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25. April 2024.

The representative of the International Labor Organization and Senior Specialist for Social Dialogue and Labour Law, Mr Lejo Sibbel from the Office for Central and Eastern Europe in Budapest visited the Agency on Thursday, April 25. On that occasion, Mr. Sibbel met with the Director of the Agency, Dr Ivica Lazović.

The meeting was organized in order to discuss the new project "Strengthening social dialogue in the Republic of Serbia" which is being implemented in the Republic of Serbia by the International Labor Organization in partnership with EU Delegation and national social partners, representative trade unions (CATUS, TUC "Nezavisnost"), employers' associations (Serbian Association of Employers), and state representatives - the Ministry of Labour, Social and Economic Council, and the Agency, as an important institution that encourages and develops social dialogue. This project will last for 4 years with the aim of strengthening social dialogue and improving the regulatory and institutional framework for bipartite and tripartite bargaining and functioning.

Mr. Sibbel has also exclusively informed us that the third phase of the "Employment and Social Affairs Platform - ESAP 3" project has been approved, where the regional alternative dispute settlement organizations play a significant role in the said project which also fosters a network of amicable dispute settlement practitioners.

Another project that is currently ongoing is the "Initiative for Global Solidarity" implemented by the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ) in cooperation with the ILO and social partners, which has supported significant institutional capacity building of the Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labour Disputes, but also promotes these mechanisms in companies subject to German regulations on due diligence in supply chains.

The Director of the Agency, Dr Ivica Lazović, emphasized the importance of cooperation of all social partners in the Republic of Serbia with the ILO, and especially the Republic Agency for Peaceful Resolution of Labor Disputes, for the purposes of social dialogue strengthening, peaceful resolution of labour disputes and improvement of common practices and experiences.

During the cordial and friendly conversation, the interlocutors shared experiences and numerous examples of good cooperation in practice, which has especially gained intensity in the last few years. It was pointed out that this cooperation will be even more intense in the coming period through all the mentioned projects.

19. April 2024.

On April 19, 2024, the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labour Disputes organized a webinar “Conciliation and arbitration in practice”. The topic of the webinar was presented by professor Živko Kulić PhD, one of the most experienced conciliators and arbiters in the region.

The webinar was attended by students of the faculties with which the Agency has signed a cooperation agreement, the Faculty of Law of the University of Belgrade, the Faculty of Law of the University of Niš, the Faculty of Law of the University of Kragujevac, the Faculty of Law of the University of Pristina with temporary headquarters in Kosovska Mitrovica, The faculty of law and Economy of the Economic Academy University in Novi Sad and many others.

Professor Kulić strived to explain the processes of conciliation and arbitration and present the considerable challenges he has encountered during his practice. He primarily presented the concept of both individual and collective labour disputes to the attendees and explained the methods for settlement of such disputes, with a special focus on the out-of-court methods. Out-of-court methods encompass dispute settlement through conciliation and arbitration which the professor illustrated by recounting specific cases that he has resolved during his renowned career, while placing a special emphasis on workplace harassment and strike cases.

This webinar, which was especially noted by the students, is just one in a set of activities that the Agency will implement in order to enhance its cooperation with universities and inform the future lawyers on alternative labour dispute settlement methods.

After the lectures the attendees were also addressed by Dr Ivica Lazović, the Agency director, who has provided them with exceptional insights on the legal and moral conflict in the framework of conciliation and arbitration which initiated a fruitful discussion on whether different dispute settlement methods give priority to norms or people.

At the end of the webinar the attendees had the opportunity to pose questions and give their remarks, thus participating in the discussion, while highlighting that the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labour Disputes has organized a very inspirational webinar.

10. April 2024.

On April 10, 2024, the conference "Labor Law Aspects of Human Rights - Theory and Application" was jointly organized by the Republic Agency for Peaceful Resolution of Labor Disputes, the Office of the Provincial Ombudsman, the Office of the Local Ombudsman of the City of Kragujevac and the Office of the Local Ombudsman of the City of Niš, with the support of the Serbian Ombudsman Association.

It is very important to note that a Cooperation Agreement between the Agency and the Serbian Ombudsman Association was signed on that occasion. The agreement was signed by the director of the Agency, Dr Ivica Lazović, and the president of the Serbian Ombudsman Association, Miljko Valjarevic.

The goal of the meeting, which brought together all local ombudsman in one place, was to gain new knowledge, share good practices and open a dialogue on improving the protection of human rights and the labour rights arising from them. The participants had the opportunity to hear the views of eminent experts in this field and to express their ideas and observations through an interactive approach.

The meeting was opened by the republican ombudsman Zoran Pašalić. Dr Gordana Damnjanović, assistant to the mayor of the city of Kragujevac in charge of health and social protection, human and minority rights, Katarina Mitrovska, local ombudsman of the city of Nis, and Snežana Knežević, deputy provincial ombudsman from Novi Sad, welcomed the participants in their opening speeches.

The labour law aspect of human rights, theory and application were discussed by Prof. Dr Bojan Urdarević from the Faculty of Law, University of Kragujevac and Prof. Dr Marko Davinić from the Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade.

The interactive part of this conference was organized in the form of a panel discussion – sharing of best practices - on the topic of: "Labor Law Aspects of Human Rights - Theory and Application" moderated by docent Dr Dragana Ćorić - provincial protector of citizens, ombudsman, in which Miljko Valjarević, president of the Association of Ombudsman of Serbia, Jelena Milivojević, local ombudsman of the city of Kragujevac, Katarina Mitrovska, local ombudsman of the city of Niš and prof. Živko Kulić, PhD, conciliator and arbitrator of the Agency.

At the end of the conference, a fruitful discussion was opened on examples and challenges in the practice and work of local ombudsmen as well as conciliators and arbiters of the Agency.

08. April 2024.

After intense negotiations in the presence of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labour Disputes on April 8th, 2024, an Agreement on Settlement of a Collective Labour Dispute was signed by the Education Trade Union of Serbia and the Ministry of Education in the framework of amending the Special Collective Agreement in Higher Education.

The proceedings before the Agency were initiated ex officio, pursuant to the Law on Peaceful Settlement of Labour Disputes, immediately after the filing of a Motion by the Education Trade Union. The acting conciliator, professor Živko Kulić, PhD, has established the Conciliation Panel on the first session, in line with the Law, with the said Panel consisting of the representatives of the parties and the conciliator. After three sessions the viewpoint of parties on disputed issues started to converge and finally were aligned. The Conciliation Panel members have produced the final text of the Joint Recommendation which they have unanimously approved, in line with the Law.

The Trade Union and Ministry representatives have also signed an Agreement on Dispute Settlement based on the aforementioned Recommendation, which will be integrated into the Special Collective Agreement on the Amendments to the Special Collective Agreement for Higher Education.

By deciding to resolve the collective dispute with the assistance of the Agency and the skilful facilitation by professor Živko Kulić, PhD, the parties have contributed to the preservation of social peace and good relations and demonstrated the advantages of peaceful labour dispute settlement through improved social dialogue.

05. April 2024.

The Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes has presented its work and achievements at the first international conference of European alternative labour disputes resolution services entitled “The Settlement of Labour Disputes in Europe" which took place on April 5th, 2024, in Athens. The conference was organized under the auspices of the president of the Republic of Greece, Ms. Katerina Sakellaropoulou, and by the Organisation for Mediation and Arbitration, (O.ME.D. Greece) in collaboration with the Law School of Athens (NKUA) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The conference was opened by the Deputy Minister of Labour of the Republic of Greece Mr. Vassilis Spanakis who welcomed the participants by expressing the hope that similar conferences would enhance the practice of amicable labour dispute settlement in Europe. Apart from the representative of the Agency and the Greek hosts, the conference was also attended by the delegations from alternative dispute resolution services of Belgium, Bulgaria, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and Great Britan, the management of the most prominent Greek trade unions and employers’ associations, as well as the representatives of the scientific community.

In his address, the director of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labour Disputes, Dr Ivica Lazović presented the previous work and achievements of our Agency. He also reflected on the legal framework of the Agency’s actions and its competencies. Mr. Lazović has also informed the attendees about the way in which the arbiters and conciliators are selected and the role of social partners in that process. He presented the process of dispute settlement by the Agency while remarking that the disputes were resolved quickly, efficiently, and free of charge for all dispute parties. He finally concluded that such conferences were valuable for exchange of experiences and best practices, and that they held an enormous importance for the improvement of amicable labour dispute settlement.

The conference also gave birth to the initiative for the establishment of a European network of alternative labour dispute resolution organizations that would be joined by the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labour Disputes. This network would enable continuous cooperation of member institutions with annual professional conferences.

01. March 2024.

At the round table entitled "Discrimination at Work and Protection Mechanisms", which was held on March 1 in Belgrade, the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes presented the possibilities for protecting workers from discrimination through procedures conducted before the Agency. The debate was organized as a part of the "Initiative for Global Solidarity" project, which is implemented in Serbia by the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ) in cooperation with the Center for Democracy Foundation.

The Director of the Agency, Dr. Ivica Lazović, introduced the participants of the debate to the scope of the Agency's work and pointed out the role it plays in protecting workers from discrimination. He emphasized the importance of extra-judicial mechanisms for the protection of labor rights, which enabled proceedings to be resolved quickly and efficiently. At the same time, Lazović underlined that the Agency engaged significant resources in order to introduce workers and trade unions to the concept for the peaceful settlement of labor disputes, emphasizing mobbing and discrimination, which were often not recognized by them.

In addition to the Agency representatives, Nataša Vučković on behalf of the organizers, Kirsten Schönefeld from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Danijela Ristovski from the Office of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, Sanela Bahtijarević on behalf of the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ), representatives of trade unions and the non-governmental sector also participated in the discussion.

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