Trade Unions through Challenges of the Past and Future

15. september 2021  •    Further

past and future “Trade Unions through Challenges of the Past and Future” is the title of the book which was promoted last week in Belgrade. The authors of this book are Jelena Ranković, a journalist and Jugoslav Ristić, President of the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of the City of Kragujevac.

Freelancers are here, and where is the promised law?

2. september 2021  •    Further

Didanet It was necessary for freelancers to take to the streets in 2020 in order to completely expose the anachronism of the Law on Personal Income Tax and the inequalities it produces. Today, it is quite certain that there is enough knowledge and enough interlocutors - from freelancers themselves to research institutions, tax experts and unions ready to enter into dialogue, not only on the disputed law, but also on the issue of regulating non-standard forms of work as a whole. However, the Government of Serbia, which announced that the Law on Flexible Work will enter into force in 2022, is still not announced.

The courts define the concept of worker and employer; legislators are mostly silent

15. August 2021  •    Further

Beyond the delivery Lacking clear guidelines from the International Labor Organization and the European Commission, courts and national legislators in Europe are doing their best to answer the question of whether gig workers working through digital platforms, either on-site or remotely, are employees or self-employed. However, different business models and insufficient understanding of the nature of work across platforms often lead to conflicting views of decision-makers. This can further lead to diminishing gig workers’ labor rights, warned domestic and international labor law experts at the June roundtable, organized online by the Public Policy Research Center.

OHS Workshop in Niš

1. August 2021  •    Further

ilustration At the workshop ‘Occupational Health and Safety’ which was held in the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of the City of Niš, it was stressed that for the past seven months 26 fatal injuries had been recorded. The workshop was organized by the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia under the auspices of the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center.

Trade Unions and Employers Don’t Give Up Their Demand to Raise Minimum Wage

28. July 2021  •    Further

ilustration Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia (CATUS) and TUC NEZAVISNOST don’t give up their demand on minimum wage increase for 2022 and they estimate that the Government of Serbia, i.e. President Aleksandar Vučić, will decide about this, like it happened last year.
As CATUS Council Secretary Zoran Mihajlović explained, there are three types of minimum wage increase.

Đorđević: Does Serbia Need Culture and Employees in Cultural Institutions

23. July 2021  •    Further

Dragana Đorđević Due to decades-long destruction of the sector and state’s unfavourable attitude towards employees in cultural institutions, employees were brought to a difficult financial and social position, said the President of the Trade Union of Culture, Dragana Đorđević.
Despite the fact that even 62% of employees have a university degree, average salary in culture amounts to 48, 199RSD, which tells a lot about the state of culture, as well as the state’s attitude towards...

Joint Demand for Improving Position
of Public Sector Employees

16. July 2021  •    Further

ilustration At the joint meeting held on July 6 representative trade unions of employees in public services, scientific-research branch, public administration and justice of the Republic of Serbia pointed out to employees’ bad financial situation and demanded that state bodies should apply urgent measures to alleviate difficulties.
Trade unions demand the amendment to the Decree on co-efficients for the calculation and payment of salaries of public sector employees, pay rise by a percentage that is higher than the percentage planned for minimum wage rise and setting up the amount for hot meal and vacation bonus.

‘Raise Minimum Wage’ Campaign

15. July 2021  •    Further

Duško Vuković Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia, TUC NEZAVISNOST and Center for the Politics of Emancipation invite citizens, social movements and NGOs to support trade union demands for the minimum wage increase to the level of minimum consumer basket. Mid-August representatives of Employers’ Association, Serbian Government and trade unions will start negotiations on the minimum wage in the Social-Economic Council and the amount of next year’s minimum wage will be determined till September 15 at the latest.

Workers of Sloboda in Čačak Return to Work

12. July 2021  •    Further

ilustracija All workers of the service company Sloboda from Čačak came back to work. From now on this factory continues its complete production which was interrupted because of a huge explosion that happened on the shop floor, says the Autonomous Trade Union. Around 410 workers of Sloboda who are employed in the pyrotechnics department start working today while others started working last Thursday.
Company Sloboda employs 2,000 people.

Court: Dismissing Dragana Božić is Illegal

9. July 2021  •    Further

Dragana Božić First instance court in Ruma passed the judgement to annul the termination of employment contract of Dragana Božić, shop steward of trade union organization in the factory „HealthCare Europe“ and orders the employer to reinstate her at her work post.
This court thinks that Dragana’s dismissal, which forces her to move to an inappropriate work post and is exclusively caused by her trade union activities, is illegal and the employer is obliged to allow her to go back to work.

8-Hour Shift Reintroduced in APTIV

5. July 2021  •    Further

Zoran Marković Acting on the order of the Labour Inspection, management of the factory Aptiv from Leskovac made a decision to reintroduce the 8-hour shift, instead of the 12-hour one. In the talks with the Autonomous Metal Workers Union of Serbia (AMUS), they said they made a mistake.
AMUS President, Zoran Marković told the media that 8-hour working time would be introduced on July 5 and additional bonuses were provided.

Meeting of Zijin Trade Union and Minister –
New Collective Agreement

29. June 2021  •    Further

Zoran Marković Talks between trade union and Zijin company about the new collective agreement will continue so that it could be signed soon – this is the epilogue of the meeting held between the Minister of Mining and Energy, Zorana Mihajlović and trade union representative in Zijin company.
Trade union representatives say they are supported by the government and the guarantee is their presence at the meeting with company representatives.

CATUS Appeal:
Apply Preventive Measures at High Temperatures

28. June 2021  •    Further

round table Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia calls upon all employers and employees to apply preventive occupational health and safety measures at high temperatures so that the risk to employees’ health would be reduced. When the air temperature goes over 36°C, employees who are working in the open, such as workers in construction and agriculture, are actually working in disadvantageous working conditions, which can affect their health in a negative way.

DigiDay – Panel discussion on status and position of online workers

21. June 2021  •    Further

DigiDay Aware of the increasingly intense decline of workers’ and social rights brought on by the flexibilization of work, the United Branch Trade Unions “Independence” (UGS NEZAVISNOST) and the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia (SSSS), in cooperation with the Serbian Association of Employers, organized a panel discussion on May 19, 2021, called DigiDay – Open Day, gathering representatives of relevant organizations and experts, but also workers engaged on platforms.<

Round table in CATUS:
Corona Deepened Inequalities and Poverty

17. June 2021  •    Further

round table At the round table ‘Influence of the Pandemic on Employees in the Republic of Serbia’ organized by the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia it was pointed out that Corona intensified and deepened inequalities and poverty in the society. Also, it put physical and mental health of the population at risk because of which economic and OHS measures are necessary.

Serbian Government vs internet freelancers

15. June 2021  •    Further

ilustration Even though a compromise has been reached, for the time being, the question arises whether this is just the lull before a new storm or just one of the battles in the “war” between the Tax Administration and workers on the internet.
On April 28, 2021, members of the Serbian Parliament adopted the Law on Amendments to the Law on Personal Income Tax and the Law on Amendments to the Law on Contributions for Mandatory Social Insurance, which significantly reduced the debt based on the income of freelancers accrued from 2015 to end of 2021. As announced...

INITIATIVE: Make Covid-19 a Professional Disease

9. June 2021  •    Further

ilustration There is proof that Covid-19 is a systematic disease that affects all organs and all tissues and due to this it should become a professional disease. At the round table organized by the CATUS it was pointed out that health workers, who were most burdened by the pandemic, were actually at most risk of getting infected.

Fight for Last Year’s Annual Leave

5. June 2021  •    Further

ilustration This is great news for all employees – last year’s annual leave is valid till the end of June 2022.
This is especially important for doctors and nurses working in the covid system as they haven’t been able to take a single day off for almost two years. Aleksandar Stojanović, a Director of the Health Center Palilula assures that everybody will be able to take holiday, no pressure whatsoever.

COVID-19 a Professional Disease – Yes or No?

4. June 2021  •    Further

 a round table As a socially responsible organization, Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia focuses on the issue whether there is a possibility to include COVID-19 into the list of professional diseases in order to protect primarily health workers who risk their lives in the fight against corona virus.
We think that the decision to include COVID-19 into the list of professional diseases would considerably improve workers’ financial status, having in mind that professional diseases are treated in a way that a worker is provided with a 100% compensation of salary during the sick leave...

‘Gorenje’ and Trade Unions in Valjevo
Signed New Collective Agreement

29. May 2021  •    Further

ilustration After many months of negotiations the company ‘Gorenje Valjevo’ signed a collective agreement with the Autonomous Metal Workers’ Trade Union – Trade Union ‘Gorenje doo Valjevo’ and Association of Free and Independent Trade Unions – Trade Union ‘ASNS Gorenje’. This is the second collective agreement, valid for three years.

Protić: More than a Half of
Decent Work Program Goals Achieved

28. May 2021  •    Further

Jovan Protić More than a half of goals that are defined by the three-year Decent Work Program for the Republic of Serbia have already been achieved or are in the process of being achieved, said the ILO Coordinator for Serbia, Jovan Protić.
‘Drafting the new Labour Law will definitely be put on hold because the Ministry of Labour won’t start working on it till the end of the next year’, he explained.

APTUS Appeals not to Sell Spas

20. May 2021  •    Further

spa Association of Pensioners’ Trade Unions of Serbia sent an appeal to the Government representatives and line ministries to stop further sales of Serbian spas and rehabilitation centers that were mostly built with the money paid for the contributions of today’s pensioners i.e. employees at the time. As they say in the letter sent to the line ministries of labour, tourism, finance, economy, the sales of specialized hospitals should be stopped and re-examined because their transfer into private ownership would considerably hinder treatment and recovery.

Android Application ‘Labour Rights for You’

11. May 2021  •    Further

app Application ‘Labour Rights for You’ is meant to be used by young people who are finishing secondary school education or their studies at the faculty and are about to step into the labour market. But it is also meant to be used by experienced workers who want to additionally consolidate their knowledge.
Recently there have been fewer and fewer regular jobs. There is an increasing number of young workers on precarious and untypical jobs.

The Other Side of Food Delivery Mobile Apps

5. May 2021  •    Further

glovo Within DiDaNet Project (Digital Danube Network), TU Confederations from Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, Moldavia and Ukraine cooperate on subject of digitalisation in connection with the challenges and opportunities arising from the development in the labour market. One of the risks of digitalisation are precarious working conditions which primarily affect platform workers who are basically forced into bogus self-employment and who do not have adequate social protection.

Labour Day Message from President Orbović

30. April 2021  •    Further

Ljubisav Orbovic Once again Coronavirus epidemic has prevented us from traditionally getting together in the streets and at the squares to send the message that we shall not agree to low salaries, limitless working hours and to demand safe work and labour rights; we shall not tolerate exploitation, oppressive measures and dismissals of trade union activists. Every day and on every occasion we shall keep on demanding the same thing – dignity of work and workers.

118TH CATUS Anniversary

27. April 2021  •    Further

CATUS Anniversary On the occasion of April 27 – CATUS Day, a ceremonial session of the CATUS Council was organised in order to mark the 118th anniversary of our organisation.
Besides the members of Council, Statutory and Auditing Committees, presidents of trade union federations and regional trade union councils, the session was also attended by the Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs of Serbia Darija Kisić Tepavčević...

Lack of Engineers and Skilled Workers -
Good Workers Should Be Well Paid

21. April 2021  •    Further

ilustration Works on the streets in the center of Belgrade are taking too long. Not only does it cause problems for citizens, who often avoid Dušanova street, but also employers who can’t find qualified work force. In order to put the pieces together, it’s necessary to find good workers and pay them adequately.
As the President of the Trade Union of Road Maintenance Industry Workers of Serbia - Duško Bošković says, sometimes a whole group of workers goes to Germany, 10-15 of them.

Novi Sad: OHS Campaign

20. April 2021  •    Further

Novi Sad Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia tends to raise not only employees’, but also employers’ and authority’s awareness so that healthy and safe working conditions would be secured at the time of pandemic, said the CATUS Council Vice-President Duško Vuković.
Together with the representatives of the Confederation of Trade Unions of the City of Novi Sad, headed by the President Vladimir Gvozdenović, he pointed out to the citizens the importance of occupational health and safety...

Workers in ‘Fiat Plastic’ Radicalise Strike

16. April 2021  •    Further

FIAT Plastic As workers of the factory ‘Fiat Plastic’ are asking their employer to reinstate last year’s salary level, Autonomous Trade Union announced that the strike would be radicalised and a big gathering on April 24 in front of the City Council building in Kragujevac would be organised. President of the Trade Union and Strike Committee Zoran Miljković said that workers from Fiat factory in Kragujevac and cooperative firms are also expected to come.

CATUS in the Campaign for OHS

15. April 2021  •    Further

CATUS in action Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia organised the promotion of the occupational health and safety where citizens were acquainted with the importance of proper prevention so that they would save their lives and health at work.
This event marks the beginning of the international project, entitled ‘Actions and Campaigns of Trade Unions for safer jobs – Stop pandemics’ and carried out through the support of PanEuropean Regional Council...

Work from Home – Choice or Necessity

13. April 2021  •    Further

logo Work from home has become the topic that trade unions, workers, employers, but also legislators deal with. The importance of this issue has been shown by a regional OHS workshop which has recently been organised with the support of the American Solidarity Center (AFL-CIO).
During the last year’s pandemic when the economy came to a standstill a significant number of employers sent their employees to work from home.

Sustainable Development Goals to Be
Adjusted to Local Conditions

1. April 2021  •    Further

ilustration The main topic of the second dialogue with the EU National Convention, held on March 29 through video link, was the realization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within economic and social indicators and protection of health conditions.
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, who took part in the meeting, announced the establishment of a cross-sector group which will deal with SDGs envisaged by the UN 2030 Agenda.

Trade Unions Demand the
Highest Standards for OHS

31. March 2021  •    Further

ILO Trade unions are asking the ILO Conference, which will be held in June 2021, to raise the OHS to the level of international labour standards, increase the responsibility of governments and employers and insist that more countries ratify key OHS Conventions.
This way the promises given in 2019 in the ILO Centenary Declaration, which was unanimously adopted by the governments, trade unions and employers, would be kept and workers’ health and safety would be protected.

15 Years of Agency for
Peaceful Settlement of Labour Disputes

27. March 2021  •    Further

ilustration National Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labour Disputes marked its 15th anniversary. The event, as well as the opening of the first interactive training for conciliators and arbiters, was attended by the CATUS President, Ljubisav Orbović.
Up to now the Agency has resolved about 20,000 disputes out of which 19,000 are individual, which means that citizens became aware of Agency’s importance and reliability. This assessment is shared by the Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, Darija Kisić Tepavčević.

Workers on Annual Leave?

26. March 2021  •    Further

ilustration Extensive powers provided by the Labour Law are used by the employers to ‘write’ annual leave request forms while the shops are closed and thus reduce the already minimum number of days planned for annual leave.
Many workers had the duration of their annual leave halved while employers justify it by saying that these days would be lost anyway as they have to be used no later than June 30.

Support for CATUS Initiative

19. March 2021  •    Further

SEC - RS Social and Economic Council of the Republic of Serbia has unanimously supported the Initiative of the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia aimed at ratification of the ILO Convention 190 on the elimination of violence and harassment at work.

FIAT Workers Offered to Work in Slovakia

11. March 2021  •    Further

CATUS in Global Workers in FCA Serbia were offered to apply to work for a year in a Slovakian factory Trnava where Peugeot 208 and Citroen C3 are produced. Company “Stellantis”, which besides Fiat includes several globally known automobile producers, offered workers from the factory in Kragujevac to acquire work experience in Slovakia.
They were offered the same salary as the workers in Slovakia, but also a bonus upon arrival and departure. At the moment registration is under way and allegedly it is voluntary. The offer stands for the total of 400 workers.

CATUS in Global Campaign for the
Ratification of ILO Convention 190

5. March 2021  •    Further

CATUS in Global Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia joins global campaign for the elimination of violence against women and demands that urgent and decisive steps are taken. We demand from the Government of the Republic of Serbia to urgently initiate the ratification procedure for the ILO Convention on Violence and Harassment in the world of work which was

CATUS Requests Withdrawal
of the Seasonal Employment Law

2. March 2021  •    Further

CATUS logo Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia points out that the draft of the Seasonal Employment Law regulating seasonal and temporary work in certain industries completely abolishes fundamental labour rights stemming from employment, makes the existence of the Labour Law pointless and transforms workers into permanent seasonal, i.e. temporary workers.

JCC Adopted Joint Declaration

19. February 2021  •    Further

ilustration The eleventh meeting of the EU-Serbia Civil Society Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) took place in February. Current situation of the relationship between EU and Serbia and negotiations in the EU accession process, EC Progress Report 2020, situation in civil society and rule of law were discussed at the meeting. JCC adopted Joint Declaration with 17 votes for and one abstention vote.

More Women Are Working in
Low Paid Professions

17. February 2021  •    Further

Brankica Janković There are more women than men working in professions that are low paid – health, social protection and now we realize how important these sectors actually are and I hope that these professions will be much more respected’, estimated the Commissioner for Protection of Equality, Brankica Janković. In her interview for the National News Janković explained that in her job she regularly encountered the complaints of young women who could not find work precisely because they were young and employers’ first thought was that the woman would soon go on her maternity leave.

Work from Home:
Will Employers Keep All Work Places?

8. February 2021  •    Further

Ljubisav Orbovic In Serbia work from home is a forced option that emerged during the pandemic. However, as long as it is justified as a protection from infection, more and more employees think that employers expect them to be available all the time, says the President of the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia Ljubisav Orbović for biznis.rs.

Validity of BCA for
Road Maintenance Industry Prolonged

5. February 2021  •    Further

ilustration The validity of the branch collective agreement (BCA) covering road maintenance industry workers has been extended for another three years. The agreement was signed in the premises of the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia.
On the behalf of the Autonomous Trade Union of Road Maintenance Industry Workers and representative Association of Employers in Road Maintenance Industry ‘PUTAR’, Duško Bošković and Zvonimir Marković signed the agreement.

New Employment Strategy without Trade Union?

4. February 2021  •    Further

ilustration As it had been earlier announced, 2021-2026 Employment Strategy was supposed to be adopted till the end of January and a public debate was organised to discuss this strategic document. In the meantime positions of ministries were gathered and now the Social and Economic Council is expected to make a final decision, after which the draft will be presented for adoption.
The main goal is to enable continuous employment growth and special attention will be paid to vulnerable groups: youth, women, people with disabilities. CATUS representatives took part in the creation of this document but it is to be...

Fatigue, Stress and Testing
Responsible for Black Statistics

1. February 2021  •    Further

ilustration Data gathered by the Trade Union of Doctors and Pharamcists of Serbia (SLFS) confirm that up to now 73 doctors have died and the list of deaths keeps growing.
Infectologists, Lejla Ćeranić, who at one point during the most severe epidemiologic wave was the only specialist of infectology in Novi Pazar hospital, and Jovana Milić, associate-scientist at the Unversity of Modena and Reggio Emilia, say that there are many reasons which contributed to a huge number of deceased people - from fatigue to the lack of routine tests for health workers.

Immeasurable Losses of Serbian Tourism –
Many Experiencing Overdraft for Months

27. January 2021  •    Further

ilustration Around the world corona virus pandemic had the biggest effect on tourism and it seems that catering and event organizing industry experienced the most severe impact. Results that Serbian tourism achieved in the record-breaking 2019 were promising that the following year tourism in Serbia would have its most successful season.

State Aid for Unemployed,
Minimum Wage for Employees

25. January 2021  •    Further

ilustration New state aid package for the economy and citizens which is supposed to alleviate the consequences caused by the pandemic will also include the unemployed, announced by ‘Večernje novosti’.
As we have found out, this vulnerable category of citizens will receive a certain sum while the Government of the Republic of Serbia is intensively working in order to define proposals and decide on the amount which will be allocated for this purpose.

Trade Unions in Chinese ‘Zijin’ Warn about
Drastic Reduction of Extra Payments and Salaries

20. January 2021  •    Further

ZiJin - logo We got the news from Bor that on the occasion of signing the new collective agreement the management of the company „Zijin copper Bor” plans to cancel numerous extra payments and thus considerably decrease workers’ monthly salaries. The company’s “offer” was assessed by the unions as “indecent and unacceptable”. Majority owner of the Bor company is the Chinese corporation „Zijin“, with 63% of ownership, while the remaining 37% are owned by the Serbian Government.

CATUS Gave Support to the
Association of Workers on Internet

19. January 2021  •    Further

ilustration On the occasion of the protest of the Association of Workers on Internet, scheduled on January 16, 2021, the CATUS issued the following statement:
“We extend our support to all workers who have been courageously acquiring their knowledge and work experience in the tough global competition over Internet. Being exposed to everyday competition from around the world, they have been supporting their family members and themselves, while contributing to the resources and reputation of the Republic of Serbia...

Government Covers One More Minimum
Wage in Tourism and Catering

16. december 2020  •    Further

ilustration The amount, equalling to 30,367 dinars (257 euros) was paid yesterday to all employees whose companies (12,037 of them) had been entitled to such assistance. The total number of beneficiaries, working mostly in tourist and rent-a-car agencies, restaurants and hotels, is 72,500 and they will be paid through special bank accounts. The action is to be continued until February 15 next year, after which the accounts will be closed.

Joint Activities of CATUS and Association
of Workers on Internet Agreed

15. december 2020  •    Further

ilustration At the invitation of the CATUS, the Council Vice-President, Duško Vuković, and the President of the Association of Workers on Internet, Miran Pogačar, discussed the acute problems of workers on the Internet and considered the ways to expand their cooperation.

December Pay Rise for
Public Sector Employees

7. december 2020  •    Further

ilustration This December employees in the public sector will get a pay rise, which means that basic amount for the calculation and payment of their January pay in 2021 will be increased by 10% and thus fixed, it will be higher by 5% starting from December 2020 pay.

CATUS Victory:
Without Penalty Points for Redundancies

5. december 2020  •    Further

 CATUS logo Workers who left the entreprises taking a social program ‘two years to pension’ and ‘five years to pension’ will no longer pay penalty points for their acquired pension, but in the future the pension will be paid in full amount.
This was agreed at the meeting with the Minister of Labour, Veteran and Social Affairs, Darija Kisić Tepavčević, President and Seceretary of the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia, Ljubisav Orbović and Zoran Mihajlović.

CATUS: Include Social Partners in Crisis Headquarters

1. december 2020  •    Further

ilustration Having in mind that factories, entreprises and institutions around Serbia are increasingly becoming the focus of corona virus epidemic, Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia is taking the initiative to include regional and local representatives of social partners in the crisis headquarters responsible for the elimination of COVID-19.

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

ilustration PROGRAM OF ECONOMIC MEASURES OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA AIMED AT REDUCING NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF THE CORONA VIRUS AND SUPPORTING SERBIAN ECONOMY
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.