Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 July 2014, 14:56 GMT

2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Montenegro

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 8 June 2011
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Montenegro, 8 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ea661f3c.html [accessed 23 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Population: 624,000
Capital: Podgorica
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

The right to strike is limited both by restrictive legislation and by pressure from employers. In at least one case the employer refused to comply with court orders to reinstate illegally dismissed workers.

TRADE UNION RIGHTS IN LAW

Although the Labour Code provides for basic trade union rights, it contains excessive restrictions. The 2007 Constitution and 2008 Labour Law recognise the right to form and join trade unions, and the Law on Civil Servants and State Employees grants that right to said categories of workers. Collective bargaining is hampered by the fact that only the most representative unions, that is unions with the largest membership, can be parties to collective agreements. Furthermore, the law stipulates that the right to strike may be limited for persons employed in state bodies and public service on grounds of protecting the public interest. A minimum service must also be established in a number of services following consultations with the relevant trade union. Albeit the 2005 Law on Strikes improved the situation, the employer can still decide on the minimum service unilaterally if negotiations with the union fail.

TRADE UNION RIGHTS IN PRACTICE AND VIOLATIONS IN 2010

Background: The European Council granted Montenegro EU candidate status on 17 December 2010, but the opening of accession negotiations will have to wait until the country fulfils a list of set conditions. Long term Prime Minister Milo Dukanovic unexpectedly stepped down only a few days after. Although the resignation was explained with private reasons, the opposition saw it as result of international pressure due to corruption and organised crime in the country.

Anti-union discrimination: Dismissals, demotions and discrimination of trade union activists are not uncommon. The right to strike is often limited in practice, and trade unionists face reprisals including threats of dismissals for their union activism. Restrictive laws on strike and highly flexible employment relations amplify the problem.

Pressure and intimidation before strike: Prior to the strike announced for 5 May 2010, the management of Kombinat aluminija Podgorica distributed questionnaires to the workers, asking them about their satisfaction with the work of the trade union and asking them to certify that they would not join the strike. Management also put pressure on two members of trade union committee, Sandra Obradovic and Radovan Toskovic, issuing them written warnings with threat of dismissal on the grounds of absence from the workplace, although the absence was due to trade union activities. Other workers were threatened with dismissals too. The strike was cancelled on 30 April after the management accepted to comply with the collective agreement and withdraw the planned dismissals.

Right to strike violated: Crnogorski Telekom, in Podgorica, restricted the right to strike of its workers who went on strike on 15 March 2010 due to violations of the collective agreement. The employer unilaterally imposed a requirement for 300 workers to work despite the strike and prohibited them from wearing badges or other symbols of solidarity for the strike action. On the fourth day of strike, the employer also brought in strikebreakers from two other companies, GVD Mont and Network.

Trade unionists repressed and discriminated against: The construction company Novi Prvoborac, in Herceg Novi, has refused to bargain collectively, has violated the right to strike and has illegally dismissed workers since 2008. At least nine workers, including Zdravko Stevovic, then president of the trade union AD Novi Prvoborac, have been dismissed since 2008 because of participating in a strike. Harassment of trade union leaders have also been reported, and prohibiting trade union meetings has also been a recurring practice.

Between 2008 and 2010, the courts have overruled a total of 71 dismissal decisions in the company as illegal, including the mentioned cases, but the employer has still not complied with the judicial decisions and allowed workers to return to work. Due to the above mentioned reasons, in June 2010 the company trade union organisation filed a criminal complaint against the management with the State Attorney's Office.

Workers forced to join employer sponsored union: The Trade Union of Post of Montenegro claimed in November 2010 that the management was forcing the workers to leave their union and join a new union organised by the company directors. The management was also said to violate the collective agreement by unilaterally reducing the working time for certain categories of workers.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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