Serbia - Negotiations in bad faith

There are frequent cases of the Government negotiating in bad faith, either at the national level or at the company level (in its capacity as the employer). This was the case during negotiations in the Republic Geodesy Institute following strike action. The Government formed a Working Group to draft a Reform Programme for the Institute, which was supposed to determine the optimum number of jobs in this institute. The drafting was to take place within an agreed time frame. Information about the arrangement and solving the collective dispute has been leaked by the Government to the media. In practice, however, contrary to the Government briefings, the Working Group was unable to fulfill its task, as its government members refused to schedule a meeting and plan the work according to the agreed time frame.

Similar manipulation of public opinion through the state-controlled media took place during the dispute over the draft law on the salary system in the public services, which was deemed unacceptable by the unions. Two representative trade union confederations announced a strike alert. Contrary to the facts, several Ministers and the Prime Minister announced in the media that the Government accepted all trade union demands. The information created considerable confusion for the public and trade union members, while the Government continued with the legislative process.

Negotiations are often prolonged without reason at the sectoral or company level, making it impossible to conclude an agreement in practice. This was the case during negotiations of the sectoral collective agreement for kindergarten workers in Belgrade by the City of Belgrade (as employer) as well as during negotiations of the sectoral collective agreement for preschools and employees in higher education institutions in the Republic of Serbia.

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