Cross-border meeting on informal economy, Belgrade

Cross border meeting on informal economy, Belgrade, 15.10.2008
Follow up cross border meeting on informal economy that was organized in the frame of the PERC-FNV project: “CEE/NIS: promoting rights of and representing workers engaged in informal labour relations” was held in Belgrade, Serbia on October 15, 2008. The meeting was attended by the national working group coordinators and working group members from Serbia and Montenegro, the project tutor and Jasmin Redzepovic, ITUC PERC SEE Office coordinator.

The CTUM project coordinator presented the first draft of the national mapping paper, stressing that the Office of the Labor inspector provided valuable information on unregistered work in Montenegro. However, there is still a lack of official statistical data on the informal economy in Montenegro. It was suggested that the mapping paper includes information on the impact of the global financial crises on the economic situation in Montenegro.

A number of activities planed in the national action plan for Serbia on the protection and representation of workers rights engaged in informal labour relations have been realized and others are in preparation. The CATUS organised on the occation of the WDDW campaign rallies in several towns (Novi Sad, Nis, Pirot, Belgarde, etc.) distributing leaflets on workers rights. Several branch TUs of CATUS, like the Metal workers TU organised visits with labour inspections in 21 companies in the metal sector in six towns (Kragujevac, Nis, Subotica, Belgrade, etc.) checking employment contracts and the implementation of Occupational and healthy measures.

The construction TU of CATUS recently took part on a BWI seminar in Istanbul, Turkey to discuss TU organizing, which is a topic on which the Construction TU (Traffic workers) is working, focusing on migrant workers from Kosovo, Romania and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

A case study on the informal economy in Vranje is being implemented as part of the Swiss Labor Assistance (SLA) Project “Support to Social Dialogue in Serbia” with the objective to present the analysis on how many workers are working without contracts. The employers’ confederation, municipal and regional leadership and labor inspection is participating in the preparation of the analyses.

TUC Nezavisnost and CATUS representatives underlined the good results of the “You’ve got right” and “Say no to informal work” actions, and the permanent actions, like the recent in Smederevo and Lazarevac, carried out by the youth and women’s sections.

The participants recommend that the SEE subregional conference should concentrate on taxation policies, the minimum wage and in connection with this on tariff agreements, inviting experts from Hungary and Slovenia, perhaps also from Germany, who could be speakers on this subjects presenting their own country’s experiences. Another important topic: organization of the informal workers (good practice and success stories from the countries outside the region) was also seen as important and relevant to the Trade Union work in the informal economy. It was suggested to analyse deeply two cases either on public procurements or something similar during the regional event.

The activity was co-supported by the LO-TCO Secretariat

Jasmin Redzepovic, PERC SEE Office