Serbia: Planned protest action against Government’s reluctance to sign collective agreement in higher education


ETUCE member organisations in Serbia - TUS, SSS-Serbia and NTTU – have called on all education employees in the higher education sector to join the protest action taking place on 8 June 2019 in Belgrade.

The action aims at the reluctance of the Ministry of Finance to approve the proposal that the Serbian social partners in education, the education trade unions and the Ministry of Education, have negotiated.

"It is unacceptable that the Serbian Government and responsible Ministries have shirked away from signing a collective agreement for the higher education sector for more than four years thereby accepting the precarious and aggravating working conditions in the sector”, explained education trade unions in Serbia.

The rights and working conditions of both education personnel and non-teaching staff working in post-secondary education are at the brink of precariousness and manifested in, among other things, the large number of short term contracts; a pay gap of 9% in comparison with other education levels as well as the negative consequences of the "solidarity tax" that was imposed only on education personnel in higher education in 2014.

In addition, the ongoing reforms in the higher education sector, i.e., the Law on dual education in higher education, the announced new Law on the Financing of higher education alongside with the Law on Science and the reorganisation of Studies for Applied Sciences are a source of concern among education employees who are fearing potential job losses.

The Government’s reluctance to sign the duly negotiated collective agreement for teaching and non-teaching staff in higher education calls into doubt the Government’s true commitment to social dialogue and collective bargaining”, stated Susan Flocken, ETUCE European Director.

In the letter addressed to the Government of Serbia, the European Director stressed , “ETUCE stands firmly with its member organisations in Serbia and expects that the Government recognises the collective agreement that the education social partners have negotiated and signs the agreement”.

ETUCE continues monitoring the situation.