year there were 107 foreign direct investments (FDI) in various sectors of the Serbian economy, mostly in manufacturing. It is one of the reasons why we were put at the first place on the “Financial times” list ranking countries according to the ratio between size of national economy and number of FDIs. The data recently published show that last year more than 40 new factories, production lines and distribution centres were opened, attracting 57% of the total number of SDIs in the region.

Agency Work:
New Law Despite Unions’ Resistance

16. August 2019  •    Further

ilustration There is a general consensus among Serbian unions that the new law on agency work does not safeguard workers’ rights sufficiently. It’s true that agency workers will become “visible”, have the same work time and receive same wages as those who work with contracts for an indefinite time, but there is still a possibility that their temporary status might last “forever”.

IMF says 'Speed up the Reform of Salary System'

2. August 2019  •    Further

Sebastian Sosa Salary system reform represented a step towards the rationalization of the public sector, stated the IMF Resident Representative in Serbia, Sebastian Sosa, and added that the IMF welcomed a pay rise in Serbia which started at the beginning of this year both in public and private sector. He told the press that the salary reform in the public sector had been going on for years, it should have been done long time ago and the authorities in Serbia were planning to enforce the new salary system during 2020 when the assessment of fiscal implications had been completed.

Immediate Compensation for Injuries at Work

26. July 2019  •    Further

ITUC Conference Trade union data say that for the past 15 years only 30% of workers have been able to get paid for injuries at work. However, workers who get injured at work will now be able to charge for the injury and not spend so much time at courts trying to get some kind of compensation. According to the announcement of the line ministry, everybody shall be insured and the money paid immediately.

ITUC Conference in Belgrade

16. July 2019  •    Further

ITUC Conference International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) invited SEE national trade union confederations to support the campaign on minimum wage rise. It was said at the regional wage forum, held on July 16-17 in Belgrade, that the rise, as well as the strengthening of social protection, would enable decent life for workers and their families and support sustainable and inclusive development of the region.

More Information to Prevent Abuse of Posted Workers

3. July 2019  •    Further

ilustratiom Serbia faces a real exodus of workers, who usually leave the country ill-informed and are rather unprotected when they are abroad. They are not familiar with their rights and don’t know the European directives, which often makes them victims of ill-treatment or underpayment. In order to improve the position of these employees, there is a need for more information, better networking of the employees themselves and wider media coverage.

Unions Left Session of Social and Economic Council

2. July 2019  •    Further

logo The decision was a consequence of the Government’s policy in the Republican Geodetic Authority (RGA), characterised by a permanent violation of employees’ rights. The absence of the CATUS and TUC Nezavisnost representatives blocked further work of the Council, as there was no quorum for decision-making, said Minister of Labour, Djordjevic. He put it more precisely by saying that unions had not quit the Council, but demanded a special session dedicated to the subject and with the presence of Prime Minister, Brnabic.

Republic Geodetic Authority:
A Single Mom Brutally Fired

24. June 2019  •    Further

ilustration We already wrote several times about the problems in the Republic Geodetic Authority. Both CATUS and TUC Nezavisnost informed the public that its management had started displacing the employees and sending them to offices which were more than 50 kilometers away from their homes. Additionally, their salaries were being decreased and work contracts not extended – one of the victims being a single mother with three kids.

Minimum Salary: Unions for 10% Increase

19. June 2019  •    Further

Ljubisav Orbović According to an announcement made by the Minister of Finance, Mali, a new minimum salary could be fixed this autumn. While the unions fight for at least 10% increase, the employers are not ready to accept more than 6%. This year’s minimum salary was 27,000 dinars (230 euros), while the minimum consumer basket was 37,000 i.e. 314 euros.

Jurists and Teachers on Scaffold Boards –
Construction Workers Abroad

10. June 2019  •    Further

Valentina Ilić A great number of qualified construction workers already left Serbia and are working abroad. Therefore, an average construction worker in the sector is nowadays 55 years old, often has a foreign passport and works without a contract. All this must make us reflect on the quality of their work and safety of buildings they construct.

New Law on Agency Work
without Dialogue with Unions

3. June 2019  •    Further

ilustration Government and employers accepted only one out of eight remarks the unions made at the session of Social and Economic Council, agreeing namely that in case the workers’ rights are violated, these might sue not only the agency, but the employer as well – paying court fees only once. It’s a rather weak consolation after a refusal of other seven, more important, amendments.

Orbovic Left Session
of Social and Economic Council

31. May 2019  •    Further

SEC Session CATUS President did it because he was “highly dissatisfied” by the way the management treated workers who took part in a strike organized in the Republic Geodetic Authority (RGA).
“While the Council was discussing the problems related to social dialogue, our members were being transferred from one work place to another, contrary to the agreement reached with the government of Serbia and stipulating they would not be punished for their participation in the strike”, said Orbovic ...

Local Social and Economic Councils in Crisis

26. May 2019  •    Further

# Recently, an important conference has been held in Prolom banja, with a participation of delegates representing social and economic councils of the capital cities of Serbia, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Republic Srpska and Albania. The objective was to analyse the functioning of social dialogue at local level and draw conclusions necessary for further action.

FIAT Workers Upset by the News
on Prolongation of Paid Leave

24. May 2019  •    Further

# Workers of FIAT Chrysler Serbia (FCA) factory in Kragujevac got worried when they learnt from some media that the company management would soon ask the competent Ministry to consent to additional 95 days (besides the legally allowed 45) of paid leave.

White Collars: Negotiations with
Prime Minister Shipwrecked

22. May 2019  •    Further

# Presidents of Autonomous Trade Union of Judiciary Employees and Autonomous Civil Servants Union, Milosevic and Potezica, met Prime Minister Brnabic and Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government Ruzic, in order to negotiate a new collective agreement, especially the issue of per diem allowances, and hot meal/annual leave compensation.

CATUS Delegation Meets the IMF Mission

16. May 2019  •    Further

# Representatives of CATUS and TUC Nezavisnost met in Belgrade with the new chief of the IMF Mission in Serbia, Jan Kees Martijn. The meeting took place in the National Bank of Serbia, the main issues on the agenda being the salaries, pensions, minimum wage and fiscal policy. Martijn presented the IMF program (which has already been approved by Serbian Government) and listened to a trade union presentation on current economic and social situation, main challenges to our economy and future economic perspectives.

Humiliation of Workers in Serbia
Seems to Have No End

10. May 2019  •    Further

# Increasingly brutal and irresponsible behaviour of foreign employers towards workers and trade union representatives is one more proof that the country is ruled by a wild capitalism turning Serbian workers into slaves with almost no rights. Foreign capital, exploiting our resources and employees, is slowly transforming Serbia into a country which will only be able to offer cheap labour force.

Joint Trade Unions Rally on May 1

30. April 2019  •    Further

# CATUS and TUC Nezavisnost have agreed again to commemorate the main workers’ holiday together. This year the workers will march under the banner expressing the essence of their precarious position – “Higher Wages - Key to Workers’ Survival and End of Emigration”. It’s a fact that with today’s wages the employees can only survive and are often forced to leave the country in search for better solutions.

IMF Should Help Ending
Unjust Treatment of Pensioners

27. April 2019  •    Further

President of CATUS At the forthcoming Belgrade meeting with the IMF mission the CATUS will once more demand the abrogation of penalty points for pensioners. “It will be one of the main topics on the agenda”, stated CATUS President Orbovic talking about the meeting with the representatives of the Fund, which is to take place on May 4. On his initiative the subject was already thoroughly discussed at the recent session of the Social and Economic Council, however, without the Minister of Finance being present.

Kindergarten Employees Win 9% Increase

20. April 2019  •    Further

logo After an unproductive meeting with the representatives of the Ministry of Education, three major unions of kindergarten employees were preparing a strike and rally in Belgrade with mass participation of members from all parts of Serbia. The protest should have started on April 10 at 1 p.m. by the CATUS building and ended up in front of the Ministry of Education and the Government.

Kragujevac Weapon Factory: Workers’ Victory
Following Domestic and International Pressure

8. April 2019  •    Further

logo Workers came out on strike because the company trade union’s president Ilic was fired. Gathered at the assembly, they announced a general strike in case their leader was not reinstated in his work place.
The case has not passed unnoticed abroad, as the mightiest Swedish metal workers federation “IF Metal” has quickly sent a letter to the factory director Petkovic, urging him to cancel the dismissal and allow Ilic to work and perform trade union activities without being hindered by the management.

Kindergarten Teachers’ Rally on April 11

8. April 2019  •    Further

media conference The decision was taken in an attempt to direct public opinion towards problems the teachers have been confronted with for the last few years, but also to press the Government to be more active in finding a proper solution. The date was agreed by three unions organizing the event – the Autonomous Union of Pre-School Upbringing and Education, the Teachers’ Union of Serbia (both affiliated to the CATUS) and the Trade Union of Teachers (affiliated to TUC Nezavisnost).

President Orbovic in “ZASTAVA Weapons”
Factory in Kragujevac

6. April 2019  •    Further

Orbovic in ZASTAVA The urgent invitation came as a result of constant pressure on CATUS factory union and a series of accidents which involved trade union activists and their leader, Dragan Ilic. We previously wrote about the harassment he had been subjected to by the company management and the Security Intelligence Agency. This time Orbovic was accompanied by the CATUS Council Secretary, Mihajlovic and President of Kragujevac Trade Union City Council, Ristic.

SEC for Abrogation of Law on Salaries in Public Sector

26. March 2019  •    Further

SEC Social and Economic Council of the Republic of Serbia expressed its positive opinion about the abrogation of the law which has temporarily reduced salaries of public sector employees. The law has been in force since 2014 and referred to 67,000 employees in public utility companies and around 130,000 employees in public sector i.e. to the total of 200,000 employees.

Postal Workers Demand Higher Salaries
and Part of the Profit

16. March 2019  •    Further

Zoran Pavlović Part of Serbia Post staff stood up again for their rights. Since several days ago, those working in Belgrade Post Centre have been blocking the deliveries to final users from 8 p.m. 11:30 p.m. Their discontent is fully justifiable, as demands they have been making for years were constantly ignored.
President of the Postal Workers’ Union, Pavlovic, is clear: “The workers sent their claim for pay-raise to the Direction and gave them two week time to accept it.

Decent Work Programme Signed

8. March 2019  •    Further

Program for Decent Work On March 7 “Program for Decent Work 2019-2022” was signed by social partners in the premises of CATUS. Key actors at the ceremony were presidents of two largest confederations (CATUS and TUC Nezavisnost), Orbovic and Stojiljkovic, Deputy President of the Employers’ Association, Kovacevic and Minister of Labour, Djordjevic.

Fatigue Causing Deadly Accidents at Work

4. March 2019  •    Further

ilustration Last month two more workers lost their lives and one was seriously wounded at Serbian construction sites. The death-toll in 2018 has been frightening: 53 fatal accidents and thousands of wounded – the most tragic year since 2006. The victims were mostly those working in construction, the main cause of accidents - the violation of safety and health rules, extreme fatigue and exaggerated self-confidence. Speaking about the latter, President of the CATUS City Council of Novi Sad, Gvozdenovic, was, however, explicit:

Mass Exodus of Serbian Workers

28. February 2019  •    Further

ilustration To stop the exodus of workers which in last decade swept away 5% of the total population is one of the most serious challenges the country is facing nowadays. Three main reasons for the exodus are mass unemployment, low salaries and attractive well-paid jobs in the European Union. To look for a solution to this problem an entire team of experts (mostly economists, demographers and statisticians) was created.

CATUS Initiative on Penalty Points Abrogation

26. February 2019  •    Further

SEC in Kragujevac If a Serbian worker has worked the obligatory 40 years and is ready to go to pension, but is not yet 65 years old (the official age for retirement), he will have to suffer so called penalty points (reduction of pension) until he reaches that age. CATUS initiative aims at the abrogation of the points and Confederation finally managed to put it on the agenda of the Social and Economic Council.

Year 2019 to Be Year of
Health and Safety at Work

19. February 2019  •    Further

ilustration Realising the initiative of the CATUS, Serbian Parliament has decided to declare the year 2019 “a Year of Health and Safety at Work”. The decision was taken in order to sensitise the public to this issue, which is important not only to workers and employers, but to the whole society. The news was confirmed by Miss Marina Furtula, acting director of the Directorate for Health and Safety, who participated at the Regional Forum dedicated to this subject and organised by the ETUI and CATUS.

Water and City Transport to Remain Public Goods

18. February 2019  •    Further

Milan Grujić Trade Union of Employees in Public Utilities (a member of CATUS) has decided to organise an open-air session of its Council in front of the Government building in order to warn the public about dangers and challenges that the amendments to the law regulating the activities in the sector – and giving private companies possibility of managing waterworks – might bring.

Growth of Uncertainty and Anxiety in FCA

11. February 2019  •    Further

Zoran Marković Are there any plans for production of a new FIAT model here, ask themselves workers of the FCA Kragujevac? A positive answer to this question, often put even to the Italian employers, would certainly bring more tranquility into homes of many families living in the capital of Central Serbia. President of the CATUS-affiliated company trade union, Zoran Markovic, is categorical: the fact that in last two months workers spent more time at home than working, makes them increasingly anxious and perplexed about the future.

Agency Workers Still Unprotected

27. January 2019  •    Further

Zoran Mihajlović The draft of law on agency workers has not been approved by the Social and Economic Council and is to be sent back to the Work Group for corrections. However, it is already clear that two most important objections raised by trade unions – no more than 10% agency workers in company and obligatory agency deposits - were not accepted.

Scandal in LEONI: Workers Persuaded to
Accept Illegal Working Conditions

25. January 2019  •    Further

ilustration A few days ago German company LEONI withdrew the shameful document, not long ago delivered to all of its workers. Contrary to the norms of the EU labour legislation, but rather similar to those of the Third World countries, it contained the following (‘freely accepted’) obligations...

Unions against Private-Public
Deals in Public Utilities

22. January 2019  •    Further

ilustration From the very beginning of debate concerning the new Law on Public Utilities our federation in the sector (affiliated to the CATUS) was one of its most active participants. In all meetings of experts that they organized themselves, as well as in work groups established to work out the law draft, they acted as a constructive and responsible social partner.

Urgent Action Needed to Stop Brain Drain!

18. January 2019  •    Further

Coordination Team The newly established Coordination Team which is to deal with prevention of youth emigration and its coming back to Serbia had its first meeting on January 15. First President of the Team will be the Minister of Labour, Zoran Djordjevic. The CATUS, who often pointed out to this problem is also therein represented by its President, Orbovic. The concrete reason for creation of this body has been the new German law on immigration facilitating the employment of foreigners, including those coming from the non-EU countries.

Warning Strike in Judicial System

16. January 2019  •    Further

Slađanka Milošević A few days ago, the Trade Union of Employees in Judicial System (affiliated to CATUS) organized an hour warning strike in order to turn the attention of the public towards the ever-growing exploitation of employees with both permanent and fixed-term contracts in the sector. The strike did not obstruct the court sessions as, according to Union’s President Sladjanka Milosevic, only the administration staff took part in it. At the moment the Union has more than 11,000 members.

First Court Ruling in Pensioners-Government Dispute

10. January 2019  •    Further

Miša Radović Although the law on pension reduction allowing the Government to seize enormous means from Serbian pensioners between 2015 and 2018 was annulled, it will be rather difficult to appease them. The Association of Pensioners’ Trade Unions (affiliated to CATUS) has been trying for many years to sue the Government at the Constitutional Court, but the Court gave no response. Still, there is good news for the elderly, as the municipal court in North Serbian city...