Belgrade, Serbia July 3rd–The results of research conducted on the rights of workers and their access to labor organizations for middle and large sized companies throughout Serbia are now compiled and documented by Freedom Fight, a grassroots organization based in Balkan.
The criteria for the companies that were subject to the research required that they be either:
1) companies that started up as privately owned companies in the last 20 years, or that they be
2) A branch based in Serbia, of a foreign owned company, which opened as a new company, not through the government operated privatization process, nor through a buy out or take over of a previous existing company.
The objective of the research was to find out what is the state of workers rights within companies whom do not have a history of labor unions, syndicalism, or organizing, unlike the socially owned, or state owned companies where labor issues and organizing have a long history.
The results of the research included that throughout the 50 companies none had unions or other forms of labor organizations. Workers who attempted to organize were discouraged and stopped through various informal means such as managers giving strong ‘advice’, or by simply firing individuals – scapegoats – in order to discourage others from organizing. One of the most surprising discoveries of the research was to find that two of the companies have explicitly stated in their code of conduct for workers that labor organizing is not welcome.
Recognizing the limitations of the research conducted as interviews and surveys only cover the scope of full time or temporary hired workers, thus neglecting the state of black market workers one of the most precarious and vulnerable segments of the working class, Freedom Fight considers the results scandalous.
From the onset, researchers from Freedom Fight assumed that they would discover neglected labor rights and conditions, but to find absolutely no labour organisation within 50 of the largest and middle sized private or foreign own companies in the country was a shock.
Article 206 within the Labor Code states: Workers have the guaranteed freedom of labor organizing and acting without approval, with subscribing into the register.
Understanding that with the current high level of unemployment (hovering around 45%) employers have the added advantage of being able to force workers to give up their labor rights, we believe that it is important to highlight the contradictions of legally sanctioned rights via the courts and laws for workers, while not enforcing or including any control mechanism to employers to guarantee that these rights are upheld. The burden puts those who attempt to actualize their rights in the situation where they can find themselves on the street tomorrow.
Freedom Fight – pokret za slobodu