Serbia - Favouritism in respect of particular organisations

NEZAVISNOST reports frequent cases of the favouritism of one union over another, both by the private sector employers and by the State (which is still the major employer in Serbia). There is a clear pattern of favouring organisations not affiliated to – and not assisted by – a representative national confederation, thus in a weaker bargaining position. Often these unions are created with the employer’s approval and are dependent on the employer’s financial support. Favouritism was observable during negotiations between the State and several occupational trade union organisations in relation to organisations such as the Union of Pharmacists and Doctors of Serbia; the Trade Union of Nurses and Technicians of Serbia; the Union of Administration; the Police Union of Serbia; the Independent Police Trade Union; the Union of Serbian Electric Power Industry Elektroprivreda Srbije; and the Union of «Nikola Tesla» Airport. For example, Elektroprivreda Srbije, owned by the State, fully controls its trade union. The organisation is registered only with the employer and receives approximately 9 million Euro per year in financial support. The company refused to engage in negotiations with the relevant organisation affiliated to NEZAVISNOST and concluded a collective agreement with the controlled union despite the lack of its representativity.

Unequal treatment is also present during the registration process. In accordance with the national legislation, trade union organisations are required to register at all levels (local/enterprise level, sectoral level, national level). The Ministry of Labour has up to 30 days to complete the registration process. In practice, many organisations affiliated to NEZAVISNOST had to wait more than three months for the final decision. In the meantime, they were not able to perform their activities or take part in collective bargaining. At the same time, the Ministry of Labour granted a fast-track registration procedure to other local unions that were affiliated to confederations close to the Government.

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