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2009 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Montenegro

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 11 June 2009
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2009 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Montenegro, 11 June 2009, available at: [accessed 19 January 2018]
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: 598,000
Capital: Podgorica
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

The Labour Law came into force in 2008. The new flexible rules on fixed-term contracts have been making trade union work more difficult. The restrictions on the right to strike are incompatible with the ILO standards.

Trade union rights in law

Freedom of association: The 2007 Constitution and 2008 Labour Law recognise the right to form and join trade unions. Particulars of trade union registration are to be prescribed by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Welfare. The Labour Law, adopted in July 2008, provides for basic trade union rights and prohibits anti-union discrimination in various aspects of working life, including recruitment. Pursuant to the Law on Civil Servants and State Employees, civil servants and state employees also have the right to organise in accordance with general labour regulations.

Collective bargaining: Workers have the right to bargain collectively. Unlike the previous system, the 2008 Labour Law expressly provides for collective bargaining in the public sector, including the state administration. Only representative trade unions, that is, the trade unions with the biggest registered membership, can be parties to collective agreements.

The participation of the government in the negotiation of "general collective agreements" is not in line with Convention No. 98 which promotes bipartite collective bargaining.

The right to strike: The Constitution also guarantees the right to strike for all workers with the exception of those employed by the armed forces, the police, state bodies and public services.

The Law on Strikes was adopted in 2003. A strike is defined as a "termination of work organised by employees to protect their professional and economic interests". This definition has not, however, been interpreted as prohibiting solidarity strikes. Minimum services must be guaranteed in a number of activities, including postal services, radio and television, waste collection, education, culture, social assistance and childcare. In 2005, the Law on Strikes was amended to ensure that the procedure for establishing minimum services is carried out in consultation with the relevant trade union organisation; if negotiations fail, the employer can still establish minimum services unilaterally.

The ILO requested that the Law on Strikes be brought into conformity with the ILO standards.

Trade union rights in practice and violations in 2008

Anti-union discrimination: Dismissals, demotions and transfers of trade union activists are not uncommon. The 2008 Labour Law did not help the situation by introducing flexible rules on fixed-term contracts. Workers are increasingly offered the possibility of converting their open-ended contracts into temporary jobs. The resulting job insecurity is hampering organising.

Harassment: The Montenegrin Trade Union Confederation SSSCG (affiliated to the ITUC) reports that some employers have been bullying trade unionists. The members of the Trade Union of Leather, Shoes and Chemical Industry at "Lenka" factory (in the town of Bijelo Polje) had to go on a hunger strike to put an end to some harassment.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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