Serbia - Widespread and persistent undermining of collective bargaining

The Ujedinjeni Granski Sindikati Nezavisnost (NEZAVISNOST) has raised serious concerns on the widespread and persistent attacks against social dialogue and collective bargaining in the country.
According to NEZAVISNOST, the State continues to favour occupational unions, trade unions with no affiliation to any national union centre and yellow unions to engage in collective bargaining at the branch, sectoral and national levels.
In the private sector, employers often refuse to bargain with representative unions. For example, in the Electric Power Industry of Serbia (EPS), the employer bargained with the EPS trade union, while excluding all representative unions from the negotiation rounds. Although the EPS trade union has never established its representativeness at the national level, a collective agreement was concluded and implemented countrywide. According to NEZAVISNOST, many multinational companies operating in Serbia prohibit employees from organising and do not observe the national legislation.
NEZAVISNOST also deplores the blatant coverage gap at the national and industry levels where there are hardly any collective agreements concluded. Collective bargaining is heavily hampered by the authorities, which unduly delays the registration and publication of collective agreements, in some cases for more than a year. For example, the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs, which is in charge of registering collective agreements, postponed the registration of the following signed industry collective agreements for eight months:
-  in the chemical and non-metals industry of Serbia (signed on 28/12/2015, published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia on 14/09/2016);
-  in the construction and building materials industry (signed on 10/02/2016, published in the Official Gazette of the RS on 14/09/2016);
-  in the agriculture, food and tobacco industries and water management of Serbia (signed on 28/01/2016, published in the Official Gazette of the RS on 09/09/2016).

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