Verzija na Srpskom English version

Short historical review

Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia is a trade union organization with the longest tradition in Serbia. It was born on March 9 1903 by a decision of various professional and local organizations (created in the second half of the 19th century), to associate and establish, for the first time in Serbian history, one trade union confederation - the Workers’ Confederation of Serbia. Federations of workers in the branches of construction, metal manufacturing, commerce and printing as well as Workers Society of Belgrade participated in its creation.
Period between 1903 and 1914 which was rather democratic, enabled the Confederation do develop its activities, to grow and to establish its first international contacts. At the same time the first general strikes were organized, and trade union school as well as workers cultural centre were established.
Conditions for union activities worsened a lot between 1914 and 1945. Two World wars and regimes often characterized by the antidemocratic behaviour did not contribute to the regular development of trade union movement . Nevertheless, it has to be mentioned that after the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, in April 1919, the Central Trade Union Workers’ Council of Yugoslavia was created, in which one forth of all delegates were from Serbia. However, its strength was undermined by strong divisions existing inside trade union movement, especially between reformists and Bolsheviks, as well as by the attempts of some governments to create their own unions. In spite of frontal attacks on workers, imprisonments and other forms of oppression, many different activities were organized.
In the period after the revolution Confederation was made part of the new social system in which it had not possibility to act autonomously. Still it took part in the process of self – management which for many years attracted the attention of foreign observers as an original form of socialism.

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