Serbia - Trade union committee dismissed (2012)

Prompted by continuous violations of workers’ rights, including late payment of wages and non-payment of overtime, 35 out of 170 workers in the furniture production company TRA Duga, in Sombor, founded the Autonomous Trade Union TRA Duga on 4 February 2011. After the company director and owner Mirko Rakonjac was informed of the trade union’s establishment, he asked the union President Aleksandar Pelagić to resign from the company. Pelagić refused, and as a result he was immediately suspended from work. On 12 February, Rakonjac presented the union leadership with a reorganisation of posts within the company, dated 1 February. The new organigram did not include the posts of 12 union leaders and members, with the aim of retroactively dismissing them as redundant before the date the union was established. On 5 May, Pelagić and the other six members of the trade union committee (Dragan Trifunović, Miljan Malović, Željko Tomčić, Goran Grudić, Nikola Jovičić and Kristijan Varga) were dismissed, as well as a further five union members. Only four of them subsequently received severance pay. Rakonjac claimed that the trade union did not exist. Dismissed unionists informed the Labour Inspectorate, which was however prevented by the employer from properly conducting an inspection of the company.

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