Improved cooperation with National institute for Conciliation and Arbitration after a two-day visit to the Republic of Bulgaria

17. 06. 2023.

On the initiative of Vladimir Bojažijev, Director of the National Institute for Conciliation and Arbitration of the Republic of Bulgaria (NIPA), a visit of the Agency representatives to the institution was organized from 14-15 June. The National Institute for Conciliation and Arbitration (NIPA) invited representatives of our Agency to the meeting in Sofia in order to share experiences and discuss future strategies of cooperation. The meeting was aimed at identification of similarities and differences in procedures for labor dispute settlement that two institutions implemented, as well as identification of areas and opportunities to use practical experiences from labor dispute resolution, and especially agreement on specific activities to be included in the potential common project within the INTERREG VI-A IPA program Bulgaria-Serbia 2021-2027. As a part of the visit a workshop was held on June 15, 2023 on "Labor dispute resolution - partnership for knowledge and best practices". This workshop was opened by H.E. Mr Željko Jović, ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to Sofia in the capacity of a special guest, giving additional significance to the event. The workshop lasted the whole day and many important issues were covered, from reviews of industrial relationships and collective negotiations in two states, to responses to preliminary questions about organization, structure, functions and activities of the Agency and Institute, specific procedures for reconciliation or mediation and arbitration in labor dispute settlement, regulatory framework and challenges in practice, all the way to statistics of dispute settlement cases. In addition to directors, Bojažijev and Lazović, issues encountered in practice were discussed by Prof. Dr Krasimira Sredkova, a member of the NIPA Supervisory Board and President of the Bulgarian Associations for Labor Law and Social Security, Prof. Dr Bojan Urdarević, conciliator and President of the Serbian Associations for Labor Law and Social Security, Prof. Dr Valerie Apostolov , president of the NIPA Supervisory Board, Prof. Dr Emil Mingov , deputy president of the NIPA Supervisory Board, Prof. Dr Sanja Škorić and Prof. Dr Dejan Logarušić, Agency conciliators. A visit to the National Institute for Conciliation and Arbitration was organized on the second day of the stay in the Republic of Bulgaria, where the Agency delegation learned about operations of the body that marked its 20th anniversary and was set up for labor dispute settlement only. The staff comprises 12 employees (7 experts, 3 specialists and 2 managers). On the occasion, the directors of two institutions agreed on cooperation and participation within the framework of the upcoming INTERREG VI-A IPA program project Bulgaria-Serbia 2021-2027. The project INTERREG VI-A IPA Bulgaria-Serbia 2021-2027 is a program of cross-border cooperation financed by the European Union funds from the Instruments for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA III) and implies more funding areas, one of them being dignified work and protection of labor rights. A series of activities in this direction were agreed and proposed at the meeting as well as a reciprocal visit of NIPA delegation to our Agency in Belgrade. This visit was very important for getting to know each other and lay the foundations for much closer cooperation in the future.