Last Updated: Monday, 19 February 2018, 14:34 GMT

2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of

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 - Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of, 8 June 2011, available at: [accessed 19 February 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: 2,000,000
Capital: Skopje
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

Despite some positive developments in tripartite social dialogue and in the improvement of the Labour Relations Act's provisions on trade union registration, anti-union discrimination including dismissals exist in practice. Law enforcement through the judiciary system may take several years.


A number of excessive restrictions apply despite basic trade union guarantees. The Labour Relations Act was amended in 2009, however some trade union organisations deplored the lack of social dialogue during the process and considered that some new dispositions have a negative impact on trade union rights. Furthermore, collective bargaining is restricted to the union representing 20% of the employees at the level it wishes to bargain, except at the state level where the union must represent 10% of the total labour force.

The right to strike is circumscribed, as unions must specify the length of a strike in advance, and the participants can be dismissed and sued for damages if a court declares the strike illegal. The Labour Relations Law gives employers the right to suspend up to 2% of the participants of a strike throughout its duration if they exhibit violent or "non-democratic" behaviour, a provision that can be widely abused.


Background: Having a status of EU candidate country since 2005, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continues to gradually implement reforms, but official accession negotiations remain closed due to a lack of progress in the country's name dispute with Greece. In August 2010 the social partners finally signed an agreement on establishing a tripartite Economic and Social Council, which became operational and held three sessions before the end of the year.

Collective agreements not respected in the public sector: The EC Progress Report notes that there is no effective social dialogue in the public sector and that collective agreements are not respected. The legitimacy of the signing trade union can also be questioned by other trade unions. Until the third quarter of 2010, the number of temporary posts within public administration was disproportionately high, even though the hiring of temporary staff is not compliant with the laws on civil and public servants.

Anti-union discrimination: While the law prohibits anti-union discrimination, anti-union dismissals exist in practice, and dismissal cases usually take two to three years to resolve in court. Some companies have allegedly tried to interfere in trade union elections.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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