Joint letter by ITUC and ETUC to Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs of the Republic of Serbia

ITUC and ETUC were informed by the affiliates, UGS Nezavisnost and SSS, that the Union of Employers unilaterally cancelled the collective agreement for Agriculture, food processing, tobacco industry and water management signed in January 2016 immediately after the unions requested a Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs of the Republic of Serbia to consider its extended application in line with the national normative framework. The Union of Employers justifies its conduct by referring to the fact that it no longer represents 50 per cent of the employers in the sector.

Serbia ratified ILO Convention No. 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining on 24 November 2000 and has recently opened chapters 23 and 24 on Fundamental Rights and on Justice in EU accession negotiations. Thus, the government has the responsibility to take measures in order to encourage and promote good faith collective bargaining among the social partners. The ILO Committee on Freedom of Association has repeatedly upheld that mutual respect for the commitment undertaken in collective agreements is an important element of the right to bargain collectively in order to establish labour relations on stable and firm ground. Otherwise there could be neither reasonable expectation of industrial relations stability, nor sufficient reliance on negotiated agreements. As a result, the failure to implement a collective agreement violates the right to bargain collectively, as well as the principle of bargaining in good faith.
Therefore, ITUC and ETUC urges to take urgent measures to ensure respect for collective agreements in line with ILO Convention No. 98 and the European Social Model.

ITUC & ETUC letter