Meeting of Western Balkans Trade Union Legal Experts “Legal analysis of procedures and contents of new labor legislation in the Western Balkans”

A meeting of trade union legal experts form Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, titled “Legal analysis of procedures and contents of new labor legislation in the Western Balkans” was held on 23-24 November 2015 in Sarajevo within the ITUC/ PERC – LO TCO Project of support to the SEE trade unions. Objective of the meeting was the exchange of opinions and views related to possible trade unions strategic opportunities, future of the process, and potential activities for facing current approaches and facilitation of the genuine social dialogue.

In course of the two-day meeting, legal experts described, in their national presentations, the current situation related to labor legislation in their respective countries, based on which it could be concluded that the previous years were marked by the adoption of amendments to the labor laws or adoption of completely new labor laws, free of any genuine social dialogue, in emergency procedures, whereby the workers’ rights are significantly reduced and the collective bargaining and conclusion of collective agreements are subjected to serious attacks. Participants illustrated examples of mainly negative experiences related to procedures and contents of new legal solutions, which burden trade unions organization and fundamental function of trade unions, introduce flexibilization of labor relations to the detriment of workers, give preference to the fixed term contacts, increase overtime, diminish instruments and deadlines for protection of workers’ rights, try to eliminate general collective agreements, and in general contest or make the collective bargaining difficult.

Trade unions will improve their cooperation, design trade unions strategies, both at national and regional level, to be more successful in their fight for protection and advancing the position of trade union position in social dialogue with the other two social partners, continue with the education of trade union experts, shop-stewards, and trade union members on international standards of labor laws, based on ILO conventions, and strive for preservation of acquired workers’ rights in processes of harmonization of national labor legislation with the EU standards and directives.

ITUC / PERC SEE Office – Sarajevo