2 – Repeated violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of

The ITUC affiliate in Macedonia is the Konfederacija Slobodnik Sindikata (KSS).

In practice

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Serious interference in trade union elections 30-12-2017

The Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Macedonia (KSS) has reported cases of interference in union elections in 2017. For example, in the Ad Elem power plant, the management interfered with the elections held within the Independent Trade Union of the Workers of Energy, Miners and Industry of Macedonia. Due to the employer’s action to influence the outcome, the electoral process had to be stopped. The Independent Trade Union of the Workers of Energy, Miners and Industry of Macedonia filed a report with the Labour Inspectorate, the competent ministries and the Prime Minister. No action has been taken by the national institutions to investigate the matter.

Meanwhile in the education sector, KSS has reported on a serious case of employer interference. A new trade union called MESO (the Multiethnic Trade Union of Education) was created by the authorities and “replaced” KSS, which was the legitimately elected union. KSS officials were expelled from their offices and their files and documents were handed over to the illegitimate trade union.

State interference in trade union internal affairs16-08-2017

On 16 August 2017 the Macedonian government once more took action to delete the name of Živko Mitrevski, president of SSM association of unions, from the Central Registry of Macedonia, based on unverified documentation submitted allegedly on behalf of SSM. A similar decision was taken in 2016 by then Prime Minister Emil Dimitrev. This decision was subsequently annulled taking into account the lack of essential formal requirements with regard to the submitted documentation (lack of authorised signatures and stamps, among others). Based on unverified grounds, the government also appointed a large number of new trade union representatives, and dismissed the previous representatives, in the state-owned company-level consultative bodies and in the national level boards of insurance and pension funds. These acts constitute clear contraventions of ILO International Labour Organization A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.

See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights
Convention No 87 and have been strongly denounced by the ITUC.

Deterioration of the national social dialogue 30-01-2018

The Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Macedonia (KSS) has tried for months to establish a legitimate and functional social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. with the competent representatives of the ministries and state bodies in order to discuss pending issues affecting public sector employees, including negotiations on the amendment of the General Collective Agreement for the public sector and wage negotiations. KSS’s requests for social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. were dismissed by the authorities, who further took action to threaten and intimidate KSS members (e.g., harassment of KSS members, dismissal of trade union representatives, establishment of yellow trade unions).
On 16 November 2017 KSS decided to organise a protest on 17 January 2018 in front of the government seat to protest this daily pressure on its members and to demand a meeting with the authorities. Faced with the prospect of a massive demonstration, the government, for the first time in months, extended an invitation to KSS to meet on 16 January 2018. KSS members were received by the government and exposed their demands. They were told that their claims would be seriously considered. The next day, the “Public Warning Protest” was held with much success. However, only a few hours before the protest, KSS President Blagoja Ralpovski was summoned to the police station for no clear reason.

Attacks on social dialogue within the ESC 25-07-2017

The Economic and Social Council (ESC) was established in 2010 by signing the Treaty of Establishment, in line with international labour standards international labour standards Principles and norms related to labour matters, primarily codified in the Conventions and the Recommendations of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Include core labour rights such as freedom of association and the right to organise, the right to collective bargaining and the right to strike, which are all covered by ILO Conventions 87 and 98.

See ITUC Guide to international trade union rights
, the national Law on Labour Relations and rules and procedures agreed by the social partners social partners Unions and employers or their representative organisations. . Until early 2017 the social partners social partners Unions and employers or their representative organisations. successfully conducted the social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. .
At the 35th Constitutional session held on 30 June 2017, a new practice for social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. was introduced unilaterally by the Minister of Labour and Social Protection, in violation of the established rules and procedures, by defining the unions that could take part in the ESC meetings. Furthermore, the minister attempted, without prior consultation with the social partners social partners Unions and employers or their representative organisations. , to change the agenda of the meeting, the rules and procedures and the composition of the Council.
These actions constitute a clear violation of the autonomy of the social partners social partners Unions and employers or their representative organisations. to establish their own representation in national social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. processes and show total disregard for the principles of institutionalised social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. . The ITUC has called on the Macedonian government to respect social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. and the established rules and procedures of the ESC.

Dismissal of KSS President 29-11-2017

On 29 November 2017 the ITUC denounced the dismissal of Blagoja Ralpovski, president of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Macedonia (KSS), from his public service post. According to the ITUC general secretary, Sharan Burrow, “This dismissal sends a clear message to all the trade unions of Macedonia that the government is ready to breach the principles of freedom of association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
and to exercise threats and pressure over trade union leaders and activities, and to the public sector in particular.”
In 2017 KSS observed an increase in acts of interference by the authorities, including the deliberate creation of obstacles in organising organising The process of forming or joining a trade union, or inducing other workers to form or join one. regular elections in branch unions; daily pressure and intimidation of members aimed at their resignation from the KSS structures; arbitrary changes of working places and conditions of union representatives in an attempt at limiting their abilities to perform trade union functions; and in February 2018, the dismissal of the president of the Independent Trade Union of Water and Sanitation.

Anti-union discrimination against doctors05-12-2012

In December 2012, the Ministry of Health urged unsatisfied patients to report doctors who had failed to treat them. This warning came after the union had announced a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
asking the Ministry to withdraw a regulation according to which wages would be calculated based on the number of patients treated. It was reported that the warning was intended to intimidate workers planning to participate in the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
. During the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
, the doctors ensured minimum services were provided to patients in emergency cases. The Ministry of Health refused to negotiate with the union and instead engaged with the union “Mother Theresa” established when the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
was announced.

Intimidation of workers to stop strike31-10-2012

Macedonian Railways dismissed 13 workers, including Risto Pejovski, President of the Independent Trade Union of Engine Drivers of Macedonia (NSMPM), for having instigated a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
demanding salary payments without delay. The dismissals were unjustified and illegal.

Some positive progress despite marginalisation of social dialogue 31-12-2011

The criteria for the representative participation of social partners social partners Unions and employers or their representative organisations. in bipartite and tripartite social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. were finally implemented, and the trade unions began signing collective agreements in the public sector. However, both bipartite and tripartite social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. remains weak, with insufficient participation of the social partners social partners Unions and employers or their representative organisations. in policy development processes.

According to the Federation of Trade Unions of Macedonia (CCM) and the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Macedonia (KSS), the two representative trade unions participating in it, the Social and Economic Council (SEC) established in 2010 at national level, is still being further developed. Social and Economic Councils have been established at local level with the participation of trade union representatives. There are three local SEC in Kumanovo, Strumica and Kavadarci, and ten more are being established in the larger municipalities.

Although the government took steps to address the excessive use of fixed term contracts in the civil service, which is illegal, a significant number of temporary positions remains.

On a positive note, thanks to a social partners social partners Unions and employers or their representative organisations. ’ initiative, the Law on European Works Councils was adopted which gives workers the right to information and consultation and to participation in works councils on transnational issues and the promotion of social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. . Furthermore, for the first time since the country’s independence, a law on the minimum wage was adopted and the minimum wage set. Furthermore, amendments were being made to the law on wages, including a 5% wage increase from December 2012.

Anti-union discrimination31-12-2011

Pressure and mobbing are commonly used against trade union members and representatives. While the law prohibits anti-union discrimination anti-union discrimination Any practice that disadvantages a worker or a group of workers on grounds of their past, current or prospective trade union membership, their legitimate trade union activities, or their use of trade union services. Can constitute dismissal, transfer, demotion, harassment and the like.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework

, anti-union dismissals exist in practice, and dismissal cases usually take two to three years to resolve in court. In addition to the inefficiencies of the labour inspectorate, distrust of the legal system has increased in recent years as a result of stronger political control. Some companies have allegedly tried to interfere in trade union elections, or even break up enterprise level trade union organisations.

Collective agreements not respected in the public sector31-12-2010

The EC Progress Report notes that there is no effective social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. in the public sector and that collective agreements are not respected. The legitimacy of the signing trade union can also be questioned by other trade unions. Until the third quarter of 2010, the number of temporary posts within public administration was disproportionately high, even though the hiring of temporary staff is not compliant with the laws on civil and public servants.

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