Verzija na Srpskom English version




for the year 2011

as a basis for partnership in resolving essential questions of economic and social policies andparticipation in implementing the fundamental aims and priorities of economic policy.

The Participants in the Agreement hereby undertake to work together to achieve the following aims in 2011:


1. creating the necessary conditions for economic growth by upgrading the business milieu and increasing the competitiveness of the Serbian economy, while preserving existing employment levels and macro-economic stability;

2. making the benefits of economic progress available to all citizens, while securing better protection of the rights provided by the law to all participants in the market;

3. implementing measures aimed at increasing economic activity and protecting socially vulnerable categories of the population, fully cognizant of the financial possibilities and capacities determined by the Budget;

4. implementing the reforms which are needed for a successful realisation of the process of European integrations in 2011, mindful of the realistic capacities of the economy to implement the necessary reforms.

The Participants in the Agreement hereby undertake jointly to implement, in the shortest possible term towards the implementation of the agreed tasks, each in its own sphere of activitythe following measures:


The Government of the Republic of Serbia

1. Adoption of concrete measures to stimulate production by investments in high-priority sectors worth 35.4 billion dinars, and granting over 17.7 billion dinars in credit funds of the Development Fund, as well as 4.6 billion dinars for the creation of new jobs to domestic and foreign employers;

2. Supplying the market with the most important food products (flour, milk, meat, edible oil, sugars etc.) and fuels at stable prices, in which process the Government will intervene in the event of a disruption of the balance between the market prices of these products and employees earnings;

3. Providing incentives for the development of agricultural production by adopting a comprehensive agrarian plan by the end of May which includes a system of subsidies aimed at increasing yields and a higher degree of finalisation of products, an alteration of the agrarian structure and investment in the development of livestock raising,  especially in the countrys underdeveloped areas;

4. Support for the export-oriented sectors of the Serbian economy by establishing a

Development Bank by the end of the year;

5. Determining, no later than the end of June, the dynamics of fulfilling the obligations the state and other public institutions have to employers for the performance of works and services rendered, as well as work on harmonising legislation in respect of financial discipline;

6. Defining a proposal for increasing the amount of the non-taxable part of earnings, by the end of June, with the approval of the Social-Economic Council;

7. Granting precedence to domestic enterprises in public procurement procedures, in accordance with the law;

8. Covering unpaid contributions to the Pension and Disability Insurance Fund, from 2011 Budget funds, for the 1st January 2004 – 31st December 2010 period;

8a. Extending the validity of health insurance cards to all employees (who have paid health insurance contributions for the current periods but have arrears), in accordance with the law;

9. At the expiry of the current General Collective Agreement, negotiations will be initiated on the contents of a new one;

10. Implementation of concluded collective agreements by adopting a decision on an extended effect;  11. Increasing the minimum wage, without tax and contributions, from the current 95.00 dinars (net) to 102.00 dinars (net) per hour of work for the June-December 2011 period;

12. Additional social protection of population groups which have difficulty finding work

or are otherwise vulnerable by implementing a new Law on Social Protection, for the development of services of social protection and assisting employment in 82 of the least developed municipalities (Group 3 and Group 4 on the development scale) in an amount of 400 million dinars, and for persons with disabilities in an amount of three million euros;

13. Adoption, by the end of June, of a Draft Law on Revisions of the Law on Contributions for Mandatory Social Insurance under which women who are entrepreneurs who use maternity leave but continue performing their business activity through a supervisor are not forced to pay contributions for pension and disability

insurance twice;

14. More effective protection of the rights of all market participants, employees and employers, and upgrading inspectorial controls in all sectors of the commercial milieu, in which process in the area of labour law, local labour inspectorates will organise once a month meetings with trade unions and employers and resolve outstanding problems;

15. New laws will be adopted or existing ones reviewed (The Law on Economic Enterprises, Revisions of the Law on Payment Operations, Revisions of the Law on the Conveyance of Goods in Road Transport and others) by the implementation of the Comprehensive Reform of Regulations (‘Guillotine’), saving considerable financial resources for the economy and employers;

16. The submission of all drafts of laws and other regulations of importance for the economic and social status of employees and employees to the Social-Economic Council, before they are reviewed and adopted by the Government;

17. Implementation of the Law on Funding Local Self-Government in respect of the determination of the maximum amount of municipal taxes;



1. Corporate social responsibility;

2. Observance of collective agreements;

3. Conclusion of branch collective agreements in the metal-processingchemical, non-metals and catering sectors by the end of June, and finalisation of negotiations on the remaining collective agreements by the end of the year;

4. Active participation in the process of adopting laws and other regulations which affect doing business;

5. Using all available measures and incentives to protect existing jobs;

6. Regular payment of wages and mandatory social insurance contributions;

7. Formation of social-economic councils at municipality and city levels by the end of October;


Trade unions

1. Social responsibility in the activities of employees;

2. Active participation in the process of adopting laws and other regulations which affect the material and social status of employees;

3. Active participation in approving subsidies for enterprises;

4. Observance of collective agreements;

5. Conclusion of branch collective agreements in the metal-processing, chemical, non-metals and catering sectors by the end of June, and finalisation of negotiations on the remaining collective agreements by the end of the year;

6. Commitment to resolve all problems through dialogue without undertaking any form of social action;

7. Formation of social-economic councils at municipality and city levels by the end of October;


The Plan for Implementing the Socio-Economic Agreement

The Participants in the Agreement agree to determine for each measure or task, whenever it is deemed necessary, the following:

1. concrete activities to be undertaken to realise goals that have been set

2. an evaluation and testing of the effects of all measures adopted once a month at meetings of the Social-Economic Council, at which times the agreement may be reviewed.


Ljubisav Orbovic, President of the CATUS 


Branislav Canak, President ofNezavisnostTrade Union Confederation


Mirko CvetkovicPrime Minister of Serbia


Nebojša Atanackovic, President of the Serbian Association of Employers


After long and strenuous tripartite negotiations the General Collective Agreement (GCA) was finally signed on April 29, 2008, in Belgrade and came into effect on May 17, 2008. All signatories unanimously assessed it as very important contribution to macroeconomic, social and political stability of the country.

Signatories of the GCA were representative employers’ and trade union organizations: the Union of Employers of Serbia, the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia and the UGS Nezavisnost.

On May 7, 2008 all three parties submitted a request to the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs to take a decision on extended validity of the GCA in compliance with the Labour Law Article No 257 i.e. on its implementation on all employers and the employed in the Republic of Serbia. They considered that decision to be in the interest of all since equal working conditions would be provided and disloyal competition prevented.

From May to November 2008, in the Social and Economic Council negotiations have taken place and analyses have been made on possible effects of the GCA extended validity implementation.

A result of negotiations was that the SEC have recommended participants in the GCA creation to conclude an annex by which allowances for holidays and meal at work foreseen by the GCA would be decreased by 25%.   

On the basis of the SEC’s recommendation, the Annex was signed on November 6, 2008. The monthly allowance for meal at work was decreased from 20% to 15% of the average salary in the country and allowance for holidays from the whole salary to 75% of the average salary.

Annex I of the GCA published on November 11, 2008 ought to be implemented since January 1, 2009.

Immediately after its conclusion, all three parties have requested the SEC of the Republic of Serbia to hammer out with the Minister of Labour a decision on the implementation of the GCA on all employers and the employed in Serbia. The Minister has taken it and a decision was published in the Official Gazette on November 11, 2008 to be implemented as of January 1, 2009.

We point out that six ministers of the Government, a number of its experts and respective Ministries have participated in the meeting. The Prime Minister has occasionally taken an active part in the negotiation process.

However, less than a month has elapsed since the GCA Annex was signed foreseeing its validity extension when the Union of Employers and the Government having reached some kind of an unprincipled agreement have drawn their signatures and have proclaimed non-existent everything that had been agreed and signed with unions.

Declaratively they continue to support finding out some compromising solution but the CATUS has for several times now agreed to essential compromises. Our organization has agreed in the course of negotiations that allowances for meal and holidays were decreased and to postpone implementation of the GCA to January 1, 2009 as well as to temporarily delay implementation of Article 32 of the GCA. To speak about further compromises would mean replacement of social dialogue idea by social dictation.

There are some hints that the Union of Employers and the Government will withdraw their signatures and cancel the GCA. That would eventually confirm our concerns that gradual elimination of the idea of social dialogue takes place. The Government has done little to assess effects of the forthcoming crisis that as far as in August has knocked at our door whilst measures to neutralize it have been neither well nor timely defined. There are now attempts to compensate all of that by transferring responsibility on the unions and workers that are blamed as guilty for the future grow of inflation and living expenses, loss of jobs and disruption of macroeconomic stability of Serbia. That is how victims of the forthcoming time are represented as the main threat to the welfare and progress of other citizens of Serbia. The CATUS expresses its serious worry that a conduct of employers and the government could imperil economic, social and even political balance in Serbia

Remaining faithful to the idea of the European social model and democracy the CATUS is firm in its intention to fight for a better life in Serbia and for more equal and just distribution of difficulties. We are also convinced that a demand that everybody should be able to live on his honestly earned salary does not generate inflation and endangers nobody.


-Consensus of social partners and true social dialogue  the CATUS’ condition for its support -


The CATUS decided not to participate in a meeting scheduled December 4, 2008 where “Decent Work Country Programme of the Republic of Serbia 2008-2011” had to be signed by social partners.

 In a letter addressed to the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of Serbia, Mr Rasim Ljajic, the President of the CATUS Ljubisav Orbovic expresses regrets as representatives of the CATUS will not be present at the meeting and will not sign the Programme.

 “Our determination to pursue the implementation of decent work principles on the basis of what is agreed and signed together with social partners in a true social dialogue the CATUS has proved so far not only by its activities but also by its understanding, acceptance of compromises as well as responsibilities for the realization of the agreed.

 Unfortunately, first by signing and immediately afterwards devaluing the provisions of the General Collective Agreement as well as its extended validity the socials partners have proved that their determination to social dialogue has been nothing but a mockery and time buying in order to ease social tensions caused by a heavy burden having been carried only by Serbian workers.

 You will admit that the signing of such a serious programme on  decent work by those who one day sign and tomorrow revoke it  can not be accepted. We remind you that there is no decent work if a worker is unwillingly left jobless, lives in poverty, if his rights from work and at work are abused, if he is at any ground discriminated, if employees can not organize themselves in order to make their voice heard or if there are obstacles to an effective dialogue with organized workers.

 The condition for our support to the Programme and its implementation is the achievement of social partners’ consensus through dialogue on all key issues of interest to the employed and thus the economy and its faster development. We repeat that the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Union of Employers Association in their statements and activities in last three weeks have demonstrated the agreements had been violated immediately upon their achievements.

The CATUS’ statement on attempts to devalue provisions of the General Collective Agreement

-The GCA to come into effect January 1, 2009-


The Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia as one of signatories of the GCA condemns the most severely malevolent attempts to unilaterally and contrary to the Law devalue provisions of the generally binding GCA that will come into effect on January 1, 2009 by inadequate statements in public and media.

 It is unacceptable that representatives of the government and the Union of Employers in a country that pursues respect of law in its way to the European integrations take part in such manipulations, although they have participated in a process of the GCA signing, its annexing and taking decision on its extension and guaranteed its implementation by their signatures.

 The government did not include funds for the obligations taken in 2009 budget proposal demonstrating so its open disregard of what it had signed.

 Attempts to qualify the unions’ demands to realize what had been agreed as unrealistic and jeopardizing for the economy and macroeconomic stability of the country are impermissible. Those who do that are well aware of the fact that the world economic crises that was used as an argument for the massive price increases had started months before negotiations were completed.

 By going on with those manipulations and using them as justification of its inconsistency and devaluations of what it signed, the government publicly showed not to have foreseen the consequences of crises on our already weakened economy. 

 Hence, the CATUS demands the President of the Republic as well as members of the government to publicly distance themselves from such statements practically canceling the GCA provisions, to prove their responsibility by the budget adjustment and to justify trust the citizens put in them in elections.  For citizens and voters in Serbia, it is unforgivable that the GCA is signed today and devalued tomorrow. By the GCA implementation the consequences of the crisis should be alleviated for the least paid employees who in the most part have carried a burden of transition.

The rule of law, social responsibility, care for the poor and poverty reduction, decent work and the new employment are the aims of all those wishing better life for the citizens of Serbia.

This time too, the CATUS emphasizes its determination for the essential social dialogue precondition of which is consistent respect of what was agreed and signed. If it is not the case, the CATUS is ready to use all legal tools of union struggle and to demand workers’ rights in massive street protests together with the citizens of Serbia.

October 20, 2008.

The CATUS demands decision on prices rise to be cancelled


The CATUS strongly protests against massive, dramatic and excessive wave of prices rise that takes Serbia back to a period we all believe was left behind us. Prices rise will shake the very foundation of domestic budget of Serbian citizens and pensioners.

The government of Serbia that has immodestly evaluated its work as very successful instead of leaving the evaluation on those who bear the consequences of its work seems to forget that the key element in its own programme was strengthening of social responsibility. One of its basic economic aims was to improve living standard of Serbian people.

The average basket of needs in August costed 32.692,00 RSD (398 €) and the average salary was 33.131,00 RSD (404 €). The latest prices rise and the government’s unexplained decision on gas price rise of 60% and double price rise of phone services accompanied with prices rise of food, fuels, school kits and school fees, as well as announced prices of public transport, some  municipal services and many others bring Serbia into a period of new crisis. Responsibility for it will be borne only by the government that declared itself socially responsible at the beginning of its mandate.

Having in view a number of gas using households in Serbia it can be expected that due to gas price rise many will turn to electricity. That will result with shortages of electricity in winter period thus benefiting importers who it almost seems so  have ordered such government’s decision.

That is why the CATUS proposes government to immediately cancel this decision and to bring a new one in compliance with earlier memorandum on maximum price rise of 8% yearly that will be accompanied by clear and adequate explanations.

Ljubisav Orbovic

CATUS President

October 11, 2008.

Belgian Textile Union President in Belgrade


In Belgrade, on October 8 and 9, 2008 a seminar was held that was attended by Dirk Uyttenhove, President of the Belgian Textile Trade Union, Radojko Jovanovic President of Textile Workers Union of Serbia, members of the Republican Committee and presidents of major company unions in the branches of textile and leather. The seminar was organized in the frame of traditional cooperation between the Textile, Leather and Footwear Workers Union of Serbia and ACV Textura of Belgium.

Uyttenhove’s presentation has emphasized issues that are very important for our union as are structure and financing of trade union organizations as well as ways of retaining old and recruiting new members.

It was concluded that all three basic parts of trade union structure should exist i.e. confederation, branch unions and territorial organizations. Visible results can be achieved only by their cooperation and coordinated activities. Equally, the only guarantee that union membership will grow massive are high quality services union offers and focusing not on personal or group interests but exclusively interests of members.

Colleague Uyttenhove was received by Ljubisav Orbovic, President of the CATUS and Slavica Savic, General Secretary. In an extended discussion reasons and possible consequences of incoming economic crisis, situation in the European realm of work and possibilities for future cooperation of two unions at branch and confederal level were discussed.

October 10, 2008.

CATUS marked the World Day of Decent Work


Activities of the CATUS to mark the World Day of Decent Work were finalized by a rally held in the Trade Union hall in Belgrade on October 7, 2008. About 500 union activists from all over Serbia got together to send a message to the public that decent work is a common denominator for a better life of workers and citizens of Serbia.

Guests to the rally were Mr Jovan Protic, the ILO National Coordinator for Serbia, Ms Cedanka Antic, Secretary of the Social and Economic Council of Serbia and Mr Frank Hantke from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation office in Belgrade. Employers were represented by Mr Blagoje Marinkovic from the Trayal corporation.

Athough it was expected that the general binding of the National Collective Agreement be signed on October 7, it did not take place due to unwillingness of the government and employers.

Ljubisav Orbovic, President of the CATUS together with the General Secretary Slavica Savic and Vice-presidents attended the rally. In his address to participants and Serbian public, Orbovic stressed that in Serbia with 25% of unemployment rate, there is a shortage of jobs and labour became very cheap. Workers work for a minimum wage and to keep their jobs accept unlimited hours and no protection.

He also reminded that the whole year the CATUS has carried out activities aimed at decent work promotion. One of them was May Day protest where higher wages, more employment, social dialogue and collective agreements conclusion were demanded. A number of round tables were also organized dealing with issues of decent work for all workers.   

Orbovic also warned the government that in case a dialogue did not take place and interests of the workers were not observed, the CATUS was ready and decisive to employ all means of union struggle. We consider it a legitimate way to decent work and dignity of workers, said Orbovic.

The CATUS also developed a brochure on decent work and disseminated it together with a leaflets at the stands in the streets of Belgrade and a number of cities in Serbia. The CATUS Youth section activists took part in this activity, too.

On October 7, the Metal Workers Union of Serbia together with labour inspectors visited 20 companies in metal sector to check conditions of work and to see if rules and regulations of safety and health at work are respected and implemented.

May 14, 2008.

Delegation of the CATUS headed by the President Ljubisav Orbovic

visited All China Federation of Trade Unions

May 6-12, 2008

On the invitation of the All China Federation of Trade Unions a delegation of the CATUS headed by its President Ljubisav Orbović visited China May 6-12, 2008. Members of the delegation were the CATUS Vice-presidents Vlada Andrić, the President of the Belgrade CATU, Duško Vuković, the President of  the Construction and Building Materials Industry Workers’ Union of Serbia and Miodrag Bradonjić, Secretary of the Provincial Council of the CATU of Vojvodina.

A visit resulted from the long-standing good relations between the two organizations characterized by a fruitful exchange of opinions and experiences from their work and activities in the international field.

The delegation has visited Beijing and a city of Chindao in the Eastern Shandong Province. In Beijing the President Orbović has talked with a Vice Chairman of the ACFTU Xu Zhenhuan and has exchanged information about  current developments in the two countries as well as a role and activities of unions for the protection of workers. Mentioned also were important aspects of developments in the international field, policy, economy and union related.

Speaking about development of Serbia after a change in 2000 took place Orbović particularly emphasized difficulties the CATUS was faced with when endevouring to protect workers from consequences of transition and privatization processes which left jobless a lot of them. He also informed hosts about a protest that took place on May 1 in Belgrade and was organized by the CATUS with a massive participation of workers from all over Serbia. They expressed their dissatisfaction with their salaries, pensions and a living standard. He also said that a general collective agreement in Serbia was signed end of April. Orbović thanked the political leadership of China for a principled stand on Kosovo independence.

Zhenhuan spoke about results achieved in China’s development since 1978 when reform and opening to the world policy began to be implemented. Specially was emphasized that China has attained an annual growth of 10,6% while workers’ salaries have grown by 13,1% annually. Results of that policy are living standard improvement and social stability. But such a rapid development has been accompanied with problems manifested in an unbalanced development of the economy, lack of energy, stratification of the society and sharper differences between the rich and the poor. Still there is much to do to improve the situation of workers migrating from villages to cities. The ACFTU experiences a rapid growth in membership of 13-19 million a year!

The two unions agreed that apart from bilateral cooperation they will further develop there is a lot of space and a need to work together in the international field.

May 5, 2008.




On April 29, 2008 after dragging out for three years now by the Union of Employers of Serbia, the General Collective Agreement was signed. On behalf of the unions, the GCA was signed by the President of the CATUS Ljubisav Orbovic and the President of the UGS Nezavisnost Branislav Canak. Mr Stevan Avramovic, President of the Employers’ Association signed the GCA on behalf of the employers. Present were the President of the Republic of Serbia Mr Boris Tadic and Minister of Labour Mr Rasim Ljajic.

At that occasion, Orbovic has reminded that the working text of the GCA was drafted in May 2005. Negotiating teams were composed and in June the text was presented to the employers.

Officially, negotiations started in August 2005. A month later, the Protocol was signed by two unions and employers which confirmed that the text of the GCA was agreed by all three sides. But, at its meeting held in September the Employers Association Management Board decided not to accept the already agreed GCA.

In February 2006 the Friedrich Ebert Foundation mediated by inviting social partners to continue negotiations on the GCA. Mediation did not give a result. The GCA was finally signed as a result of common efforts of unions and the government as well as changed attitude of the newly elected leadership of the Employers’ Association.

The President of Serbia, Mr Boris Tadic pointed out the importance of compromise that made signing of the GCA possible.  

The GCA offers workers the higher level of rights and their better protection. Says Orbovic: ”Among other issues, the GCA establishes the amount of a holiday allowance equal to the average salary in Serbia as well as a monthly hot meal benefit of 20% of the average monthly salary. Night work and work during holidays will be paid more (30% instead of 26% for night work and 120% instead of 110% for holidays); there are more possibilities for paid leaves; severance pay is increased; protection of union representatives is prolonged up to two years after the termination of their mandate; a Fund for development of democratic industrial relations, social dialogue, collective bargaining and training was established.”

May 2, 2008.




On the occasion of the May Day about 15 000 members of the biggest Serbian confederation gathered at Nikola Pasic Square in the very centre of Belgrade. Buses coming from all parts of Serbia started arriving a few hours before the beginning of the rally. Long columns of workers streamed towards the meeting point where a stage with loudspeakers was erected since early morning hours.

The rally was opened by the speech of the CATUS president Orbovic, followed by the speeches of various Presidents of Branch and Regional Trade Union organizations. All of them emphasized the harshness of the present situation and the necessity of achieving better wages and pensions, as well as increasing the employment. In that context a need for a real social dialogue was also mentioned. The brothers from the ZSS of Slovenia were personally present at the meeting while other friendly unions sent their messages of solidarity. The atmosphere was rather tense as workers shouted against the misbehaviour of the employers and the insensivity of the Government to the complaints coming from the world of labour.  However, no serious incidents were registered.

A column formed by the participants of the rally, but also by many other citizens eager to support workers’ claims, went through the central streets of Belgrade in the direction of the Serbian Government building. Thousands of CATUS flags and typical blue caps worn by the unionists coloured the streets of the city as slogans were shouted and traditional union songs played.

After gathering in front of the Government building, the participant gradually dissipated heading homeward in order to celebrate the Workers’ Day with their families.

Next time the presence of other confederation members is also expected.

April 2, 2008.




One of the reasons for the protest that the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia will organize on 2008 May Day is a state of social dialogue as a basic prerequisite for a sound economic and social development both at the level of the country and at the local level. As experience of the CATUS shows, problems in the field of social dialogue are:

 1)                   The approach to a social dialogue is formal and it is only declaratively accepted;

2)                   It is accepted only in case of being the only solution;

3)                   There is an attempt not to institutionalize the social dialogue;

4)                   Social dialogue is used as political instrument in order to achieve so-called “social peace”;

5)                   Social dialogue is mainly used to prevent something rather than to achieve it;

6)                   Discord of unions;

7)                   Absence of an appropriate logistic support for the Social and Economic Council work;

8)                   Partners are not representative – frequently the employers’ associations but quite often the unions as well.

9)                   Non existence of proper access to media.

 Due to the above, the CATUS demands the following:

 1.                   Conclusion of the national (general) and branch collective agreements and their extended validity (general binding);

2.                   The government is demanded not to change the Law on Public Enterprises before previously organized public discussion and an agreement with unions; distribution of free majority shares concept is unacceptable and the CATUS repeats its demand to the government not to sell the majority shares package. Instead, they should remain in the state’s hands.

3.                   The CATUS representatives in the Social and Economic Council of the Republic of Serbia will not participate in its work until the Prime Minister takes part in its meetings;

4.                   The CATUS will initiate the establishment of representativity of the Union of Employers. It demands that as transitional solution right to negotiate will be recognized to the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia by change of the Labour Law.

5.                   The CATUS calls on other trade union centers to undertake common action for realization of demands;

6.                   Urgent ratification of the European Social Charter is demanded;

7.                   The international organizations will be also asked to fully support a revival of a true social dialogue in Serbia as well as conclusion of a general and branch collective agreements.

March 26, 2008.


 CATUS protest on the May Day 2008


Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia (CATUS), all branch unions and trade union organizations and their membership have been expressing their dissatisfaction with the existing situation and drawing the attention of the employers and authorities in Serbia for some time now to the following:

·  there is no social dialogue in Serbia;

· collective agreements do not exist;

· there is no good communication with the government;

· key laws and regulations are adopted without union’s consent;

· labour legislation is restrictive;  

· massive violations of already reduced workers rights take place;

· Social and Economic Council is nothing but the “Potemkin village” whilst local SECs do not exist or function due to a lack of will of social partners;

· massive price rise is takes place, living standard falls and the government is threatens to freeze prices;

· so-called Union of Employers that is not representative acts arrogantly thus making possible the worst exploitation of the employed;

· the European Social Charter has not been ratified;

· everyone in Serbia lives hard because of low and irregular salaries, low pensions and slow employment.   

 At the May Day protest on May 1, 2008 in Belgrade the CATUS and its half-million membership will clearly express their PROTEST against that situation.

 We will strongly DEMAND

 ·establishment of a better social dialogue and conclusion of a national Collective Agreement

full employment, decent salaries and pensions regularly paid


February 26, 2008.


Slavica Savic, General Secretary of the CATUS, Dragan Zarubica, Vice-president and Ivan Pavicevic, International Secretary met Ms Petra Ulshoefer, Director of the ILO Regional Office in Budapest February 26, 2008 in the CATUS Council in Belgrade. As Ms Ulshoefer will occupy a new post in Geneva she took the opportunity of her farewell visit to introduce officially Mr. Jovan Protic, future the ILO’s coordinator for Serbia to the CATUS leaders. The establishment of the ILO office for Serbia will alleviate considerably communication with that organization and contribute to a more successful realization of projects that will follow.

The ILO’s plans for two next years include primarily employment issues and social dialogue promotion. The latest project to be funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation will be dedicated to a social dialogue promotion.

On the basis of a previous analysis a number of activities have been foreseen aimed at changes of regulations that now slow down negotiation process between social partners, at strengthening their organizations and conscience rise on significance and importance of negotiations and collective agreements system.

It is foreseen that a meeting of the representative trade unions and the Union of Employers of Serbia will be organized on March 13, 2008 in Belgrade to be followed by a meeting of trade unions, Union of Employers of Serbia and the Government of the Republic of Serbia on the next day.





February 21, 2008


Dear Colleagues,

It is for many years now that from our members in Kosovo and Metohija we have been receiving information depicting only some of horrors that the unfortunate non-Albanian workers are daily faced with. This time we are not going to speak about more or less known facts – about murders ethnically based, banishment of two thirds of non-Albanian population, plundering and private property destruction, mass demolition of churches…

We shall mention only facts pertaining to the realm of work. Firstly, almost complete expropriation of production capacities by the Albanian community backed by bare police force and inertia of the UNMIK. Privatization that massively deprived workers of the means of production was similar – more than in any other Central and East European country in transition – to a classical plunder. To that plunder discrimination on ethnic basis was added since the remaining jobs in disproportionate number were taken by the Albanians. One can not find words to describe the situation of the Roma people mainly engaged in the informal sector, an ethnic community almost completely expelled from Kosovo and Metohija and at the moment roving hopelessly on the roads in Serbia. How to secure effectively the right to work if the freedom of movement is almost completely non-existent with all non-Albanians locked in their enclaves able to move only when escorted by armoured cars? How can one speak about freedom to organize if registration of a union is endlessly delayed for formal reasons?

At the beginning of the negotiation process, it was said that the “substantial autonomy” foreseen by the UN Resolution 1244 would have been established in the province only when democratic standards in advance prescribed by the international community had been implemented. And now – we are witnessing the fact that the full independence of Kosovo and Metohija was supported, while the fulfillment of standards mentioned was left for the future! A “pragmatic” solution is proposed as a medicine for all complex problems in Kosovo and Metohija not taking into account that it denies the very foundations on which the international community established after the WW II rests.

It is obvious that by proclamation of independence of Kosovo and Metohija as well as by recognition of the new entity, the UN Charter and the OSCE Helsinki Final Act are completely left aside resulting in tacit rejection of principles for realization and protection of which these two organizations were created: i.e. the principles of preservation of countries’ “sovereign equality”, “territorial integrity”, “inviolability of frontiers” and “non-interference in the other countries’ internal affairs”. Circumvented is the UN Resolution 1244 concretely related to Kosovo problem in accordance to which the final result of negotiations between the Serbian government and the Albanian community should not have been the independence but only the “establishment of the substantial autonomy” for Kosovo and Metohija. The norm that crucial decisions aimed at universal acceptance – decisions that should contribute to peace preservation - can be taken in the UN Security Council only unanimously, has also been invalidated. And finally, however hard we refuse to acknowledge that here we are dealing with a precedent, it is quite clear that at the time of future similar settlements of conflicts this example could be used as a reference point. A possibility is created that in future any group of countries can decide to recognize some new entity. By doing so, parallel and conflicting international systems will be created jeopardizing so the unity of the international order. It seems as if a time of military-political blocks with all the immanent fears is knocking at our door again. We conclude with concern that geo-strategy has defeated the international law, interests have replaced justice, force has suppressed the law…

In the world that is heading towards a new cold war and in which it has already been manifested to what extent fear from the others can be used as an instrument, it won’t be easy at all to struggle for a true social progress. How to relate the growth of global tensions to positive integrative processes and ever growing interdependence of the national economies? To justify hotheaded nationalism in one case (this time Albanian) means to open a way for all those who refuse to live together with the others on any even the most favourable conditions. Is it not a strike on the very foundations of the united Europe which should have been a community based on overcoming narrow-minded nationalism and on “unity of varieties”? 

We appeal to you to manifest your union solidarity and to inform your members and those who influence decision making process about dangers that one-sided proclamation of Kosovo independence may engender. Only continuation of negotiations and the outcome that will be a result of compromise can guarantee a return of peace to our region and save the world from unnecessary and dangerous confrontations.

There is no social progress without peace and stability of the international relations. Precondition for that is the respect of those norms that we all together have established long ago over millions of lost lives and the ruins of the old world.

Sincerely yours,

Ljubisav Orbovic



Best viewed with 800x600px screen resolution and above, as well with IE5+.