PROTEST OF THE NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE EMPLOYEES
Yesterday, April 19 more than two thousand employees participated in
the rally organized by the Autonomous Union of Employees in the NHS.
Having reproached the politicians for pouring money into electoral
campaign instead of improving quality of service and living standard
of the employees in this important sector, they announced their main
claims: amendments to the Government’s decree related to the
coefficients determining their pays, and strict fulfillment of the
collective agreements. In present situation 70% of these workers
have wages which are under the average and do not let them live
It is curious that Health Minister Stankovic insisted on delivering
a speech in front of the angry workers. Although ready to bring good
news (giving up the planned decrease of salaries and payment of
delayed bonuses), he was met by shouts and whistles.
After having listened to the speeches of the union leaders and the
minister, the protesters moved to the Government building shouting
slogans and waving flags. The message was clear: if their demands
are not satisfied or a new deal with the Ministry not made the
union’s 65000 members are ready for the strike which should take
place on April 25.
CHANGING THE LIST OF PROFESSIONS
REDUCED LENGTH OF SERVICE
Neo-liberal attack on workers’ rights continues. The list of
professions with a reduced length of service will be significantly
modified till the end of this year.
see if they should remain on the list. At the same time demands of
the companies such as NIS ‘’Naftagas’’ (oil and gas production) and
JKP ‘’Gradska čistoća’’ (public utilities) will be taken into
account, as well.
National Pension and Disability Insurance Fund claims that such
reviews are regular because nowadays many jobs are less risky than
they used to be at the time the
list was made. The first list of professions with reduced length of
service was made in the 1950s, so the corrections are necessary,
they say. On the other hand, strong vibrations and noise, harmful
substances, danger of fires and explosives, psychosomatic and
emotional tension could be the reasons for the introduction of new
Serbian metal workers don’t look benevolently at the shortening of
the list, especially in ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy.
According to the President of the Autonomous Trade Union of
Metalworkers Vujovic, ’’the state is trying to transfer employers’
obligations to workers’ shoulders. It is completely illogical to
review those professions where working conditions haven’t improved a
bit. It’s true that out of 15, 000 employees about 20% have a
reduced length of service. But they are not office workers. They are
miners, smelters and workers at presses which emit temperatures over
40 degrees Celsius. They are all exposed to dangerous chemicals or
work under the ground, so it is absolutely absurd to review their
HUNGER STRIKE AFTER A DISMISSAL
Workers of the construction company „Ratko Mitrović“, are on a
hunger strike demanding
the payment of the remaining salaries for the past two years and
continuity in the years of service. President of the Strike
Committee said that the former employer owed to each worker between
80 and 130 thousand dinars ( 715 – 1160 euros) . He mentioned that
having medical problems the workers
requests. ’’Nobody, except trade union and media representatives,
came to talk to us. Our demands have not changed. We are asking the
former employer to pay out what he owes us’’. Bankruptcy of this
company was announced on March 19,
all workers were laid
off and the former owner declared his inability to pay out the
Unfortunately, workers in Serbia go on a hunger strike more often
than before because after being dismissed they have no other means
to respond. Workers’
is also intensified by the
Government’s Decree on unsettled liabilities of the so-called
socially owned enterprises, which protects the debtors and prevents
workers from charging labour related debts.
UNEMPLOYMENT IN SERBIA KEEPS ON GROWING
"This year’s GDP growth will practically be around zero and
concerning the fact that even in the time of relatively high growth
the unemployment tends to increase, the rise of unemployment is to
be expected too’’, shows the latest ILO study.
According to the data provided by this labour force survey, by the
end of November 2011 the unemployment rate of those older than 15
rose to 23.7% (by the he end of 2008 when the global economic
crisis broke out it was only 14.7%). It means that since the
beginning of the century 900, 000 people have lost their jobs, half
a million of them being the victims of the current economic crisis .
Besides, the study states that even though the average salary
increased faster than the GDP both before and after the beginning of
the crisis it is still insufficient for an average consumer’s
basket. However, authors of the study confirm that in the previous
years the private sector records the salary increase of 3%. That is
the consequence of dismissing workers with low salaries which caused
the salaries of those who kept their jobs to go up.
EMPLOYERS DON’T WANT A HIGHER MINIMUM WAGE
Despite the fact that just a couple of days ago at the session of
the Economic and Social Council (ESC) the Employers’
Association accepted the increase of the minimum wage,
now it demands the review of that decision saying they were led to a
deception because they hadn’t
known how much the increase would really cost the economy of Serbia.
At the session held on March 12 the ESC, including the
representatives of the Employers’ Association, representative trade
unions and the state, decided to increase the minimum wage from 102
dinars (0.91 euros) to 115 dinars (1.03 euros). The session was
presided by the president of the Employers’ Association,
Atanackovic, and finished regularly without any comments. Then, at
the press conference the Association announced the possibility of
withdrawing from the collective agreement because, as Atanackovic
said, it accepted the minimum wage on the basis of the incorrect
data provided by the representative of the Ministry of Finances.
Representatives of the Association warned that the minimum wage of
115 dinars per hour could seriously endanger the macroeconomic
stability of the country and lead to the closure of enterprises,
dismissals and problems with the IMF.
The Association calculated that the increase of the minimum wage
would force the employers to increase the salaries by 12.75% and
that money doesn’t exist. According to the employers, the
consequence of such a decision would be a dismissal of 50, 000 to
60, 000 workers in private companies and closure of many small and
medium enterprises. Trade unions said that it wasn’t clear to them
why the representatives of the Association rejected something they
had accepted just a couple of days before.
SECRETARY OF THE CATUS COUNCIL SLAVICA SAVIC SUBMITTED
General Secretary of the CATUS Council, submitted the resignation on
the position of the General Secretary and Council member. She asked
the Council to acknowledge her resignation at its next session.
of her decision to
What has privatization brought us?
decimated the number of employees. Approximately 680, 000 people
used to work there and today there are 286, 000, which is 58% less.
Those who still haven’t found a job don’t find it comforting that
the remaining colleagues have become much more productive.
of companies -
into companies -
are still in
But the state didn’t always manage to find conscientious buyers,
consequently almost every third sales contract was cancelled by the
These are just some of the results provided by the Privatization
Agency. According to the new law, the first privatization wave has
included the sale of
1, 400 enterprises up to 2006. There are 537 enterprises still
unsold while 346 sales proved to be unsuccessful. Successfully sold
enterprises have increased their profit by 69%. Those which were
unsuccessfully privatized are stagnating while in the cases of the
sales contract cancellation the profit was halved.
INCREASING THE MINIMUM WAGE
Economic and Social Council of the Republic of Serbia made a
decision on a new amount of minimum wage. It will be 102 RSD per
a working hour (net) for the period January – March 2012, and
115 RSD for the period April 2012 – February 2013. It was also
agreed that the untaxable part of salaries would be 10, 000 RSD
starting from April this year.
The Council has also recommended to the Labour Minister to
extend the application of existing branch collective agreement
in construction to all employers in the sector.
In line with the system of rotation the newly elected Council
chairman will be Nebojsa Atanackovic, president of the Serbian
Employers’ Association. He is replacing the current chairman
Orbovic, the CATUS president, and will keep that post from March
2012 to March 2013.
SERBIA: PRICES ARE RISING
Besides unemployment and general poverty, citizens of Serbia are
additionally hit by the tendencies on the global market of petroleum
products, as well as by further weakening of the national currency –
dinar. Experts predict new raise of prices so that consumer’s basket
which is quite modest at the moment would be a lot more expensive.
Transport services have already gone up by 7 % – 10% and are
followed by food, beverage and textile, and a couple of months later
the same will happen to electrical appliances, furniture ...etc.
However, the most painful is the rising price of food. It has been
announced that food would be more expensive by 4% to even 30%
because the increase of oil prices and euro exchange rate, as the
producers say, sonner or later will negatively affect the price of
the final product.
SOLIDARITY DAY WITH THE GREEK WORKERS
The Autonomous Trade Union of Employees in Energy and Petrochemistry
of Serbia joined the action of support for Greek workers organized
by the SEE Regional Network of Energy Workers’ Unions.
The day of joint solidarity action for Greek workers was organized
on March 7, 2012 and the employees all around Europe were informed
about the problems of Greek workers through media, trade union
websites and by organizing public lectures.
What is happening today in this country is just ’’a rehearsal’’ of a
much broader neoliberal experiment and that’s why it should interest
all workers, especially the workers in SEE. It is about a model
which could be used to put other countries in our region under a
specific form of protectorate. In this case politics would be based
on the same principles as the one proclaimed by the European Pact of
February this year, and it would boil down to continuous reductions
of labour price and gradual weakening of labour and trade union
SEE Regional Network of Energy Workers’ Unions points out that we
must be open to our societies and persuade them that current
economic policy needs to be changed. Only productive restructuring
of economy, not restrictions, can be beneficial to the countries
SEE Regional Network of Energy Workers’ Unions is ready to support
workers’ struggles in every country in the region which would –
similar to Greece – be attacked by the huge financial foreign
IN SEARCH FOR A JOB MILES AWAY
In Serbia 19,000 unemployed people would immediately accept a job
even if they had to move to another part of the country and 23,000
would cross the border if they got a chance
of a large profit. As estimated by the Serbian National
Employment Agency even 230, 000 of the unemployed would agree to
travel for miles in one direction just to secure their job.
facts oppose the established opinion that workers in
Serbia aren’t ready to change their place of residence in search for
a job and belief that it is one of the causes of the long term
unemployment. For example, last year one construction company wanted
to take a thousand of construction workers to Russia and many
people applied for the job. The same
thing happened with this year’s offer sent to the road maintenance
industry. This was also confirmed by
the National Employment Agency which says that every third
unemployed person would be ready to leave his/her place of residence
while looking for a decent job and dealing with a serious proposal.
DRASTIC EMPLOYMENT DECREASE IN
Just three years ago few of 275, 922 workers thought they would get
fired soon. However, they experienced the very thing mentioned. It
means that since the beginning of the economic crisis the work force
in Serbia was decimated, with the largest number of newly
unemployed being from Kragujevac, Kraljevo, Krusevac, Aleksinac and
Svrljig. In some federations predict that till the end of this year
new 150, 000 names will be added to this ‘’black list’’.
The biggest employment decrease was marked in the processing
(64,134), commerce (14,763) and construction (14,243). The worst
happened to the private sector, where the number of workers went
from 401, 016 to only 234.459.
In November 2011 employment rate was 35.3%. Out of this
refers to men and
to women. The future doesn’t promise much more because compared to
April 2008 the list of employees has been shortened by
names, in other words by even
Also, it should be taken into account that besides those who were
dismissed the list was supplemented with the names of those who in
the meantime retired, deceased or moved to other countries.
The informal employment rate is also in decrease. In November 2011
it was 2.1% lower than in April. This has a specific importance
because 700, 000 people are involved in the informal economy and 30%
of the country’s GDP is produced in this sector.
latest data from the National Employment Agency show 735, 053
citizens hope to get a job and that is over 23% of the total active
After a discussion which took months, at the session held on March
1, 2012 CATUS Council decided that the biggest trade union
confederation wouldn’t give direct support to the political parties
or coalitions participating in the upcoming elections in Serbia.
Following previous decision of the Council, CATUS representatives
spent months talking to the representatives of parliamentarian
parties about their proposals for the solution of the crisis and
possible forms of cooperation which could contribute to the
realization of trade union objectives and workers’ interests.
in mind the seriousness of the problem and depth of the crisis, we
expect that straight after the elections and creation of the new
government our demands would be realized through the adoption of
concrete measures. We also expect history not to be repeated and
promises from the campaign not to remain on the level of
We stay true to the idea that only social partnership and tripartite
dialogue, along with mutual respect and consistent realization of
what has been agreed, lead to sustainable development and better
life in Serbia. In the future we’ll insist on these principles and
be ready to use all legitimate means of trade union struggle if they
CATUS and DP meeting
Necessary control and corrective roles of trade unions
In connection with pre-electoral activities CATUS representatives
have recently talked with the representavies of the Democratic Party
(DP) as well.
CATUS delegation was led by President Orbovic, while DP was headed
by the Deputy President
They jointly concluded that the citizens of Serbia were right to be
dissatisfied with their economic and social position and it was
necessary to create a system which would guard exisiting jobs and
initiate recovery and economic growth, primarily through substantial
internal resources. To this end, it is necessary to establih
control and corrective roles of trade unions.
Commenting on the idea of direct trade union political engagement
CATUS President Orbovic has pointed out that ‘’unfortunately, social
dialogue didn’t give expected results primarily because the
agreements weren’t respected. Therefore, we’ve got the idea that the
trade union should start thinking about new work methods which would
provide better protection of members’ and employees’ interests’’.
said that a huge budget
deficit mustn’t be resolved by the reduction of salaries. On the
contrary, the savings should come from public procurements where
it’s necessary to set up a system preventing the squandering of
money from the state budget. He was precise that ‘’neither
Government should save on the salaries of nurses, doctors, teachers
and policemen, nor the businessmen on the salaries of their
employees, since the decrease of salaries and pensions would mean
weaker purchasing power and economic activities’’.
LOW PRICES, LOW SALARIES
Judging by the ‘Eurostat’ data Serbia is among 10 cheapest
countries of Europe where the prices are almost 50% lower than
in the EU. However, due to modest salaries citizens’ purchasing
power is among the weakest in the region.
Lower salaries exist only in Macedonia, where the prices are
lower by 56% than the European average. Regarding the salaries
in the region the highest ones are in Croatia and Slovenia,
while Serbia is preceded by both Montenegro and Bosnia and
EXTENDED EFFECT OF THE BRANCH
COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT IN CHEMICAL INDUSTRY
Minister of labour and social policy of Serbia Ljajic signed the
decision on the extended effect of branch collective agreement in
chemical industry of Serbia, applying to all employers in the field.
That decision, binding for all employers in the branch, will provide
higher level of protection for all 45, 000 employees.
Ljajic explained that the extension confirmed the rights envisaged
by the Labour Law, and also precisely regulated the height of hot
meal (amounting to 20% of the minimum wage), as well as vacation
bonus (equalling the minimum wage).
He estimated that the extended effect of the agreement would be very
important in chemical industry in which the number of workers was
reduced by 50% due to unsuccessful privatizations and economic
President of the Autonomous Trade Union of Workers in Chemical
Industry of Serbia Nestorovic said that the extended effect would be
applied starting from March 1, 2012 and would be valid for three
CATUS president Orbovic complimented the extension of the agreement,
stressing that it would improve workers’ position and protect them
CATUS and SDPS meeting
TRADE UNION PLATFORM ACCEPTABLE, DEMANDS REALISTIC
Continuing the debate with political parties CATUS representatives
have recently met the leaders of
part of the ruling coalition.
At the meeting it was concluded that social justice and rights of
workers and socially marginalized people are a common denominator of
both CATUS and SDPS.
Demanding that state engages itself more in overcoming the crisis,
CATUS president Orbovic pointed out that ‘’foreign investments were
desirable, but it was us who had to initiate economic activities,
and consequently the foreign capital would arrive’’.
SDPS president Ljajic said that trade unions were natural partners
and allies of that party, and no matter whether CATUS would
politically engage itself or stay aside, after the elections SDPS
should cooperate with the trade union in further reforms ‘’because
only united they could improve social dialogue in Serbia’’.
The CATUS Platform was acceptable and the majority of demands was
realistic and feasible, estimated Ljajic.
TRADE UNION PRESENTED ITS POLITICAL PLATFORM
TO THE SERBIAN PROGRESSIVE PARTY
Representatives of the CATUS and Serbian
Progressive Party (SPP) discussed
basic orientation and concrete demands of our trade union.
Presidents of two organizations Orbovic and Nikolic agreed that
trade union’s platform was almost identical to the main objectives
of the Serbian Progressives. They couldn’t be realized immediately,
but if the SPP formed the government the foundation for their
realization would be laid down.
Both presidents underlined the fact that the meeting hadn’t dealt
with the placement of union leaders on electoral list of the SPP nor
with possible engagement in ministries in the case the Progressives
formed the government.
However, Orbovic said that CATUS wanted to keep control over the
execution of the possible agreement. He added that Confederation
‘’had started meditating different ways of its engagement after
having been confronted with the extremely critical situation in the
country. Strikes and rallies can help solving only particular
problems and have mostly short-term consequences while the union’s
Platform provides wider perspective to Serbian citizens’’.
CATUS PLATFORM FOR THE TALKS WITH THE POLITICAL PARTIES
containing basic aims and demands of the CATUS.
The platform contains CATUS basic positions and concrete demands
which will be discussed in the continuation of talks with
At the session on March 1, 2012 the CATUS Council will make a
decision on a possible political engagement and ways of cooperation
with those parties that are ready to accept aims and demands of the
SERBIA: DISMISSALS AND CUTTING SALARIES AS A STRATEGY
Dismissals are the first and most obvious consequence of the
overflow of crisis into Serbia. This is also confirmed by the newest
research ’Study about restructuring – Serbia in 2012’. Even 90% of
the polled companies think that restructuring actually means
dismissing workers. Trade unions already fear that dismissals would
be continued. The first ones to take the blow are companies which
are about to go bankrupt. If the crisis strikes hard, economists
estimate the number of dismissals would reach 100, 000. We witnessed
this during the first surge of crisis as well. At that time
everybody reacted slowly and 2008 passed without many dismissals.
However, 240, 000 people lost their jobs in 2009.
Reduction of salaries will continue further on. According to the
level of salaries Serbia takes one of the last places among the
countries in the region. There is only Macedonia behind it. If
dismissals go on, there are few families in which at least one
member won’t be left without the salary. If the fact that around 55,
000 people are working without being paid is added to this, the
situation is very difficult.
CATUS and Democratic party leadership meeting
DEMANDS OF THE TRADE UNION MUST BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION
CATUS representatives talked to the delegation of the Democratic
party about the economic situation in the country, problems
torturing workers in Serbia and solutions on how to overcome
Numerous questions posed by the CATUS Presidency members, presidents
of autonomous trade unions and municipal councils were answered by
the president of the Democratic party Boris Tadic, his Deputy Dragan
Djilas and Vice-President of that party Dusan Petrovic.
After a three hour meeting in the CATUS premises, which Tadic
assessed to be excellent but very difficult, he answered the
journalists’ questions together with the CATUS president Orbovic.
with the economy and nobody mentioned politics, but issues
concerning the future of today’s and upcoming generations.
„This was a closing meeting which CATUS orgnized with
parliamentarian parties in Serbia, with the aim to find the best
possible solutions for the country’s exit from the crisis. What is a
democratic step forward is the fact that we managed to talk to both
parties in opposition and the ruling parties in the last couple of
months and none of them was angry becasue we wanted to hear
everybody’s view on the how to solve the problems“, Orbovic said.
According to his words, representatives of the biggest trade union
confederation in Serbia pointed out to numerous problems that
employees are faced with, low living standard, bad privatization,
low level of social dialogue, as well as mistakes made by the
authorities in the previous period.
„The conversation was open, dynamic and full of questions and I
think that both sides were satisfied in the end“, Orbovic concluded.
Tadic said „ many remarks given by the trade union were justified
because sometimes things could seem different when looking from the
trade union point of view than when looking from the point of view
of country’s leaders“. Having admitted that „many mistakes were made
in the past“, he added that today’s main issue was how to save
existing potentials and possibly ensure further development in such
At the same time he expressed readiness to meet more frequently with
trade unions in the future so that they would come to joint
solutions to the problems.
SERBIAN TRADE UNIONS TALKED ABOUT POSSIBLE COOPERATION
The meeting was attended by the representatives of CATUS,
Confederation of Free Trade Unions, United Trade Unions of Serbia ‘’Sloga’’
and Industrial Trade Unions of Serbia.
Having learnt from their previous successful experience, trade union
representatives agreed that concerning the problems which citizens,
workers and trade unions would be confronted with in 2012 joint
trade union actions was the only right way to solve existing
difficulties and prevent new ones.
CATUS president interviewed by
‘GREEK SCENARIO’ AWAITS SERBIA?
use all allowed means in order to prevent new dismissals. ‘First of
all, we’d use agreement. If we can’t reach it, we’ll use strikes and
protests which could remind us of ‘’Greek scenario’’ to a great
‘People simply can’t bear this situation any more. There will
certainly be fewer strikes because people who work, even those who
earn little, consider themselves privileged – which is shameful.
However, streets will be swamped by not only employees but also
youth, unemployed, hungry people. This is a great population which
can no longer live like this’,
Orbovic said to
the number of workers is equal to the number of pensioners, and when
you add the unemployed to this it is clear that any further
reduction of employees would be catastrophic’’.
But if construction, agriculture and industrial production aren’t
encouraged and, if new jobs aren’t created, such danger exists.
Orbovic reminded that 250, 000 jobs
in the last three years
despite the optimism of politicians who claimed that Serbia would
profit in the crisis. CATUS hasn’t still made a final decision about
its political involvement, but the decision could be made very
AVERAGE SALARY IN SERBIA –
RSD 48, 887
The average net salary in Serbia was RSD 48, 887 (414 euros) in
December 2011. That is realistically by 15.2% and nominally by 14.4%
higher than in November 2011, as it was announced by the Statistical
office of the Republic of Serbia.
According to the data provided by the Statistical office net salary
in December was realistically higher by 3.6% than in the same month
in 2010 and nominally by 10.9%.Gross salary in December 2011 was
realistically higher by 3.9% than a year before, and the nominal
increase of average gross salary was 11.2%.
PAYMENT OF SALARIES ONLY AFTER PAYING
TAXES AND CONTRIBUTIONS
If there isn’t enough money on a company’s account for a
simultaneous payment of salaries, taxes and contributions, bank will
allow the payment only of a
proportional section of salaries and corresponding taxes and
contributions. These novelties were prescribed by the amendments to
the “Law on tax procedure and tax administration” which have
recently been adopted by the Serbian Parliament.
"Banks which allow the payment of salaries without a simultaneous
payment of adequate taxes and contributions will need to pay a fine
which corresponds to the amount of unpaid taxes and contributions,
increased by 50%", says the new Law.
novelty is the list of tax debtors
citizens and enterprises
will be published straight after the Law has been enforced. This way
the public will finally know who meets the obligations and who
Besides numerous promises and adopted government’s measures,
construction industry in Serbia keeps sinking while the increasing
number of construction workers is dismissed.
This year between five and six thousand construction workers lost
their jobs. Additionally the activities in construction industry
will be further minimized in the next year, announced by the CATUS
federation of construction workers.
‘’Almost every year the number of construction workers is reduced by
about 5%’’, emphasizes the president of that trade union Dusko
State program aimed to help construction workers with around 245
projects produced certain results, but these measures aren’t
sufficient to take this sector out of the crisis. At the moment
there are approximately 110, 000 workers in the sector. The problem
is that more and more people work in the informal sector.
National Trade Union Board adopted the “2012 Declaration” which
demands strict application of the branch collective agreement and
stimulating measures of support for the construction companies. This
means that housing loans should be given on more favourable
conditions and companies helped to become more competitive abroad.
points out that in the next year only the employers who respect
collective agreements should be entitled to participate in public
procurements. Also, it is necessary that state creates measures
aimed at reducing work in the informal sector and founds a special
Ministry responsible for construction industry.
Trade Unions against the privatization of public utilities
COLLECTED 110,000 SIGNATURES FOR THE REFERENDUM
Trade unions of employees in public utilities of
collected 110, 000 signatures in order to initiate referendum with
the following question: ’Are you against the entry of private
capital into public utilities of Serbia and giving them into
It was a part of a joint action of trade unions of employees in
public utilities of Serbia affiliated to the CATUS, ASNS, UGS
’Nezavisnost’ and ’Sloga’, initiated with the aim to stop the „Law
on public utilities, public-private partnership and concession“ from
entering parliamentary procedure.
The signatures, collected by the trade unionists, have already been
submitted to the Serbian Parliament.
"Unless the Serbian Parliament decides to hold a referendum, we
will organize a general protest by the end of January’’, announced
the president of the CATUS federation of employees in public
utilities, Milan Grujić.
According to what he said, trade unions were not opposed to the
entry of foregin capital into some fields of economy. However, they
do their best so that the essential fields such as water supply,
discharge of garbage, remote heating, tram and trolley bus
transportation and right to a decent funeral remain state property.
Trade union representatives announced that the demand concerning
this law’s constitutionality would soon be submitted to the
Saying goodbye to the journalists Grujić said that having in mind
how the entire Serbian economy was ruined in the past, it was very
probable the same would happen to public utilities, something trade
unions can’t allow in any way. They wish public utilities to be
saved and jobs kept.
CARE ABOUT THE WORKING HOURS
Endless working week, work left to be done on weekends or not enough
days off are a real torture for at least 150, 000 Serbian workers.
According to the survey of the Social and Economic Council of Serbia
even 30% of companies don’t respect legal norms concerning working
hours, employees’ right to a half an hour break during the working
time nor the right to a weekly or annual leave.
Out of 2, 391 companies which changed their owner in the last five
years only 1, 673 of them obey legal provisions regulating working
hours while the other ones ignore them.
“In Serbia workers are increasingly abused and kept at work much
longer than it is allowed by the law’’, estimates the CATUS
Afraid of losing their jobs the employees rarely stand up to this
and almost never complain. The biggest abuses are present in the
construction industry, then in commerce and catering.
As it was shown by the ‘Infostud’ survey even 69% of the polled take
their work home. Besides, almost everybody (94%) intensively thinks
about work even when they leave the offices.
Vukovic clarifies that the Labour Law regulates a working year of
2,080 hours and even if the overtime hours are added it can’t exceed
2,496 hours because that is a legal maximum. Anything going beyond
is considered a violation of law. However, not many people venture
to report their employers and such cases boil down to exceptions.
Also, according to the ‘Infostud’ survey employees most often work
between 41 and 50 hours a week, 31% of them work below 40 hours
while 20% prolong their working week by more than 10 hours and spend
at work more than 50 hours.
ACHIEVED ECONOMIC GROWTH AND LOST JOBS
increase its GDP by 1.9% and industrial production by 2.2% comparing
to the last year. The biggest increase of production was recorded in
the field of electric energy while the biggest fall was registered
rise of economic activities wasn’t followed by new jobs. On the
contrary, the number of employees was reduced by 2.8% which means
that another 50, 000 jobs were lost. This is pretty disturbing when
we all know the unemployment rate is 22.8% and the majority of the
unemployed are young people and those who wait for an employment
more than a year.
BANK EMPLOYEES ALSO DISMISSED BECAUSE OF THE CRISIS
In an interview to the Belgrade daily newspaper “Blic”, the
president of the Serbian Federation of Employees in Banks and
Insurance Companies (BOFOS) Mara Erdelj said that restructuring
caused by the crisis had forced many banks to close some of their
branch offices and dismiss employees. This trend will last as the
number of loans for the public has been stagnating and there is less
She warned that the restructuring of banks owned by Greek and
Italian companies has not started yet. Two Greek banks (“Alfa” and
EFG”) merged and some dismissals are expected in Greece, she added.
The merger will probably affect their Serbian branch offices as
The consequence of reforms made in “Vojvodjanska banka”(owned by the
National bank of Greece) were 146 dismissals. The main reason for
redundancies was the introduction of new technologies.
The case of “Erste banka” is somewhat different: although some of
branch offices were closed, the employer respected workers’
interests to the maximum. Those who have the status of the only
family member with a job were allowed to keep their jobs, while some
employees were given possibility of working four hours a day, which
saved many jobs. The problem of pre-retirement of elder workers and
contributions which had to be paid to them was also solved
The way the employees of the National Bank of Serbia were saved was
a real miracle: the new law on protection of banks’ clients made it
necessary for them to check the concordance of their commercial
contracts with that legal act. So while the checking procedure is
going on there will be no new dismissals.
VERY DIFFICULT 2012 FOR THE CITIZENS
a lot of things will depend on tendencies in the Euro zone.
Situation is additionally complicated by the fact that elections are
to be organized in the middle of the next year. Our experience tells
us that the economic policy isn’t changed at the time of the
elections and the system isn’t drastically reformed.
The fact is that in 2012 we won’t have a much better life
than last year. Especially if taken into account that in the next
year GDP will grow only by 1.5% (the IMF says 2%).
The slowing down of the economic growth could cause serious problems
in the fiscal sphere. We will know more when we see the 2012 budget.
must finally reform the public sector. There is no more space for
fiscal savings, so partial privatizations of state-owned enterprises
and reform of the pension system are two key moves the Government
from the latest issue of ‘’Macroeconomic analysis and trends’’ add
to the pessimistic view of the future: economy as a whole,
industrial production and turnover of goods are decreasing and
falling below the last year’s average. Trade deficit persists and
COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS FOR THE EMPLOYEES
IN METAL AND CHEMICAL INDUSTRY SIGNED
A few days ago
metal and chemical industry of Serbia. On behalf of the
Autonomous Trade Union of Employees in Chemical Industry of
Serbia this was done by the president Ljubisa Nestorovic, and by
the president Zoran Vujovic for the Autonomous Trade Union of
Metal Workers of Serbia. On behalf of employers the agreement
was signed by the Director of the Employers’ Organization,
Having signed the agreement Vujovic said that ‘’the act opened a
new chapter in the work of the trade unions and employers
characterized by better understanding between social partners’’.
He said he hoped that new agreements would be implemented and
would improve working conditions.
Nestorovic added that signing of the agreement represented ’’
the end of agony lasting for years’’, and showed the way the
country should follow in order to get out of the crisis. ’’At
the same time we sent the message to the political oligarchy
saying that compromise can be achieved and it is the only
solution to the problem of the economic re-start’’, he
Director Marjanovic said the state didn’t take care of other
social partners, while this move of the employers and unions
showed their concern about the society and future of the
TEXTILE WORKERS’ TRADE UNIONS OF SERBIA, REPUBLIC OF SRPSKA AND
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA SIGNED COOPERATION AGREEMENT
Presidents of three unions signed it in Sarajevo on November 30,
The agreement envisages joint trade union training, collecting,
processing and exchange of information, exchange of knowledge and
relevant texts, common struggle for more effective social dialogue,
activities contributing to safeguarding jobs and improving working
conditions, as well as the exchange of opinions concerning laws and
The agreement was signed under the auspices of the Vice-President of
the European textile and metal workers’ federation Dirk Uyttenhove
who underlined the importance of this act because all textile unions
in the region are confronted with the same problems.
President of the Bosnian federation Omanovic said that the agreement
is the result of the already existing cooperation as highly disloyal
Asian competitors represent serious threat to local textile, leather
and footwear industries.
President of the Textile Workers’ Trade Union of the Republic of
Srpska Danko Ruzicic reminded that textile workers in the whole
region were in a quite unfavourable position forcing them to create
the ‘’common front’’.
According to the words of the president of the Trade Union of
Textile, Leather and Footwear Workers of Sebia, Radojko Jovanovic, the
situation is extremely difficult and the employees are dismissed on
Social and Economic Council publishes the results of
PER CENT OF THE PRIVATIZED COMPANIES DO NOT EXIST ANY MORE
The effects of the privatization in Serbia were rather negative as
the major part of the privatized companies got weaker, many were
closed down, a great number of workers were dismissed and rights of
those still working limited.
According to the data of the Privatization Agency 3700 companies
were privatized between 2002 and 2011. In the same period the Agency
annulled 636 contracts in which certain irregularities were
The survey based on a representative sample encompassing 417
privatized companies in 15 Serbian cities shows that 65 per cent of
them do not exist any more or are to be closed. The number of
workers in those still operating has decreased by 45 per cent, the
wages are mostly at the pre-privatization level and irregularly paid
in every other company. The number of workers on fixed time
contracts has increased. Before the privatization all companies had
a collective agreement while nowadays only one of five has it. The
survey has also shown that only in 25 per cent of companies the
owners have invested more than stipulated by the contract, while in
20 per cent of them they did not invest at all or even partly sold
However, it would be difficult “to destroy everything that was done
and start from the beginning” - it is much better to try to correct
mistakes and keep on building an efficient market economy.
Taking into consideration the fact that big pubic companies will
also be privatized soon, the lesson we learned should be an
admonition and mistakes committed in the past should not be
survey was made in order to show the importance of the privatization
contracts’ control and substantial role the social partners play in
the restructuring of public sector – only taking these two facts
into consideration the effects of that process will be more positive
than they were in the case of the private sector.
SDP President visits CATUS Council
SOCIAL JUSTICE AS A COMMON DENOMINATOR
Democratic Party (SDP) policies.
This is what presidents Orbovic and Ljajic told the journalists
after the meeting of the CATUS Presidency members, presidents of
various CATUS federations and SDP representatives.
in order to hear their proposals for the country’s exit from the
Orbovic and Ljajic stressed that the largest trade union
confederation and the SDP have very similar, even identical
positions concerning the future and development of the country,
especially in the social and economic domains.
Ljajic, who is also the Minister of Labour and Social Policy, said
that trade unions were ’’genuine partners and allies of the SDP’’
and regardless of whether his party would be politically engaged or
’’stay aside’’ it should cooperate with the trade union in further
reforms because ’’only together they could improve social dialogue
It was also agreed that
finding solutions for the problems of high unemployment and
cooruption must be the priority of every government and that
strengthening social dialogue was necessary, especially at the time
Ljajic estimated that crisis would last
longer than we expected and consequently Serbia would face
‘’great challenges in 2012’’. Therefore, an agreement and
collaboration with the strongest trade union organizations are
needed. In accordance with this, he underlined that the amendments
to the Labour Law should be reached only through dialogue with
According to its leader, the Social Democratic Party is very
interested in signing the agreement with the trade unions.
"If we took part in the future government, we would ask the post
of Minister of Labour to be occupied by a trade union
representative’’, Ljajic said.
To the journalist’s question related to this offer, Orbovic replied
that unionists did not consider such moves and it wasn’t the motive
that pushed them into politics.
He emphasized that at the November 29 session of Social and Economic
Council the amendments to the Labour Law sent by the Ministry of
Labour, namely the section concerning the regulation of fixed term
employment, would not be accepted by the CATUS.
DELIBERATE BANKRUPTCY WILL BE PUNISHED BY THE SEIZURE OF
The change of the Serbian Criminal Code, referring to a deliberate
bankruptcy which will be treated as a criminal act and punished by a
prison sentence and seizure of property, is supported by
businessmen, receivers and trade union representatives.
State secretary in the Ministry of justice and the president of the
working group for the Amendment to the Criminal Code, Slobodan Homen,
said the intention was to stop the avoidance of responsibilities to
the state, other companies and employees who are most often left not
only without their salaries, but also without paid contributions for
social and health insurance.
Those who know a lot about this issue state that the ‘’production of
bankruptcy’’ became a profitable business a long time ago. Also, the
overall number of cases which can’t be executed because a certain
company went bankrupt is higher than the number of all other final
judgments in Serbia – as Homen claims. There are at least 500, 000
Even existing regulations treat a deliberate bankruptcy of a company
as a criminal act. However, if the offender was to serve his time,
the intention to harm the creditors should be proven and that is
very hard to do, says an experienced receiver who wants to stay
‘’The novelty in the Criminal Code could be the provision according
to which a prison sentence will be followed by the seizure of
property. Now the owner of a company with a limited liability can’t
be deprived of property settling the debt to the creditors,
including the state’’.
There are a lot more cases in which an owner founds several
companies. When the account in one company is blocked and while
waiting for the completion of bankruptcy procedure which won’t
satisfy the creditors, the owner continues working with the same
assets transferred into one of new companies. Serbian Business
Registers Agency registers a new company of such owner at the price
of 500 euros while it doesn’t previously check its business history,
which shouldn’t happen.
‘’Production of bankruptcy’’ was widespread in a disgraceful Serbian
privatization. The buyers would get the company into enormous debts
and the money received from a loan or sold goods would be brought
into another company of their own or in the possession of friends
and relatives. If a good company is at stake, an ‘’ally’’ is found
to buy company’s products at ‘’extremely’’ low prices and resell
them at higher prices to the next buyer. This way a complete profit
stays outside the privatized company and is often used to fulfill
the investment obligations arising from the privatization agreement
or even settle the remaining debt to the Privatization Agency.
PROTEST OF EMPLOYEES IN PUBLIC UTILITIES IN BELGRADE
Recently public utilities workers have protested in the streets of
Belgrade demanding that the Draft of Law on
utilities and private - public partnership be withdrawn from the
The protest at Nikola Pasic sq. in the city center was jointly
organized by the Trade Union of Employees in Public Utilities of
Serbia (CATUS member), Federation of Public Utilities Workers ‘’Nezavisnost’’
and United Trade Unions of Serbia ‘’Sloga’’.
Trade unions said they were protesting because at the time when
these drafts were being prepared no one took into consideration
their point of view, nor the view of experts and representatives of
public utilities. They ask for a referendum so that the citizens
could have the possibility to express their opinion about this
‘’vital issue which is in the national interest’’. Trade unions
point out to the fact that Serbian authorities promised domestic and
foreign investors that they would make enormous profit based on
exploiting Serbian water resources and strategically important
The march of a couple of thousand employees started at Nikola Pasic
sq, and then it was continued by protests in front of the buildings
of the Serbian Government, Parliament and Ministry of Economy.
On that occasion trade union representatives said clearly to the
authorities that ‘’sale of Serbian waters’’ would not be allowed.
There were even some harsher words, such as mentioning ‘’labour
revolution as apparently the only way for workers to change
something in the country whose economy is in ruins’’. The President
of the Trade Union of Employees in Public Utilities Grujic told the
journalists that trade unions had been dealing with these laws for
four years while the government wanted to adopt them ‘’over night’’.
It is obvious that the Social-Economic Council is being avoided, the
consequence of which could be the repetition of mass riots in the
streets similar to those accompanying democratic changes of October
At yesterday’s press conference CATUS President Ljubisav Orbovic
emphasized ‘’it was unforgivable that the Law on public utilities be
adopted because its importance not only for the employees in this
branch but also for all citizens in Serbia’’. He added that the
privatization of public utilities would have more tragic
consequences than the privatization of Serbian industry and economy
which privatized public utilities show that there has been the
immediate rise in prices, but also worsening of public utilities and
Regarding foreign investors’ recommendations CATUS says
WE’LL DEFEND WORKERS’ RIGHTS USING ALL MEANS
We are aware that Serbia can’t develop without foreign investments,
but they shouldn’t impose slavery which doesn’t exist in their
countries – it was pointed out by the representatives of the largest
trade union confederation in Serbia in their response to the remarks
on the domestic labour market given by the Foreign Investors
The so-called ‘White book’ of foreign investors is a form of
pressure on the Serbian Government to devalue workers’ rights and
additionally lower the salaries which are already quite low, said
the CATUS President Ljubisav Orbovic.
At the press conference he stressed that statistical data about the
education level presented by Serbian employers served to undermine
the value of work in Serbia while many of them actually register
their employees based on a primary school education in order to pay
smaller contributions, which produces unrealistic image of education
Commenting on the recommendation of the Foreign Investors Council
about a fixed time labour contract being prolonged from one year to
three years, Orbovic said that it was unacceptable because it would
be impossible for young people who start working to plan their
future, found a family and take loans…..
“Also, recommendation about the severance pay being paid only for
the period of time spent at the last job is not acceptable because
it could be abused. Namely, employers could transfer redundant
workers to a new employer who would dismiss them after three months
without paying them severance pay’’, he pointed out.
In the continuation CATUS also criticized the proposal that labour
force should be hired over agencies, meaning that workers would be
treated like goods.
President Orbovic stated that according to most recent data from
April there were around 1, 750.000 employees in Serbia, which is 237
000 less than in 2007. Since 2000 till today the number of
employees in Serbia has been reduced by 520 000, he stressed.
FOREIGN INVESTORS WOULD LIKE TO TREAT THEIR EMPLOYEES AS SLAVES
In the interview for the newspapers Danas president of the
Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia (CATUS) Ljubisav
Orbović said that Foreign Investors Council resorted to blackmail
and wanted to establish a slave-employer working relationship in
those enterprises which were left after the surge of ‘violent
privatization and violent capitalism’. He also added that the CATUS
didn’t talk to the Foreign investors Council nor had it ever been
invited to annual presentations of its famous ‘white books’.
‘They are not in favour of defining rules of procedure, but they
would like if there were no rules or if they could prescribe their
own rules. When two employees are proportional to the one unemployed
at the market, laws of supply and demand give the employers a chance
He reminds us that before the crisis in 2007 foreign investors asked
for the reduction in salaries and the salaries dropped. At that time
the average salary was around 450 euros, and now it has been
decreased to 320 euros because we wanted to keep jobs. And in the
same period we lost 200,000 jobs! The prediction that the reduction
in salaries would lead to more jobs proved to be false, Orbovic said
and added that this or another Government must know the trade union
would use all its force to fight against the change of collective
agreements suggested by the foreign investors.
«General collective agreement rarely exists in European countries.
It exists in Slovenia, only for the employees who are not covered by
branch collective agreements. But branch collective agreements exist
everywhere in Europe and I can’t see why foreign investors would ask
for different rules of play, especially having in mind that in
Serbia they have the cheapest labour force. It was said that
investors would come to Serbia because of a cheap labour force, but
I can’t see any investments in many Southern cities where the
average salary goes below RSD 20, 000. ‘Only those who want to make
profit fast have such realtionship with the employees’, Orbovic
comments on the remark of the Foreign Investors Council that from
2007 up to now they received 40 recommendations for the change of
labour regulation, and only two of them were partially – just
PROTEST OF TRADE UNION OF PUBLIC UTILITIES
Trade Unions of Employees in Public Utilities of Serbia organized a
warning protest against the Government’s indifferent approach
towards public utilities and interests of Serbian citizens, but also
because of the avoidance of social dialogue.
The estimate of public experts points to the fact that the fight for
drinking water will mark 21st century. Authorities in
Serbia made a promise to the domestic and private foreign capital
that they would provide them with the enormous profit based on
exploitation of water. Privatization of public utilities will ensue
so-called models of ‘’private-public’’ partnership. Consequences for
the citizens will be extremely negative. Private capitalists are
only interested in profit and they will have the tendency to
immediately increase the prices of public utilities. By selling
water and other strategically important resources Serbian Government
is fulfilling the demands given by international financial moguls (IMF
and World Bank).
Trade Unions turned to the public and citizens and informed them
they asked for the Draft of Public Utility Law and Law on Public and
Private Partnership and Concession to be withdrawn from the
parliamentarian procedure. The position of the Trade Union, public
experts and representatives of public utilities is not considered at
all and that’s why we’re asking for a referendum at which citizens
would give their opinion about this vital issue. Trade Unions don’t
want the history to be repeated and the future of citizens to be
resolved in a very narrow circle and through cooperation between
and huge capital. In order to prevent the privatization of essential
resources in the country they are even ready to strike in which
occasion they expect enormous citizens’ support.
EU CRITICIZES SERBIA’S
GOVERNMENT FOR ITS TREATMENT
Due to a difficult position of road
maintenance workers in Serbia their union turned to the BWI. Soon
that federation contacted EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule
who in his letter to the Serbian government required that European
standards and rules of procedure are applied as soon as possible.
Several thousands of ‘’Nibens group’’
workers protested in front of the building of the Government and
hardly any representative of the authorities wanted to talk to them.
It is possible that Fule’s message will change this kind of
practice. In any case, the Trade Union of Maintenance Workers isn’t
giving up the fight for its rights.
In the letter
Fule says that ‘’according to the Articles 152 and 154 of the
Agreement, European Commission is responsible for facilitating
dialogue between social partners on the EU level’’ and adds that
‘’on its path towards the EU membership Serbia will have to adopt
certain laws enabling it to improve the protection of employees in
accordance with the EU standards’’.
Conflict concerning the Nibens group
confirms the importance and usefulness of the EU social legislation
in the protection of the employees in Serbia. So, it might be good
if the Commission sent an additional message to the Serbian
authorities asking them to harmonize their laws in that field with
the EU laws. However, the fact that even the existing regulations in
Serbia aren’t applied could represent an additional problem.
In the letter Fule also
says that ‘’ the European Commission intends to go on with its
pre-accession assistance helping social partners improve their
«Nibens group » workers
stopped protesting in front of the Government’s building on October
24. But they keep on fighting for their rights. They think that the
solution to their problem must be found while it is obvious that it
is beyond the competence of the Ministry of infrastructure and
EVERY EIGHTH EMPLOYEE DOESN’T SIGN A FULL TIME LABOUR CONTRACT
EMPLOYERS HIRE FOR A FIXED PERIOD OF TIME
They meet, get to know each other and most often separate in three
months. As far as the law is concerned the employer needs that much
time to determine whether he has chosen the right person. If he
still has doubts, employer has another 9 months for assessment. One
year is the longest possible period of a fixed term contract that an
employee could be hired for. Statistics say that every eighth
employee in Serbia works like this and the estimates say that there
are about 600, 000 employees on a fixed term contract. The reason
for this is not the quality of work but avoidance of greater
expenses when the termination of a contract is sure to happen.
During three months of probation work the employee receives his
salary. Time of employment is registred. Also, the employee has
health insurance. The termination of contract doesn’t cost a penny.
When the labour contract is prolonged to a year at the most the
employee gets the right to a vacation bonus. This is a sufficient
motive for the employer to change the labour force every three
months if the nature of work allows it.
Survey about the labour force conducted by the National Statistical
Office is showing that 9.7% of employees in Serbia work on a fixed
term contract. Then, 1.4% are hired for seasonal work and 1.3%
occasionally find work to do. According to statistics, fixed term
contracts are less common in Belgrade – 7.2%. In Vojvodina 13.5% of
people work under such conditions. Regarding the age, fixed term
contracts are mostly present among population aged between 15 and
More flexible labour market is one of the requirements made by the
IMF, but also by domestic and foreign investors. The Government is
also thinking about changing the Labour Law in this segment.
However, the next issue which will soon be discussed is the
prolongation of a fixed term contract up to three years. While the
employers believe this would increase the employment the employees
fear that it could increase their insecurity and uncertainty at
work. They know this from their own experience and statistics prove
Talks between CATUS and United Regions of Serbia
MUCH NEEDED SOCIAL DIALOGUE AND APPLICATION OF COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS
Serbia needs genuine social dialogue and application of collective
agreements in enterprises as well as the policy implying real
partnership between the trade union, employers and Government.
This was a common estimate made at the meeting of the CATUS
representatives and United Regions of Serbia (URS), representing the
continuation of talks between the largest trade union confederation
and Parliamentarian parties.
CATUS President Ljubisav Orbović said they talked about the future
and the vision of URS. However, having in mind that the URS leader
Mladjan Dinkić was the Minister in a couple of previous Government
convocations they also talked about what happened in the past.
Interlocutors agreed that the next Government must truely support
social dialogue, then it was extremely important to apply collective
agreements now existing only on paper in all companies and
enterprises. Without good partnership and talks between the trade
union and employers there is no policy which is suitable for man,
applicable and successful in practice.
CATUS IS STRENGTHENING ITS POSITION IN THE SOCIETY
The world of work is humiliated and impoverished. Long-lasting
economic stagnation and economic crisis, brutal privatization and
helplessness of the authorities to rescue the country from the
crisis put Serbian workers in the most difficult position ever. In
such conditions neither social dialogue nor protests have produced
expected results, as it has been concluded at the CATUS Council
Being dissatisfied with its influence and the position of the world
of work, not having the possibility to use institutions of the
system in a regular dialogue in order to improve its position,
protect its interests and fulfill its demands, the Confederation of
Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia (CATUS) announced changes in its
Simultaneously with achieving program aims, completing tasks and
continuing internal reforms the Council made a decision to
strengthen its position in the society. That way the employees’ and
trade union members’ demands could be met more efficiently, fall of
living standard stopped, tendency to reduce basic rights alleviated
and increase of unemployed people minimized.
demands of the CATUS remain faster economic growth, creation of new
jobs, increase of salaries and their regular payment, conclusion of
branch collective agreements, as well as abiding by them, regular
payment of contributions for mandatory social insurance, then
re-examination of all debatable privatizations and criminal
liability for all forms of corruption, crime and abuse.
PREVENT BAD PROSPECTS!
This year in Serbia only
more than in the same period last year. They couldn’t stand the
competition and enormous taxes required by the state. On the
other hand, according to the data given by the Serbian Business
Registers Agency 6, 400 enterprises were opened, which is 15%
less than in 2010.
every enterprise whose index was deleted from the Business
Register leaves many employees and their families without any
income and the list of unemployed people becomes increasingly
longer on a daily basis. There are numerous reasons for such a
gloomy picture – huge taxes and contributions and even 44 fees
which must be paid, abolishment of liquidity credits, state and
public enterprise debts to the economy, increase of informal
sector and decrease of purchasing power by 18%.
Since there are 1, 2 million employees in the Serbian economy,
1, 6 million pensioners and only 290, 000 workers in the
production which supports all this, we need a serious turning
point that could transfer one part of employees into the
According to the analysts, the state must invest more in the
economy. It is necessary to open development banks, turn to
internal capacity, improve agriculture, electronic, metal and
car industry, tourism and catering. Only such an engagement,
stimulating measures and support could prevent further ruin of
enterprises and exit a vicious circle of infinitely bad
happenings in favour of economy and workers.
CATUS TELLS SERBIAN GOVERNMENT:
BE SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE
protested against the Government.
Rise in prices, especially in basic food products which are by
30% more expensive than last year, the army of unemployed,
hundreds of thousands of employees who don’t receive their
salaries or receive less than a minimum salary and some other
alarming indicators finally result in a lower living standard
and impoverishment of the majority.
The CATUS pointed out to the Government’s irresponsible way of
acting, reminding it of the Social-Economic Agreement 2011 which
was signed with social partners and obliged the Government to
supply the market with stable prices. If the Government doesn’t
start fulfilling its obligations, and because of the fact that
signed Social-Economic Agreement isn’t respected in other
provisions as well, Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of
Serbia is ready to withdraw from the agreement.
ROAD MAINTENANCE WORKERS KNOW WELL
WHAT TO DO
Although the road maintenance workers of Serbia protested again
in front of the building of the Government, no solution was
reached. Five thousand employees of Nibens group (which is an
agglomeration of various road maintenance companies) have been
in agony for quite some time because they haven’t received
salaries for months and their debts have amounted to 180 million
euros, out of which 130 million should go to banks.
this occasion the CATUS President Orbovic pointed out that a
solution to this essential problem must be found. Since the road
maintenance workers in five companies i.e.’’Beograd’’, ‘’Kragujevac’’,
‘’Vranje’’, ‘’Backaput’’ and PNZ ‘’Nis’’ maintain 40% of roads
in Serbia and participate in the construction of the “Corridor
X” linking Serbia to Greece, it is the Government’s
responsibility to solve their problems and pay salaries lagging
between CATUS and Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
THE RULE OF LAW AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY ARE PRIORITY GOALS
Meeting with the representatives of the LDP in the premises of
the CATUS on October 18 was the second in the series of meetings
with political parties that the Confederation has organized in
the effort to determine the future form of its political
engagement. Meeting was attended by the members of the CATUS
Presidency, presidents of branch trade unions and president of
LDP Cedomir Jovanovic.
The Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia and
Liberal Democratic Party agreed that the priority goal of Serbia
is the establishment of order in the state and its institutions,
rule of law and a clear development strategy of Serbia.
Despite the differences of opinion about other issues both sides
have concluded that the rule of law would provide the trade
union membership with more respect of law and collective
agreements, as well as guarantee regular payment of salaries and
Along with the nеcessity
of overall reforms, it has been pointed out that
it is necessary to prevent dismissals, initiate production and
create new jobs, all of which could be done through talks
between representative trade unions, employers and the state.
CATUS President Orbovic told the journalists that the possible
cooperation in the pre-election campaign was not the topic of
discussion, rather it is about the Confederation’s attempt to
define its vision of Serbian future.
It was just a get-to-know
LDP President Jovanovic suggested partnership to the
“We are not promising new jobs, we are not promising investments
worth billions. At this moment we are trying to agree on the
policy which would prevent further rise of unemployment", he
and added that both employees and employers are the victims of
irresponsible and costly state.
He also added he expected from our trade union « a kind of
support without which Serbian society couldn’t be changed »
insisting that it shouldn’t be the support of LDP, but of the
idea of country’s modernization.
At the end of the press conference the CATUS President repeated
that the trade union political engagement and its possible forms
would be discussed at CATUS Council session on October 28.
ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE MEDIA
Presidency of the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of
Serbia has harshly criticized violence against Serbs in Kosovo
and Metohija used by the units of international peace-keeping
Presidency has expressed its anxiety and concern about the
escalation of conflict and the fact that Serbs in the north of
Kosovo are forced to spend their days and nights at the
barricades on the administrative crossings and all major roads
leading to central Serbia.
should all strive to protect the interests of Serbia and all its
citizens, especially Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija whose lives
are at risk.
We demand the protection of Serbian people on the whole
territory of the country, as well as the continuation of search
for the final solution and prevention of further destabilization
in this province.
We appeal to the citizens of Kosovo and Metohija to stay calm
and united and try to achieve their goal through dialogue.
Purchasing power of Serbian citizens constantly decreasing
LEADERS IN PRICES WITH THE LOWEST WAGES IN THE REGION
The fact that the purchasing power of Serbian citizens is among
the weakest in the region is best shown by the relation of
avarage salaries and prices of basic products representative of
the ex-Yu countries. For example, Slovenians can buy three times
more milk than we, Croats can purchase almost two times more
sugar or flour while Montenigrins can buy around 30 kilos of
chicken more than Serbs.
Since the average salary is about 376 euros Serbia is the last
in the region. Only Macedonia is behind us, Montenegro and
Bosnia and Herzegovina are better than Serbia while Slovenia and
Croatia excel all.
Serbia is still the leader but in what concerns prices of basic
food products, especially milk and sugar. Namely, sugar in
today’s supermarkets costs about 111-113 dinars (1.1-1.3 euros)
per kilo, which is around 10 dinars (10 cents) more than in
Podgorica or Skopje. In the capitals of the region long life
milk is sold for 70 – 80 dinars (70-80 euro cents) by litre,
while in our supermarkets customers should spend for it 80 to 90
dinars (80-90 euro cents).
Food in Serbia is expensive because of a bad privatization in
the food sector and policies of trade/processing industry
lobbies determining prices.
Producers are not to be blamed for the highest price of milk in
the region, but the dairies and salesmen who get extra profit by
selling these products. Otherwise, it would be impossible to
explain why a country with an annual growth of crops has the
highest food prices in the region. Simply, Serbia doesn’t have
a real free market and so is blackmailed by those imposing high
prices and trade margins.
BAJEC: GOVERNMENT GUILTY OF BAD ECONOMIC SITUATION
Due to its inertia and inefficiency Serbian Government bears
huge responsibility for a bad economic situation in the country,
as estimated by a well-known Serbian economic expert Bajec at
the 11th Economic Summit.
He pointed out that a sluggish growth of Serbian economy is not
only the result of crisis, but the Government’s reluctance to
take proper measures seen as politically unpopular. It is mostly
afraid of measures which could lead to job losses.
Unemployment is already a big problem. If an increase in wages
and employment rate is to be obtained, Serbia needs an annual
GDP growth of 4%-5%. Growth of only 2%-3% (as foreseen in this
and next year) would not be sufficient.
Serbian Government puts an effort to continue the EU accession
process, however, avoding to find solution to any vital problem
it loses its time. All its measures are short-term and no
attention is paid to strategic development issues.
Problems such as pension system, public sector management,
informal economy and non-existance of competition persist and
the acting or succeeding Government will have to deal with them.
The same goes for costly health and education systems accused of
not yielding expected results.
TRADITIONAL WORKERS’ MEETINGS IN SOKOBANJA
The fifth CATUS workers’ sports competition, bringing together
more than 700 participants from whole Serbia, took place in
the opening ceremony the CATUS President Orbovic accused the
neoliberal capitalism of being guilty for most hardships workers
in Serbia are confronted with.
He also announced that by the beginning of the next week
–accompanied by the Vice-President Zarubica – he would pay a
visit to Serbian workers and citizens in Kosovo and Metohija
intending to support them and show that all Serbian workers are
CATUS members are generally upset because of the escalation of
conflict between Serbian population and KFOR and the fact that
in the North of Kosovo Serbs have to spend night by night on
barricades closing roads to central Serbia and adminstrative
CATUS MARKED WORLD DAY FOR DECENT WORK
By organizing various manifestations across Serbia the
Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia again marked
October 7, International workers’ day.
Street actions followed by the distribution of promotional
material were organized in Subotica, Pancevo, Novi Sad, Stara
Pazova and Sokobanja. There were also a press conference and a
special TV show about the workers’ problems.
This way the biggest Serbian Trade Union Confederation has
joined numerous trade union organizations all over the world in
the effort to press for the creation of jobs, higher wages and
A few days ago our confederation appealed to the Serbian
Government to define urgently the objectives of further
development, ways of their implementation and determine the
recovery strategy enabling workers to work and earn decent
On the occasion of WDDW the CATUS President Orbovic and the
Minister of Labour and Social Policy Ljajić made a common
statement demanding more jobs, better workers’ rights and
improved social dialogue.
How to overcome the crisis
STATEMENT OF THE CATUS AND SERBIAN PROGRESSIVE PARTY
The CATUS and Serbian Progressive Party agreed that all social
partners should participate in the dialogue if the social and
material status of the employees is to be improved and country’s
economic revival initiated.
It was pointed out that the living conditions of Serbian workers
and citizens are extremely difficult, wages are low, prices of
basic food products are increasing, army of the unemployed
growing, number of jobs diminishing while new ones are not being
created. Besides, every new law diminishes the existing
It was underlined that CATUS as a critic of faults in
Government’s and employers’ policies is a necessary partner in
overcoming economic problems and enforcing workers’ rights.
CATUS and SPP are both interested in defending interests of
Serbian State and all its citizens, particularly those living in
Kosovo and Metohija whose very existence has been imperiled.
They also expressed their anxiety because of the violence used
against Serbian inhabitants of Kosovo and Metohija by the KFOR.
They demand the protection of Serbs all over the country as well
as the continuation of the process putting the end to further
destabilization and leading to final solution of the problem.
BROAD PRE-ELECTORAL CONSULTATIONS WITH POLITICAL PARTIES
of the conclusions of discussion on economic crisis and its
effects on the employees
CATUS Executive Board was to start broad consultations with
representatives of Serbian parliamentary parties. The intention
is to learn more about measures they propose for country’s
first meeting was held with the President and Secretary General
of the Serbian Progressive Party Mr. Nikolic and Mr. Vucic, in
the CATUS building at Nikola Pasic Square in Belgrade on
STRICTER TIME LIMIT ON PAYMENT OF STATE DEBTS
the end of September the Ministry of Finance will pass the
by-law which would finally make impossible for the State to be
indefinitely indebted to private companies.
maximum time limit on state payments will be 60 days. It is
supposed that these new regulations, by increasing the
possibility of getting one’s money back, will also increase the
investors’ confidence in Serbian economy. Putting into effect
another mechanism – one ensuring payment of wages, taxes and
social fund contributions - is also expected.
Session of the Serbian Economic and Social Council:
ENFORCEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC AGREEMENT AND NEW LAW ON
45th regular session of the Council will take place
today in the building of the Serbian Government.
The session will be followed by the press-conference which will
be attended by Minister of Labour Ljajic, President of the
Employers’ Union Atanackovic and Presidents of two trade union
confederations (CATUS and “Nezavisnost”) Orbovic and Canak.
main items on the agenda will be the analysis of the enforcement
of Social and Economic Agreeement and the discussion on the
amendments to the Law on Strike which already caused huge
dissatisfaction among unionists.
000 DISMISSALS ARE EXPECTED
According to the CATUS president Orbovic - if the new, adequate
measures are not taken on time, the “second wave” of the
economic crisis which has been raging in the whole world since
2008 could sweep away exactly that number of jobs.
Speaking at the round table organized by the CATUS he warned
that after an extremely difficult period during which 200, 000
jobs were lost, one might expect additional 100 to 150, 000
dismissals. He also mentioned that till the end of the year 12,
000 companies might go bankrupt because of the growing
NEW LIMITATION ON SEVERANCE PAYMENTS
Serbian Minister of labour announced that if the proposed
changes in the Labour Law were adopted the workers made
redundant because of structural and technological changes would
not be able to get their severance payments calculated on the
basis of all years of service.
According to the Ministry’s proposal sent to the members of the
Economic and Social Council the worker leaving the company will
be able to count only on severance payment for the period he
spent at his last job.
THE NUMBER OF THE POOR GROWING RAPIDLY
At least 200,000
Serbian citizens live thanks to the social assistance while till
the end of this year another 100,000
are expected to ask for it. It explains the request of the
respective Ministry for additional 1, 5 billion dinars (15 million
euros) - otherwise it will be impossible to deal with new cases.
Minister’s assistant affirmed that “only since April this year
when the Law on Social Assistance was enforced there have been
about 15,000 new users of the social security funds. Next month
we expect another wave of claims, being sure that our prediction
on having the number of users doubled till the end of the year
will prove to be true”
These facts explain why the Ministry needs additional money from
the budget whose rebalancing is expected soon.
CATUS Round table on
POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF A NEW ECONOMIC CRISIS HIT ON SERBIAN
Considering that the
Serbian government hasn’t still announced new measures aimed at
mitigating the upcoming economic crisis, the CATUS has decided
to organize round tables and talks with political parties asking
them to present their visions related to overcoming the crisis.
In order to get a more
complex perception of the problem and define its positions,
proposals and requests on September 14, 2011 the CATUS organized
a discussion on the subject: ‘Impact of a possible new economic
crisis hit on Serbian economy’.
The introductory note containing the ideas about the effects of
economic crisis and possible measures for its overcoming was
given by famous Belgrade professors Unkovic and Hadzic.
FIXED TIME CONTRACTS TO INFINITY
Serbia, which completely
derogates standard labour contracts.
The famous flexicurity combining easy dismissals with easy
employment turned only into easy dismissals. Fixed time
contracts are typical of small and medium enterprises (which
make up 90% of the economy) where even 48% of employees don’t
have a full-time contract. The situation would get more
complicated if the suggestion to conclude three-year contracts
was adopted, which would increase insecurity on the labour
market and further deregulation.
Since the Labour Law envisages the validity of fixed time
contracts, without stating how many times they could be renewed,
complaints submitted to the Labour Inspection most frequently
refer to perennial renewals of fixed time contracts along with
month-long pauses. Even though there are many employees who
can’t change their status for years, the Labour Inspection can
only forward their complaints to the court which is left to
determine if violation of rights took place. Also, if young
women want to continue working, taking a maternity leave seems
to them like a pie in the sky. As labour disputes on average go
on for two years or longer, the question is whether the
employees with a fixed time contract would see that justice has
been served in due time.
MORE AND MORE PEOPLE AT THE EMPLOYMENT AGENCY
The number of unemployed in Serbia is still on the rise. In 2010
due to restructuring, rationalization or preparations for
privatization 15,690 employees were made redundant and only
lucky ones got a severance pay.
people who are more than 60 years old were left jobless because
of privatization and joined the army of 100, 000 unemployed of
their age already on the list at the Employment Agency . These
employees make up 81% of long term unemployed individuals.
According to the analyses of the National Statistics Bureau many
of these people would consider themselves lucky to find an
employment in seven years time, but one must bear in mind that
at that time they would be seven years older and their chances a
lot slimmer. The situation becomes more complex if this is
complemented by the information that 1,245.196 people in Serbia
are between 55 and 64 years of age, that they have a rather
mediocre education level and that there are more than 800,000
people in full working capacity who have a reasonably good
education but are still waiting for an employment.
STOP SUCH ECONOMIC POLICY
In its public announcement the Confederation of Autonomous Trade
Unions of Serbia pointed out to the alarming material and social
status of employees and citizens. It also invited the Government
to urgently examine all the price increases in this year. The
wave of increasing basic product prices
continues because prices in July went up by 12, 1% compared to
and what is especially worrying is the announced rise in energy
substance prices which is under the state authority.
The citizens of Serbia live increasingly worse. There are more
unemployed people and those who receive minimum wages or don’t
receive them at all. The average salary, excluding taxes and
contributions, amounts to 39,127RSD and that is 16,000RSD less
than what is required for an average consumer basket, so that 1,
4% of an average salary is necessary in order to meet average
needs. The increase in prices mostly affects over 700,000 poor
people, over 800,000 unemployed people and around 100,000 of
those who don’t receive their salaries regularly.
As the Government doesn’t announce any measures aimed at
stopping a new wave of crisis, while the prices keep increasing
and additionally burden the standard of impoverished citizens,
the CATUS warns that the continuation of such economic policy
threatens to transmit the wave of dissatisfaction into streets
and provoke an overall social riot.
SIGNED COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT FOR THE EMPLOYEES IN EDUCATIONAL
Branch collective agreement for the employees in
primary/secondary schools and student halls of residence,
regulating some of still unsolved issues in the area of
education, was signed in the Serbian Government.
The agreement was signed by the Minister of Education and
Science Žarko Obradović, President of the Teachers Union of
Serbia (who is a CATUS member) Branislav Pavlović and the
presidents of other three trade unions in the same branch.
After signing the agreement Obradović mentioned the unsolved
issues, among which he especially stressed the lists of
redundancies, severance pay and over time work.
President of the Teachers Union of Serbia Branislav Pavlović
said that trade unions were satisfied with signing this
agreement and announced more intensive cooperation from the
beginning of September. He emphasizes: ‘’It’s good that all
trade unions agreed on the text of agreement in which we
precisely stated certain issues, however our social dialogue
doesn’t end here.
BAD PRIVATIZATION, WORKERS DISAPPEARED
Since the begining of privatization till today the overall of
2,385 enterprises has been sold while the percentage of
successful sales at tenders has been only 41%, and at the
auctions 63%. Having in mind that 630 sales agreements have been
annulled up to now because conditions haven’t been met, it’s no
wonder that in fact there haven’t been any tenders in 2011.
Actually, this year only four companies and five packages
of shares have been sold.
Besides unsuccessful privatizations Serbian economy should also
be worried about the information that a quarter of active
companies doesn’t have a single employee and a fifth of them has
only one, as it was shown by the analysis of the Agency for
Business Registers. This kind of information which reappears
every year is particularly disturbing due to the fact that the
largest number of companies without employees belongs to the
sectors of commerce, processing industry, science
and innovation, in other words the sectors in which more than
two thirds of companies work.
EXPENSIVE, MORE EXPENSIVE
Again, Serbia has got a shock called a sharp increase in prices.
Upon entering a store only a quarter of citizens spend more than
200 RSD and just in a six-month time the price of bread went up
from 28.5 RSD to 54RSD. Similar thing happened with the price of
oil which increased from 73 RSD to 140 RSD while other products
which aren’t regarded as basic aren’t taken into account.
The fall of purchasing power differs from one region to another.
It is the lowest in Novi Sad and Belgrade (17%) while in other
parts of Serbia it is between 24% to 30%. Gloomy picture of the
family budget is complemented with the fact that only two years
ago a standard consumer basket needed 1.2% of an average salary
and a minimum one needed 0.62%. This year a standard consumer
basket needs a salary and a half and a mimimum one needs 0.84%.
Besides, most frequently only one family member has a job. So
the image of the impoverished citizens is pretty disturbing.
WE ARE ON STRIKE
Since yesterday all five factories belonging to the ’Trayal
corporation’ have been on strike. Raw materials have been used
up. There is no export-import activity and the overall debt
amounts to 50 milion euros. Members of the Board of Directors
have resigned, while 2,200 employees are on strike asking the
state for help because it is impossible to work when the account
is blocked. The employees announced the blockade at the bridge
on the river Rasina. In case the state turns a deaf ear to their
request they also announce a blockade on the high-way
Furthermore, the employees within ’Nibes group’, which
encompasses five companies in the road maintenance, have
announced the blockade of works at the northern end of Corridor
10 passing through Serbia and linking Central Europe to Greece
and Turkey. Around 5,200 employees can’t stay on the street
because of illegal privatization so the Confederation of
Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia demands that accounts be
unblocked, salaries paid and road maintenace workers enabled to
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE CONSIDERABLY
INCREASED IN SERBIA
the end of April the unemployment rate increased to 22%, being
thus 2% higher than at the end of October 2010 – as it was
announced by the Statistics Bureau. Even though the PM
Cvetkovic, on the hundredth day of his reshuffled government,
pointed out to positive results and growth and stated that the
prevention of unemployment increase was its main success, it is
obvious that the numerous unemployed aren’t familiar with this
“achievement” - nor is his statement confirmed by the merciless
SATISFIED MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL POLICY – DISSATISFIED
Minister of Labour and Social Policy Rasim Ljajić expressed his
satisfaction at the implementation of the social economic pact
which was concluded at the end of April after difficult
negotiations of social partners. However, the trade unions are
President of the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of
Serbia Ljubisav Orbović pointed out that there was no decrease
in prices even though the value of dinar increased compared to
euro. Foreign firms still get the jobs at public procurement and
tenders regardless of the fact that domestic enterprises whose
workers have been waiting eagerly for new jobs are a better
option in certain job offers. For example, a foreign firm won
the tender ’’Serbian Railway’’ involving the repair of 10
Anyhow, social economic pact envisages the minimum labour cost
of 105 dinars starting from June 1, as well as the improvement
of citizens’ living standard by appropriating 500 mil euros from
the budget till the end of this year.
Government is announcing employment incentive measures
TAX RELIEF FOR THE CREATION OF NEW JOBS
Serbian Government has made a decision on tax relief which is
supposed to stimulate employment primarily of those who work in
the ’informal sector’. This is just a part of the packet of
economic measures, facilitating
conditions for the employers, which
will be enforced in one or two months.
In the last two years Serbia lost the greatest number of
employees in the region (226,000), therefore the experts think
that each employment incentive measure is welcome - under the
condition it doesn’t harm market principles.
It has been envisaged that in the first year the employers
should pay 50% to 60% less in taxes and contributions for the
newly employed people, 40% reduction is foreseen in the second
and a 20% in the third year.
It is considered that the measure would contribute to
the people working in the informal
sector to be finally
represented as regularly employed.
According to the Government, to prevent misuses the increase in
the number of newly employed will be controlled by the Tax
Administration and the National Employment Agency. Economists,
however, warn that it will be tough because in Serbia around
20,000 people are dismissed and the same number employed
Concerning the employees’ salaries, the Government says that the
decrease in taxes could be expected in the years to come.
FOR USING PUBLIC UTILITIES
HAVE INCREASED THE
In Serbia prices are still restless. Last month the inflation
was slowed down a bit and measured by the consumer price index
it reached 1.1% when compared to March. However, since the
beginning of this year it has become higher by 6.7%, which is
already above the predicted 2011 limit.
Some more expensive services not the food prices, as it was
previously expected, are to be blamed for the high price list in
April. In April the highest increase in prices was marked in the
area of living – 5.7%, transport – 1.5%, health – 1.2%, clothing
wallets are getting thinner due to more expensive kilowatt-hours
- on April 1 the cost of power increased by 13.5%. Some Serbian
municipalities received much higher bills for using public
utilities (water, garbage collection …etc), which even further
burdened household budgets.
Statisticians claim that prices of food and non-alcoholic
beverages haven’t changed, but this view isn’t shared by the
majority of Serbian citizens. Their subjective feeling is
telling them that every day they spend more and more money on
basic necessities. Indeed, in April the prices of coffee, tea,
sugar, fish and eggs rose by 1% - 1.7%.
However, the first price shock happened in March when the prices
rose by 5% - 15%, and in some cases this percentage was much
Having salaries that are
practically on the European bottom employees’ life is not even
close to being easy. And what’s worse is that such economic
policy does not promise the future which would be any different
from gloomy every day life.
SERBIAN CRISIS IN FIGURES
The consequences of the economic crisis are much more difficult
for Serbian than for other employees in the region. Since 2008
226,000 jobs have been lost in our country, representing a
downfall of 11.2 %. However, according to the IMF the real
number could be even 440,000 jobs. The difference is due to many
people working in the informal sector whose dismissals were not
registered. For the sake of comparison, the number of employees
in Slovenia was reduced by 7.3%, in Montenegro by 5.4% and in
Bosnia and Herzegovina by 1.4%.
Serbia is also on the notorious ‘leading’ position when it comes
to the decrease of 19.5% in salaries, while in Croatia it was
only 4%. The average salary in Slovenia has been increased by
7.2% and reaches 970 euros, in Montenegro by 17.9% and in Bosnia
and Herzegovina by 3.3%. Concerning such level of salaries and a
drastically reduced number of employees it is highly unlikely
that workers in Serbia will feel any better in the foreseeable
FULL TEXT OF THE
The Government of the
Republic of Serbia,
the Serbian Association
Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia and the
proceeding from a
position that social dialogue represents the foundation of
achieving common goals of development and successful resolution
of common problems,
and that it is not
possible without both working and assuming responsibility
together to mitigate the negative consequences of the economic
crisis or secure the economic and social progress of Serbia in
2011, have on
this date 29th
concluded the following
A G R E E M E N T
for the year
CATUS MAY DAY PROCLAMATION
Long-lasting crisis in Serbia is continuing with the same
intensity, but with more serious social consequences and more
rapid impoverishment of its citizens.
Disappointed in laws which are constantly being violated and in
institutions which are often dysfunctional, deceived by the
story of a nice life within the EU candidacy and dissatisfied
with irresponsible behaviour of the majority of employers – our
employees are more often and in a greater number than before
ready to express their discontent.
Therefore, the trade unions are now needed more than ever.
I appeal to your solidarity, unity and decisiveness when dealing
with the Government and capital and ask you to use all
available means in the continuation of our struggle for social
justice, true values and decent salaries enabling us to live and
not just survive - struggle for more jobs, better future and
higher living standard of membership and all employees.
Encouraged by the strengthening of the trade union position
which induced the Government and employers to look for the
negotiated solutions, we shall decisively and consistently
demand the strengthening of the social dialogue as the best way
of solving problems. But we shall also demand the agreed to be
respected and the signed to be realized.
On behalf of the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of
Serbia, I congratulate the May Day to all our members and all
citizens of Serbia.
CATUS Council Ceremonial Session
Marking of April 27
the CATUS day
On the occasion of celebrating its 108-year long existence and
more than a century long trade union activities in Serbia, a
ceremonial session of the CATUS Council was held in the trade
union premises on April 27.
On that day, 108 years ago, it was officially decided to unite
the existing trade union federations into the Serbian Workers’
Union, predecessor of today’s CATUS.
The decision to establish the April 27 as the CATUS day was made
at its 14th Congress, last May.
At the ceremonial session the election of the new Council
members was verified and the May Day Proclamation sent to
membership and public.
about the beginnings of trade union history in the region, the
CATUS President Orbović pointed out that although the times had
changed since then, the basic objectives of trade union struggle
- i.e. the protection of labour, economic, social and
professional interests of the members and the realization and
promotion of their rights - stayed the same.
Emphasizing the fact that trade unionism in Serbia had existed
for more than hundred years,
Orbović added that ’’the one who doesn’t have the past neither
has the future’’ and stated that the results of the CATUS
activties showed our organization was strong and recognizable
and would stay as such in the future.
The session was continued by the Secretary of the CATUS Council
throwing more light on the Confederation’s history. There was
also a short video about our activities in the previous period.
PLACING THE BLAME ON THE TRADE UNIONS IS AN ALIBI
FOR AN INCOMPETENT GOVERNMENT
The Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia considers
the statement of Serbian Prime Minister Cvetkovic, relating to
the fact that strong trade unions are to be blamed for high
unemployment, a shaky alibi for his and the Government’s
the CATUS announcement the PM was asked to explain to trade
unions and citizens what unrealistic employees’ benefits
demanded by the unions were jeopardizing the country’s rating
with potential investors.
Powerful trade unions exist all over the world as equal partners
who solve employees’ problems through social dialogue. Serbian
Government, however, often hasn’t respected the conclusions of
that dialogue. ‘You have not proven to be consistent, decisive,
brave, competent, to have any vision whatsoever, not even an
idea about Serbia’s path to a better, European future’, says the
statement of the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of
Serbia sent to Serbian PM Cvetkovic.
April 18 in Washington the PM estimated that the two reasons for
high unemployment in the period before the crisis were the
privatization and powerful trade unions whose long-term policy
was set against the increase in employment as they insisted on
short-term employees’ benefits that were, however, discouraging
SIGNATURE, BUT WITH CAUTION
Yesterday, the president of the Confederation of Autonomous
Trade Unions of Serbia Orbović,
said the trade union Presidency had accepted the text of the
National Social Pact agreed between the unions, Government and
the employers. He also announced that on the following day (i.e.
April 20), at the session of the Social-Economic Council, the
text would be on the voting procedure.
After the Presidency session in Niš president Orbović said there
were some dilemmas concerning the acceptance of the document.
This happened not because the text was bad, but because the
other two partners hadn’t respected it in the past. According to
what the president said, the union membership has the legitimate
right to think about how it could ‘punish’ the partners in case
of breaching the terms the agreement.
The draft of the Pact was drawn on April 14, 2011. The document
should be signed after the following session of the Social and
Creation of the “Regional Trade Union Accession Committee” in
UNIONS IN SE EUROPE AS A NECESSARY COMPONENT OF THE EU ACCESSION
The ETUC is trying hard to facilitate the participation of SEE
trade unions in the EU accession process. In accordance with
that policy and with precious contribution of the Belgrade
office of the “Friedrich Ebert Foundation” a two-day meeting was
organized in Belgrade on April 14 and 15. Representatives of the
most relevant trade unions from ex-Yu Republics striving to join
the European Union (Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and
Macedonia) had the opportunity to discuss various issues of
common interest and draw important conclusions for the future.
Everyone hopes that the UGT “Nezavisnost” (absent this time)
will participate in the meetings-to-follow.
The “Regional Trade Union Accession Committee” will operate on
political and technical level. Presidents or general secretaries
of the unions-members of the Committee will take part at the
former level while the international secretaries will be in
charge of the latter.
By creating the Committee the ETUC and the unions concerned
wanted to improve the understanding of the EU among the workers
in the ex-Yu Republics and help unions defend their interests
better in long and strenuous negotiations with national
governments and EU representatives. A creation of a network
facilitating further contacts and establishment of closer
relations with the EU missions in respective countries was also
In order to realize all this, a number of national and
international seminars as well as study-tours abroad will soon
be organized. Special role will be played by unions from our
area which already have a rich experience in the EU. The
elaboration of necessary analyses and studies was planned too.
In order to improve the understanding of the EU, strengthen
mutual relations and let the international trade union public
know more about our efforts, the decision on the creation of the
Committee’s web-site was also made.
SOCIAL PACT, AT LAST!
Serbia has finally got its National social pact. On April 14,
after many weeks of discussion representatives of the
Government, trade unions and employers managed to reach an
agreement on the most important issues related to the recovery
of economy, protection of the most vulnerable groups and exit
from the crisis.
The minimum cost of labour will be 102 dinars which is 7 dinars
more than the previously established amount.
Most importantly, every application has a precise deadline so it
is expected that the agreement will be respected.
March 28 the first extraordinary session of the Social and
Economic Council was held in the Government of Serbia. It was
announced at the session that the social agreement guaranteeing
social stability which is necessary for Serbia in this time of
crisis would be adopted till April 8, at the latest. The
agreement will also include the minimum cost of labour. For the
time being the representatives of trade unions and employers
haven’t agreed on the exact amount. While the trade unionists
propose the cost of 105 dinars, the employers’ proposal is 96
The President of the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of
Serbia, Ljubisav Orbović stressed that the agreement would be
signed only if the trade union membership agreed with this. At
the same time what is also important is the proposal for the
stimulation of industry production whose development would
enable faster recovery of economy and successful functioning of
the public sector.
Session of the Representativity Board took place
DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN THE MEMBERS POSTPONED
THE ADOPTION OF THE RULES OF PROCEDURE
The work of the Board for establishing social partners’
representativity was blocked as its members disagreed on whether
the decisions should be made by consensus or by simple majority
vote. Some time ago it was decided the blockade should be lifted
by introducing the latter solution.
Yesterday, however, the session of the Board was unexpectedly
Even though the adoption of new rules of procedure was planned
to take place without any problems, members of the Board
disagreed once more, causing the postponement of the agenda till
the next week’s session. Namely, the Employers’ Association and
the UGT „Nezavisnost“ asked for the modification of the already
made decision and insisted that further decisions should be made
by two thirds majority - which would mean the de facto return to
the consensus and the continuation of the Board’s blockade.
In the follow-up of the session the Board continued solving the
disputable issues which could have been settled by the
This year, the chairman of the Board is the CATUS Vice-President
Minister of Labour Ljajić:
SESSION OF THE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC COUNCIL IN 15 DAYS AT THE
Session of the Social and Economic Council should be held in two
weeks at the most and till then the Ministry of Finance should
propose the amount of minimum wage – minister of Labour and
The session will be preceeded by the meeting of this tripartite
body with the Prime Minister Cvetković at which the topics of
the session are to be defined.
"Our idea is to offer to social partners an agreement which
being legally binding till the end of this year and well
defining responsibilities of state and other partners would
lead to a more favourable atmosphere in the time of crisis,
Now the government is looking for a solution somewhere in
between the damands of trade unions and employers. While trade
unions claim the minimum wage sholud be increased from 95 dinars
(90 euro cents) to 105 dinars (1 euro) per working hour, the
employers agree to increase it only by 1 dinar (10 euro cents).
The session of the Social and Economic Council should have been
held two weeks ago, but at that time it was announced that the
Ministry of Finance was still looking for the minimum wage
increase which wouldn’t jeopardize the macro-economic stability
of the country.
Extended effect of the branch collective agreement in
Construction and ICM:
ALL EMPLOYEES IN CONSTRUCTION IN EQUAL POSITION
Branch collective agreement for the employees in construction
and industry of construction materials, whose application starts
on March 12, will contribute to the decrease of informal economy
and equalize the rights, obligations and responsibilities of
both employees and employers - the Minister of Labour and Social
Policy Ljajić announced.
"This branch collective agreement establishes the hot meal and
vacation bonuses – the first one can’t be lower than 20% and the
second one 70% of the minimum wage - but it also regulates the
safety and health at work’’, he added.
Ljajić pointed out that the branch collective agreement in
construction which was signed last year on December 20 and given
the extension of effect a few days ago, ’’is actually a huge
step forward when it comes to collective bargaining and social
dialogue in Serbia’’.
President of the Trade Union of Employees in Construction and
ICM of Serbia, Vuković said that the agreement would be valid
for all 116 000 employees in construction and explained the
wages were divided in six categories.
According to his words, unqualified workers who belong to the
first category will be paid 95 dinars (90 euro cents) per
working hour, workers with a two-year long education 114 dinars
(110 euro cents), while those with the secondary school diplomas
will get 133 dinars (127 euro cents).
Branch collective agreement in construction and industry of
construction materials was signed after three months of
negotiations between the Trade Union of Employees in
Construction and ICM of Serbia, UGT ’Nezavisnost’ and Employers’
Association of Serbia.
The decision on its extension was signed by minister Ljajić on
February 28 and it will be generally binding for all employers
and workers in the branch in the following year.
NO TO SELLING TELEKOM
The Government of Serbia obviously has a hard time selling
Telekom. Even though the procedure of selling 51% of shares
started last October and 6 companies got the status of bidders,
there are numerous problems.
First of all, it is necessary to obtain the permit from the
Anti-Monopoly Commission. Before signing sales agreement, future
owner should get the permit from the Commission. Having in mind
that the sale of Serbian Telekom includes selling Telekom of the
Republic of Serbia and M:tel of Montenegro, there could appear
the problem of the ownership concentration and important
bidders, such as Telekom Austria and Deutsche Telekom couldn’t
receive the permit from the Anti-Monopoly Commission. Telekom
Austria is the owner of VIP mobile operator, Deutsche Telekom is
the majority owner of Montenigrin Telekom and has a share in the
ownership of Croatian Telecommunications-Mostar. Therefore,
according to the analysts, they would have to give up their
previous ownership in order to avoid double licences.
Second, Serbian Government has chosen the most unfavourable
moment for selling – the peak of global economic crisis, so it
could sell this strategic company for an amount which is
significantly below its true value.
Third, the estimates of those, who are in favour of selling and
say that Serbian Telekom can’t stand the competition, are not
true. At this moment, the company makes the profit of 1bil
euros, and expenditure of 800 mil euros. Obviously, it is a
profitable company which creates a profit of 200 mil euros. If
this gain is to be taken out of the country, either through
profit or foreign cooperators, according to the analysts Serbia
would lose 200 000 average salaries.
Voice against the sale was also raised by the Anti Corruption
Council saying that there is no just reason for the sale and the
sale of infrastructure violates the Constitution and law. The
infrastructure represents common good which has been built for
more than 100 years and its purpose is general. Infrastructure
can’t be sold, but only granted under the concession. Therefore,
the Council warns that buying infrastructure means entering a
corruptive and illegal process of a potential buyer.
Citizens, workers and trade unions oppose the sale of Telekom,
too. It is evident that the sale would be a great damage for
Serbia, so it isn’t clear why they insist on selling it for such
a small amount of money and imposing a short deadline.
SERBIA FOLLOWS GREECE
Commenting yesterday’s CATUS appeal on the increasing prices of
food and services confederal president Orbovic pointed out that
the anger of workers and citizens was intensifying. According to
his assessment Serbia can’t follow the Egyptian or Tunisian
scenario, but having in mind strikes in our public sector the
Greek solution is quite possible.
‘Our Government should create healthy economic and social
environment but it sends unclear and chaotic messages about the
future. If it doesn’t respond seriously and on time to the
demands of workers and citizens it could soon face their
reaction”, Orbovic announced to the journal Sindikalni
CATUS APPEAL TO THE SERBIAN GOVERNMENT
If Serbian Government wants to prevent economic collapse and
general people’s revolt it must urgently re-examine all price
increases having occurred this year and stop the announced ones.
This is the message the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions
of Serbia sent to country leaders in an appeal addressed to
Serbian public yesterday.
The latest increase in prices – which further aggravates the
already difficult employees’ position – doesn’t have any
economic justification, but
primarily a compensation for different business setbacks.
While it persistently declines trade union demands for higher
wages – finding excuses in the fear of inflation – the
Government allows the increase in prices which directly
contributes to the increase of the inflation rate.
In the open letter sent a month ago to the Prime Minister and
Serbian public the CATUS had already warned about negative
trends which could be detrimental to employees and citizens in
general, but the reaction from the Government was missing.
For that reason the Confederation is sending this last appeal to
the authorities asking them to seriously take into consideration
the difficult position of our workers and citizens. Their
patience has limits and that will be shown at the next elections
- if not sooner.
CONTINUATION OF REFORMS IN THE CATUS
The Confederal Council held consultations with presidents of
federations and regional organizations aimed at discussing
further trade union actions and increasing their overall
In the conclusions of the meeting it is pointed out that the
efficiency of action is related to the establishment of
financial discipline, merging of branch trade unions and
safeguarding of territorial infrastructure (which, however,
needs to be rationally reorganized).
It has been agreed that organizing such consultations should go
on till the adoption of the new Statute and formulation of
various forms of action enabling greater impact on the
authorities and other institutions of the system when they make
decisions on issues which are important for material and social
position of employees, as well as for enforcement and protection
of their rights.
EXTENDED EFFECT OF THE BRANCH COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT IN
The Minister of Labour and Social Policy Ljajić signed the
decision on the extended effect of the branch collective
agreement in agriculture, food and tobacco industry and
waterworks, which enables the agreement to cover all 120 000
employees in those branches of economy.
He pointed out that the agreement in those sectors and the
construction (where the collective agreement has recently been
signed) would be an incentive for signing agreement in other
branches. Thereby he was referring primarily to metal industry
where positive signals are already present.
Signing of this decision was witnessed by the presidents of the
CATUS and UGS “Nezavisnost”, Orbović and Čanak, presidents of
two branch trade unions, Zarubica and Vlaisavljević, as well as
the branch president in the Employers’ Association of Serbia,
SIGNED COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT IN AGRICULTURE
Branch collective agreement in agriculture, food/tobacco
industry and waterworks has been signed in the headquaters of
the Employers’ Association of Serbia.
The agreement was signed by the branch president of the
Employers’ Association of Serbia and by the presidents of trade
unions of employees in agriculture, food/tobacco industry and
waterworks of Serbia (members of the CATUS and the UGS
’Nezavisnost’) Zarubica and Vlaisavljević. Ceremonial signing
was also witnessed by the Minister of Labour and Social Policy
Ljajić, presidents of the CATUS and the UGS ’Nezavisnost’
Orbović and Čanak, as well as by the president of the Employers’
Association of Serbia, Atanacković.
Among different benefits the agreement stipulates a fixed
minimum wage of 17000 dinars (around 150 euros per month).
There are over 120 000 employees working in agriculture which is
one of the most promising branches of Serbian economy, Still, we
had to wait for this agreement for more than five years. The
Minister of Labour assessed the signing of the agreement as an
important contribution to the process of „defrosting“ social
dialogue in Serbia.
At the same time he said that the employers and trade unions
were very close to the conclusion of the branch collective
agreement in the metal industry as well.
WORLD DAY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE
On February 20th, 2011 – World Day of Social Justice – The
Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia announces
that the struggle against poverty, the right to work and salary
must be mutual priorities of the government, institutions and
In Serbia there is no social justice nor social dialogue, and
the consequences are numerous workers’ strikes and protests.
That is the reason why all state bodies must contribute to the
promotion of the struggle against poverty, right to work, gender
equality, equal opportunities and social justice for everybody.
Session of the Social-Economic Council
NO AGREEMENT ABOUT THE BREAK OF STRIKE AND MINIMAL WAGES
On February 17th, 2011 Social-Economic Council did not manage to
come to an agreement concerning minimal wages, break of the
teachers’ strike and strike in the health sector.
At the next session, which is supposed to be held next week, the
Council will continue discussing these issues and then
representatives of the government hope to reach an agreement.
The session was attended by the presidents of the Confederation
of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia and TUC ’Nezavisnost’ -
Ljubisav Orbović and Branislav Čanak, Minister of Labour and
Social Policy - Rasim Ljajić and Minister of Education - Žarko
Obradović and president of the Employers’ Association of Serbia
- Nebojša Atanacković.
250 000 DISMISSALS IN SERBIA IN LAST TWO
Between September 2008 (the beginning of the great economic
crisis) and September 2010 extra 218 315 people were added to
the already existing army of the unemployed. The experts
estimate that currently the total number of those who lost their
jobs goes up to 250 000.
140 663 dismissals occured in the private sector where the signs
of recovery are still missing and the future of the remaining
426 909 workers is in jeopardy.
The results of reserch made by the Confederation of Autonomous
Trade Unions of Serbia (CATUS) clearly show that in 2011
salaries of Serbian workers will also decrease. Now the average
salary is 310 euros per month, but the unions expect further
decrease down to 250 euros.
The worst is that the bad effects of the crisis are just the
continuation of the negative trends generally chracterizing
Serbian economy for the last twenty years. So the biggest
losses in jobs were registered in the productive sectors (60 066
people) where due to the very low productivity the number of
workers keeps on decreasing by 10 % each year. In commerce the
losses amounted to 6,2 %, while in the construction they reached
Besides the declining sales there is another reason for growing
unemployment - the enormous indebtedness of Serbian companies.
Last year the total amount of money owed to the banks was 19.3
Still, there are some sectors witnessing certain increase in
employment. There were 9000 new jobs in real estate business,
3497 in education and 3265 in finacial services.
CATUS LETTER TO THE SERBIAN PRIME MINISTER
We expect you to take adequate measures as soon as possible
otherwise Serbia will be threatened by the general revolt and
collapse, says the CATUS letter sent to the Serbian Prime
The Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia strongly
protests against the increase of food and energy prices. Last
year, living expenses went up by 10.4%, and in January of this
year by additional 5-20%.
Judging by an average net salary and citizens’ purchasing power,
Serbia is the last country in the region. Besides, the social
dialogue is almost non-existent. Every day employees go on
strike pushing Serbia deeper into the crisis. The responsibility
for this situation is exclusively borne by the government that
forgot about its promise to strengthen social responsibility and
raise the living standard of citizens. The Confederation of
Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia is asking the government to
prevent the announced rise in prices which isn’t economically
justified, solve through negotiations the problems with branch
trade unions, stop the activities aimed at harming consumers and
create the economic context favorising the increase in salaries.
TRADE UNIONS IN WESTERN BALKAN COUNTRIES READY TO TAKE PART IN
SHAPING THE EU ACCESSION PROCESS
At the initiative of the European Confederation of Trade Unions,
unions of the Western Balkan countries which strive to join the
EU held the founding meeting of their new Regional Committee in
Belgrade on the 3rd and 4th of February.
Taking into consideration various challenges connected with the
integration process and the role of unions as defenders of
employees’ rights and interests, workers’ representatives that
participated in the meeting confirmed the importance of the
active trade union participation in the Labour legislation
harmonisation process and the incorporation of the EU directives
into national legislation.
They also underlined the role of the Western Balkan unionists as
future participants in tripartite social dialogue in the
European Social and Economic Committee and other EU
It was pointed out that coordination of activities and common
actions are a necessary precondition for good positioning of
workers’ organisations in the upcoming integration process in
our region. They committed themselves to mobilise all expert and
technical capacity of the organisations they belong to so that
the agreements between them be realised in the fastest and best
The meeting was attended by the President of the Confederation
of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia (CATUS) - Ljubisav Orbović,
General Secretaries of the Confederation of Trade Unions of
Montenegro and Union of Free Trade Unions of Montenegro - Zoran
Masoničić and Srdja Keković, Presidents of the Confederation of
Trade Unions of Macedonia and Confederation of Free Trade Unions
of Macedonia - Živko Mitrevski and Rasko Miškoski as well as
President of the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of
Bosnia and Herzegovina Ismet Bajramović. There were also Peter
Seideneck, the ETUC representative, Roland Feicht, director of
the Regional Office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation as well as
Ildiko Kren and Milan Jevtic, project coordinators.
It has been agreed that the the role of technical coordinator
would be played by the Regional Office of Friedrich Ebert
Confederation supports the activities of the Teachers’ Union of
APPEAL TO THE GOVERNEMENT TO FIND THE SOLUTION IMMEDIATELY
Since all regular instruments that make part of a true social
dialogue have been exhausted, the Teachers’ Union of Serbia
(one of the members of our Confederation)
on strike a few days ago. Aware of the importance of struggle
fought by this federation, the CATUS filed an urgent appeal to
the Serbian government by saying:
in its struggle for better position and higher standard of
living of teachers.
During its past activities our organization has demonstrated its
understanding of difficulties seriously affecting Serbia and
expressed the wish to become a constructive actor in overcoming
them. At the same time, we have clearly shown we are not ready
to accept the overall burden of the crisis falling on workers’
we ask the Prime
keep on negotiating
with unions and looking for the optimal
in order to enable the employees in
the education to go back to work.
inability to understand the seriousness of
mostly fall on
are not only deprived of lessons
future for the young.
The Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia will
always give support to the Teachers’ Union both in current
negotiations and in other actions aimed at obtaining better life
for its members.
Since 2001 till today the authorities have been announcing the
creation of 200 000 up to 400 000 new jobs. However, the reality
didn’t bring any improvement. If we compare data concerning the
employed in 2001 (2 101 668) with the number of the employed at
the beginning of this year (1.8 million) – it is clear that 300
000 people ‘disappeared’ the new jobs haven’t been created.
There was a marked increase of the number of employees in
private enterprises as ten years ago there were 349 442
employees in the private sector while now there are 455 366.
Since 2011 is the election year, it can be expected that
political parties would again promise hundreds of thousands of
new jobs and use this promise in order to attract more voters.
After the experiences of last decade it is hard to believe that
this time voters would be so easily tricked.
At the Media Conference he was precise by saying that in the
first trimester of 2011 we could expect the growth of the
inter-annual inflation, its maintenance at a high level in the
second trimester and a significant decrease in the second half
of the year.
Governor pointed out that the biggest challenge in this year
would be shocks caused by increasing prices of food and energy.
Soskic reminded that at the end of 2010 the inflation in Serbia
was 10.3%; while the basic inflation was 8.8%, prices of
agricultural products grew by 17.4% and state controlled prices
ACTIVE EMPLOYMENT MEASURES FOR 50.000 PEOPLE
intends to use
dinars, both from
plan, in order to support active
measures and give
implementing active employment policy measures, combining means
with local administration and the budget Fund for the disabled
we expect that up to 60.000 people will get jobs",
it has been said at the Media Conference in the Serbian
government where the programs of active employment policy
measures for the year 2011 have been presented.
Last year 3.7 billion dinars were set aside for the active
employment and thus 35.000 people were employed.
This year 121 municipalities agreed to implement active local
employment measures and local administration has allocated
around 780 million dinars for that purpose.
Today’s newspapers have already announced public calls for
subsidies for self-employment, creation of new jobs, public
works and training for employers’ needs.
IN SERBIA AN AVERAGE INDEBTEDNESS PER CAPITA IS 749 EUROS
By the end of 2010 every citizen of Serbia had an approximate
debt of 749 euros, which is the minimum in Europe. However, the
salaries in Serbia are also at the European bottom.
By the end of last year the debts in bank loans amounted to 668
euros per capita, 49 euros for credit card debts, 24 euros for
current account overdraft and 8 euros for leasing contracts.
According to the Association of Serbian Bankers, by the end of
2009 citizens of Serbia had an approximate debt of 661 euros per
During the last year the debts of Serbian citizens in bank loans
grew by 29. 7% and reached the value of 514.9 billion dinars
(around 5 billion euros),
while the highest growth was achieved by consumer, cash and
URGENTLY SETTLE THE DEBT TO THE PENSION AND DISABILITY INSURANCE
Insurance Fund is a
Trade unions think that a main reason for that is the
non-existence of the rule of law in the state which is not able
to ensure compliance with legal norms. They also think that such
delay is supported by certain groups from the political sphere.
The CATUS President Orbovic has recently criticized the
government by saying that, not being able to perform some of its
basic functions, it practically doesn’t govern.
At this moment it is considered that overall debts to the Fund
amount to the sum of 1.5 billion euros.
It is true that Serbian companies have problems with solvency,
but that shouldn’t be an obstacle in passing the law on the
settlement of such debts. There is a proposal that in the future
the deadline for the settlement should be between 45 and 60
The highest levels of debt are held by those companies which
don’t produce large profit, such as those in textile industry,
crafts and commerce, as well as by a number of small and medium
enterprises in southern Serbia. However, with the arrival of
economic crisis, which has substantially affected Serbia, we
witness an increasing number of debtors even among the companies
not belonging to the mentioned categories.
the companies often pay salaries without the payment of
contributions, which is strictly forbidden by law.
far it has been the state that many times had to pay the
contributions instead of employers – mostly owners of ruined and
badly privatised companies.
AROUND 1.8 MIL PEOPLE WORKING IN SERBIA
which is by 575 less than last month.
In the publication issued by the Serbian Chamber of Commerce it
was stated that by the end of last November the number of
employees had been smaller by
than in November 2009.
By the end of November 2010 the overall number of the unemployed
in Serbia had been
Compared to the
while compared to the same month in 2009 it decreased by 0.2%.
The rate of registered unemployment in November 2010 amounted to