Activities

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.

26. February 2024.

At the invitation of the Branch Union "Nezavisnost" representing the workforce of administration, justice, defense and police sectors, the Republic Agency for the Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes presented its work at the seminar entitled "The Role of the Republic Agency for the Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes in the Protection of the Rights of Civil Servants and the Effective Resolution of Labor Disputes". The seminar was held on mount Kopaonik within the 7th Regular Session of the Main Board of the "Nezavisnost" Branch Union of Administration, Justice, Defense and Police, which was held from February 23 to 25, 2024.

This seminar was opened by Nebojša Pejčinović, executive secretary of the branch, while Čedanka Andrić, the president of UGS "Nezavisnost", spoke about experiences and cooperation with the Agency. The Agency Director, Ivica Lazović, Ph.D., informed the attendees about the previous work and results achieved by the Agency. Lazović referred to the legal competences of the Agency, with special reference to the role of our institution in the peaceful resolution of collective labor disputes. He stated that constant cooperation with trade unions was needed in order to provide benefits of the concept for the peaceful resolution of labor disputes to as many members as possible. In the end, director Lazović thanked the organizers, the management of GS UPIOP "NEZAVISNOST", for recognizing the Agency as a reliable partner and for guiding and informing its members about the Agency's activities.

A large number of attending trade union representatives had the opportunity to ask questions and actively participate in the discussion. In this way, the participants were able to dispell all the doubts they had regarding the application of the concept of peaceful resolution of labor disputes and to discover the advantages that its application provided.

12. February 2024.

The training for public speaking skills and raising the visibility of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes, which was held from February 7 to 9, 2024 in Sokobanja, was aimed at increasing the communication skills of conciliators and arbitrators and employees of the Agency. The three-day training was carried out as part of the project entitled "Ensuring adequate complaint mechanisms for workers in the automotive, electrical and textile industries", which is a part of the "Global Solidarity Initiative" of the German Development Cooperation, which is implemented by the German Organization for International Cooperation GIZ in cooperation with the International Labor Organization (ILO).

This training was attended by over 60 participants, conciliators, arbitrators, employees of the Agency, as well as directors and guests from the agences for the peaceful settlement of labor disputes from the region, the Republic of Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and the Republic of North Macedonia. This is only the second training since the establishment of the Agency, which is implemented in a massive way and outside the headquarters, thanks to the financial and logistical support of the mentioned project partners.

In the part of the program realized by Dr. Ivan Jeftović as the lecturer, the participants had the opportunity to master the skills of public speaking through interactive exercises. They were placed in various roles typical of labor disputes and encouraged to look at problems from all angles. In the second part of the program, the audience was presented with a strategic approach to communications by Maja Dželatović and Sonja Nenić Andreev from the “PR Mind” agency for communications and public relations. During this section of the program, conciliators and arbitrators were introduced to the activities that they themselves could carry out in order to present their work to the local community, which is one of the Agency's important communication goals.

All participants of this excellent training were given the opportunity to actively participate in discussions, to give their comments and present their observations, all with the aim of bringing the Agency closer to as many citizens as possible and to continue to be a key institution for quick, efficient and free resolution of disputes ranging from mobbing and discrimination through various material disputes to the amendment and application of collective agreements.

06. February 2024.

On Tuesday, February 6, 2024, at the premises of the Agency in Belgrade, an agreement was signed between the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes and the office of provincial ombudsperson. Agreement was signed by Assoc. Prof. Dr Dragana Ćorić, the Provincial Ombudsperson, and Dr Ivica Lazović, the Agency Director.

On the occasion Dr Lazović pointed out that the agreement will contribute to better and more efficient protection of labor rights of all employees on the area of AP Vojvodina. At the same time, he highlighted the advantages for workers and employers resulting from the resorting to this extrajudicial method of settlement of labor disputes in comparison to conducting time-consuming and expensive judicial proceedings. Dr Lazović underlined that it is necessary for all of us together to actively promote peaceful settlement of labor disputes.

Assoc. Prof. Dr Dragana Ćorić, the Provincial Ombudsperson, confirmed that the agreement will enable faster and easier resolution of labor disputes with assistance of conciliators and arbitrators while simultaneously getting higher level of protection of the labor rights on the province level. She concluded her presentation saying that in addition to citizens, it is also important that employers, as the stronger party in disputes, also understand and acknowledge advantages associated with this concept.

31. January 2024.

On Wednesday, January 31, 2024 at the Niš City Hall, the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes signed a Cooperation Agreement with the office of regional ombudsperson in Niš. The Agreement was signed by the regional ombudsperson in Niš, Katarina Mitrovski and the Agency Director, Dr Ivica Lazović. Dragana Sotirovski, the Mayoress of the City of Niš also attended the agreement signing.

On this occasion, the Agency Director, Dr Ivica Lazović, expressed his appreciation of the recognition of importance of the concept of peaceful settlement of labor disputes shown by the citizens of Niš and its surroundings by a large number of cases conducted before the Agency. At the same time, Dr Lazović underlined that it is necessary to promote extrajudicial mechanisms of protection of workers rights so that a larger number of people can learn about the benefits associated with them. He presented the work and competencies of the Agency to the audience briefing them on the results achieved in the previous period.

Dragana Sotirovski, the Niš Mayoress, pointed out that this agreement will benefit the citizens enabling faster, easier and more efficient resolution of labor disputes assisted by conciliators and arbitrators, without resorting to judicial proceedings, while employees will get a higher degree of protection of their rights on the local level. Katarina Mitrovski, the regional ombudsperson for the City of Niš also recognized that resolution of disputes before the Agency is much cheaper for the City and for individuals alike.

31. January 2024.

for protection of labor rights before the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes were presented. The conference was organized within a project representing a part of "Initiative for Global Solidarity" of the German Development and Cooperation Ministry implemented by the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ) in cooperation with International Labor Organization (ILO) in Serbia.

As at the previous conference, Dr Ivica Lazović, the Agency Director introduced the audience to the work and competences of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes. A large number of representatives of unions from the Nišavski District and south of Serbia had an opportunity to learn more about alternative mechanisms for protection of labor rights and opportunities to implement these mechanisms.

Using examples from practice, Dr Lazović illustrated efficiency and effectiveness of solutions for resolving labor disputes before the Agency. In continuation, the participants had an opportunity to ask questions and join the discussion in order to understand the concept of peaceful settlement of labor disputes better and resolve all concerns of our citizens.

In addition to the above, in her presentation, Jelena Čanović Spasojevic from the Law School of the University of Kragujevac provided an opportunity for participants to learn about the application and content of new regulations on due diligence in supply chains, importance of these for their companies and trade unions organizations; Danijela Ristovski from the office of Commissioner for Equality Protection talked about protection from discrimination. The event was also attended by high union representatives, Zoran Marković on behalf of SSSS, and Miloš Miljković of behalf of UGS "Nezavisnost".

26. January 2024.

On the meeting entitled "CAF Open Day in Serbia" held on January 25 in Novi Sad, the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes received a prestigious certificate of quality acknowledgment, the "Effective CAF User Label". The Director of the Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA), Maja Handjiska-Trendafilova, awarded the Certificate to our Agency. This institution in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-government of the Republic of Serbia organized the event.

On the occasion, it has been pointed out that the Agency is the first institution in the Republic of Serbia awarded this certificate and the second in the Western Balkans, so that its contribution to the promotion of quality enhancement through the self-assessment process is very important. Reaching the level of excellence in delivery of services to our citizens and business sector is the priority of the public sector. The Agency is one of good examples that confirms its mission by commitment. The CAF process of quality promotion was implemented in the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes in accordance with all prescribed guidelines, while the activities have been systematically monitored along with continuous measurement of effects of the applications.

Dr Ivica Lazović, the Director of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes thanked the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-government of the Republic of Serbia, Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA), KDZ organization and external consultants for their generous support without which this achievement would not be possible. He emphasized that this certificate is only a beginning, and that the Agency must continuously work on the promotion of their own services to meet requirements of its beneficiaries. Dr Lazović also said that the Agency will work more intensively on the promotion of the CAF model of quality management among other institutions since this can be beneficial to all.

In addition to the Agency representatives, the list of speakers included Čedomir Rakić, the state secretary in the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-government of the Republic of Serbia, Maja Handjiska Trendafilova, Director of the Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA), Nick Thijs on behalf of OECD SIGMA, and many others. This event gathered a large number of CAF practitioners from region and the EU who actively discussed on advantages of implementation of the CAF model of quality management in institutions of the Western Balkans countries.

17. January 2024.

On Wednesday, January 17, 2024 the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes signed a Cooperation Agreement with local ombudsperson for the City of Kragujevac. The Agreement was signed by the Agency Director, Dr Ivica Lazović, and local ombudsperson for the City of Kragujevac, Jelena Milivojević. The signing was also attended by Miroslav Petrašinović, a member of the Kragujevac interim administration and Gordan Damnjanović, member of the interim administration commission.

On the occasion Mister Lazović noted that it was very important to establish cooperation between public bodies to be able to respond to needs of the citizens better and more efficiently. He also pointed out that procedures for peaceful settlement of labor disputes should be promoted more and explained better to our citizens because employees do not appreciate them enough. When employees experience a labor dispute they regularly address the court, and only few resort to alternative methods such as conciliation and arbitration. In continuation, Dr Lazović introduced the audience to the work and competences of the Agency and highlighted the advantages brought about by peaceful settlement of labor disputes in comparison to judicial procedures.

The local ombudsperson for the City of Kragujevac, Jelena Milivojević, points out that labor disputes are quite common in judicial practice of Kragujevac, especially in the public sector, and that citizens should be directed to alternative methods of labor dispute settlement, which will be promoted by the current agreement.

Finally, a large number of attending representatives of unions and employees of local companies had an opportunity to ask questions and resolve all concerns about initiating and conducting the case before Agency.

17. January 2024.

On the fourth conference on appeals mechanisms which was held in Kragujevac on January 17, 2024, possibilities for protection of labor rights before the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes were presented. The conference was organized within a project representing a part of "Initiative for Global Solidarity" of the German Development and Cooperation Ministry implemented by the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ) in cooperation with International Labor Organization (ILO) in Serbia.

The Agency Director, Dr Ivica Lazović, introduced the audience with the work and competences of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes. A large number of representatives of unions from whole Šumadija had an opportunity to ask questions and resolve all concerns about possibilities that these mechanisms offer.

Dr Lazović presented some examples illustrating efficiency and effectiveness of solutions in cases resolved by the Agency. In continuation, the participants had an opportunity to ask questions and join the discussion in order to understand the concept of peaceful settlement of labor disputes better and resolve all concerns of our citizens.

10. January 2024.

The Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes adopted a program for special expertise improvement of conciliators and arbitrators for the year 2024.

The program of expertise improvement aims at continuous promotion of skills and knowledge, as well as streamlining the practice of conciliators and arbitrators in the area of peaceful settlement of labor disputes, which is an important prerequisite for further development of the concept of peaceful settlement of labor disputes in practice, and thus effective labor law protection in the Republic to Serbia.

This Program plans for two training courses for conciliators and arbitrators, as well as special individual trainings. In 2024, in addition to these courses, the Agency will organize other courses with expert support of the International Labor Organizations (ILO) and German Cooperation in Serbia (GIZ). These organizations jointly implement the project entitled "Provision of adequate approach to appeals mechanisms for workers in the automotive, electrical and textile industries in Serbia".

You can download the program of special expertise improvement for conciliators and arbitrators for the year 2024 by clicking on LINK.

25. December 2023.

The second interactive and also the final training for conciliators and arbitrators this year was held on December 25, 2023 at the "Serbia" Palace. In addition to a large number of conciliators and arbitrators, social partners and representatives of the International Labor Organization also participated at the training.

The meeting was opened by the Agency Director, Dr. Ivica Lazović, who thanked the conciliators and arbitrators for their continued committment to improvement and regular attendance of all trainings organized by the Agency. He used the opportunity to inform those present about the current developments in the Agency and at the same time announced future activities of the organization.

Nebojša Đuričić, judge of the High Court in Belgrade, Vesna Dušić, judge of the Court of Appeals in Novi Sad, and Dr Bojan Božović, judge of the High Court in Novi Sad, introduced conciliators and arbitrators to the current judicial practice in the field of labor disputes. In continuation of the agenda, an exceptional lecture on collective bargaining was held by Prof. Dr. Senad Jašarević from the Faculty of Law in Novi Sad, who put special emphasis on current cases of conducting collective negotiations in the world and in our country, pointing out both the good and bad practices.

Finally, a panel discussion was organized by members of the Standing Working Body for Collective Bargaining and Peaceful Resolution of Labor Disputes of the Social and Economic Council of the Republic of Serbia on the topic of collective bargaining and the possibility of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Resolution of Labor Disputes to contribute to collective bargaining. The panelists, among whom were representatives of both representative unions, Aleksandar Marković from SSSS and Dragica Mišljenović from UGS "Nezavisnost", as well as Jelena Jevtović from the Union of Employers, tried to determine through analysis and discussion how the crisis can be overcome and awareness raised on the need for collective bargaining. Conciliators and arbitrators had the opportunity to ask questions and actively participate in the discussion.

22. December 2023.

Upon invitation of the Agency for Peaceful Resolution of Labor Disputes of Montenegro, the Annual Training for Conciliators and Arbitrators of Montenegro was held in Podgorica on December 20 and 21, 2023, attended by representatives of the Public Institution (PU) Agency for Peaceful Resolution of Labor Disputes of the Republic of Srpska in addition to the delegation of our Agency, representatives of trade unions and employers in Montenegro, as well as regional representatives of the International Labor Organization.

The training was opened by Enesa Rastoder, Director of this Agency, who indicated the importance of the work of the Agency for Montenegro, but also the existence of institutions for the peaceful resolution of labor disputes in the region and long-term good cooperation. Representatives of the Association of Free Trade Unions and the Association of Employers confirmed the tripartite spirit of these institutions to those present. Velibor Mikać, Director of the PU "Agency for Peaceful Resolution of Labor Disputes" from Banja Luka, and Ivica Lazović, Director of our Agency, also gave welcome speeches.

In the two-day working part, which was rich in panel discussions, numerous topics were covered, such as: (1) Experiences from the region on the importance and role of peaceful settlement of labor disputes, with a special overview of the practice of the Federal Conciliation Service of the United States of America, (2) case studies of peaceful settlement of labor disputes in Montenegro, the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Srpska, (3) collective labor disputes - the difference between individual and collective labor disputes – practice, (4) negotiation skills, (5) the importance of dialogue, lessons from practice, (6) regulations on due diligence in the EU, (7) IT systems for conducting procedures, digitization and practices, and (8) open questions regarding application of the Law. Many lecturers participated in the presentation of topics, some of them are Prof. Dr Živko Kulić, Dragana Andonovska, MSc Milica Kovač Orlandić, MSc, Svetlana Barović, Milanka Mrdak, Armin Bećiragić, Tatjana Bakić, Dr Jovan Protić, Dr Enesa Rastoder, Velibor Mikać, Dr Ivica Lazović and Jovana Borjan.

The visit to the Agency for Peaceful Resolution of Labor Disputes and learning about the current practice of dispute resolution in Montenegro, as well as the presentation of current practice in the field of resolution of labor disputes in the Republic of Serbia, were important for all participants, bearing in mind similar practical problems and issues they face in practice. At the meeting, several conclusions were agreed on with the aim of general improvement of dispute resolution and improvement of the quality of the overall operations of these institutions.

11. December 2023.

The agreement on cooperation with the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, which was signed at the "Business and Human Rights" conference on December 11, 2023, in the House of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, will create a basis for special cooperation in the field of protecting the labor rights of minority communities and vulnerable social groups. The memorandum was signed by the Agency Director, Dr Ivica Lazović, and the Minister for Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, Tomislav Žigmanov.

The agreement defines the goals, areas and steps of future cooperation. The agreement signatories stated that there was plenty of room for encouraging social dialogue in the area of protecting the labor rights of minority communities and vulnerable social groups through alternative mechanisms for resolving disputes and exchanging experiences related to the protection and improvement of human and minority rights in the area of labor.

The Conference on Business and Human Rights is supported and organized by UNDP and the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, and represents the first step towards wider implementation and recognition of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and other relevant mechanisms. It attracted a large number of participants and panelists from Serbia and the European Union, representatives of state institutions, private sector, trade unions, various UN organizations, university professors and many others.

On the panel entitled "Protection of human rights in the corporate world", the director of the Agency, Dr. Ivica Lazović, spoke about the possibilities for the protection of labor rights before the Agency. He informed the participants about the competences of the Agency, its work so far and emphasized the importance of promoting the concept of peaceful resolution of labor disputes both among employers and among workers and trade unions. Afterwards, the participants had the opportunity to ask questions to the panelists and participate in the discussion.

Through open exchange of opinions and discussions, the conference pointed out the need for additional attention in the protection of human rights, including the labor rights. At the same time, it pointed out the importance of developing partnerships between relevant institutions, including state institutions, independent bodies, trade unions, business associations, civil society organizations and academic community.

07. December 2023.

A two-day conference of the network of agencies for peaceful settlement of labor disputes on "Innovation, Learning, Action: Answers to Formalization and Better Working Conditions" was held in Tirana, Republic of Albania, from December 5-6, 2023. The conference gathered a large number representatives of institutions from Serbia, Albania, Greece, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia that pursue peaceful settlement of labor disputes as well as inspections, employment and labor relationships. Union representatives attended, as well. The conference was also attended by high officials of the International Labor Organizations and representatives of the academic sector from Germany, Belgium and Greece.

The conference was opened by Ada Huibregtse, the main technical advisor (ILO), Claire Harasty, DWCT /CO Director from of Budapest (ILO), Fiona McCluney, UN coordinator from Albania and Olta Manjani deputy minister of economy and finance of the Republic of Albania.

Dr Ivica Lazović, Director of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes, was one of the panelists who talked about the Agency operations and importance of the ESAP2 project as a catalyst of regional cooperation. He pointed out the benefits of the network of agencies for peaceful settlement of labor disputes and highlighted the importance of sharing experiences with colleagues from the region underlying that this was the road to follow in the future in order to make progress.

The conference paid significant attention to the need for development of regional cooperation in the field of social dialogue establishment and promotion. The participants also dealt with the issues of role and influence of digitization and artificial intelligence on the labor relationships, reforms in minimal wage policies, issues of seasonal and informal work, as well as the issues of safety and health at work.

The whole event was organized as a part of the Employment and Social Affairs Platform 2 project (ESAP 2), which is a regional project financed by the European Union and implemented by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and Regional Cooperation Board. The ESAP 2 project is also a means for providing support of the International Labor Organization team to the countries Western Balkans aimed at improvement and development of the concept of peaceful settlement of labor disputes.

06. December 2023.

The third consecutive conference on appeals mechanisms organized within a project representing a part of the "Initiative for Global Solidarity" of the German Developmental Cooperation implemented by the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ) together with International Labor Organization (ILO) in Serbia was held is December 6, 2023 in Valjevo. Representatives of leading unions as well as of employers from the region attended the conference.

Dragana Andonovska, head of the Agency team for legal and operational affairs, introduced the participants to the concept of peaceful settlement of labor disputes as an external mechanism that is employed once all internal mechanisms for resolution of disputes within companies have been exhausted. She presented Agency competencies, particularly highlighting the mobbing, but also underlined advantages of resolving disputes before the Agency over the corresponding judicial procedure. Participants were given an opportunity to ask questions and resolve all concerns related to procedures before Agency.

In addition to the Agency representatives, speakers at the conference included representatives of leading trade unions, office of the commissioner for equality protection and many others.

30. November 2023.

At the annual conference of the Regional Associations of Mediators of Vojvodina which was held on November 30, 2023 in the provincial Chamber of Commerce competences and mandate of our Agency were presented. The conference was attended by a large number of mediators and experts in the field from the whole region.

The Agency Director, Dr Ivica Lazović, pointed out the importance of cooperation between the Agency and organizations that pursue mediation because they shared the same goal, i.e. promotion of the concept of peaceful settlement of labor disputes which had been shown repeatedly to be more efficient than the judicial procedure. He introduced the audience with the Agency competencies, practice pursued so far and key indicators of operational success.

Meetings like this one are aimed at mediator networking, sharing of experiences and practices, and competence promotion, but also promotion of the process peaceful dispute settlement itself. Special importance was also reflected in the international character of the conferences illustrated by participation of colleagues not only from Serbia, but also from Croatia, North of Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

29. November 2023.

Traditional visit of the senior students of the Faculty of Law, University in Belgrade who opted for a course on labor law to our Agency was organized at the Palace of Serbia on November 29, 2023. The visit took place as a part of the already signed cooperation agreement with the Faculty of Law, University in Belgrade and led by Prof. Ljubinka Kovačević, LLD and Assoc. Prof. Filip Bojic, LLD.

The event was opened by the Agency Director, Dr Ivica Lazović, who expressed satisfaction in the long-term cooperation between the Agency and the institutions of higher education. He pointed out that the Agency door was open to students who wanted to pursue the concept of peaceful settlement of labor dispute as a topic of their professional interest, as well as to those who wanted to complete their internship at the Agency.

The presentation provided the legal framework in which the Agency operated, its competencies, comparative practice and pertinent statistical data. In continuation of the visit, Lazović talked about current events related to the operations of the Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes.

Dragana Andonovska, a senior adviser at the Agency, introduced the students to examples from the Agency cases settled so far. She showed how, when all parties involved show good will, even some of the most complex labor disputes can be resolved amicably avoiding extensive time-consuming judicial procedure. Jelena Golubović, another Agency adviser, acquainted the participants with digitization processes and digital transformations in the Agency.

This opportunity to learn about the Agency was concluded with an open discussion with the students in which they asked questions and presented own opinions and dilemmas about alternative ways to resolve labor disputes in the Republic to Serbia.

21. November 2023.

The Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes was awarded a prestigious CAF Effective User Certificate as the first institution in the Republic Serbia fulfilling the required quality standards.

The certificate was awarded by the Regional Quality Management Center that is a part of the Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA). The Regional School of Public Administration is a joint organization of the Western Balkans countries and EU, founded in order to promote cooperation and public administration as reliable and efficient services for citizens and economy, especially in the process of accession to the EU.

With this certificate the Agency commitment to achieving excellence in operational processes, improvement of the quality work and provision of services to the citizens and economy are acknowledged.

The Common Assessment Framework (hereinafter: CAF) is a special, adapted EU model of quality management in public administration. It is a self-assessment tool used jointly by the management and employees to analyze and identify own strength and areas for improvement. The final goal is to achieve excellent results and influence the users, citizens and society alike.

The quality management system has been implemented in the Agency since 2022 on the basis of the "Agreement on Implementation of the CAF Quality Management Model" in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-government and the EU project entitled "Support to Public Administration Reforms".

After the CAF quality management model has been established and successfully applied, the Agency addressed the ReSPA Regional Quality Management Center applying for assessment and certification. After the external CAF procedure for external feedback (the so-called PEF procedure) was conducted by an international commission, the Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA) decided to support recommendations of the independent evaluators (EFAC – External Feedback Actors),) and award this prestigious recognition to the Agency. This certificate is awarded for a three-year period, and according to the data of the European Institute for Public Administration (EIPA), the CAF quality system certificate is held by only about 4000 organizations globally.

The agency is proud to be the first in Serbia to receive this prestigious recognition which also obliges us to pursue the continuous work on promotion of services for our users. Application of the CAF model has shown us our areas for improvement and provided us with tools for improvement, and also enabled us to identify strength of our institution.

The Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes acquires the right to use special stickers and logo "CAF Effective User, CAF Excellence Label", while the official certificate award by ReSPA will be organized subsequently.

You can find the complete report HERE

20. November 2023.

In the process of peaceful settlement of a collective labor dispute at the “Zavod za udžbenike” Public Enterprise, which was conducted regarding the right to unionization and pertinent actions, the issues between parties to the dispute were resolved and the Agreement was signed. The procedure was raised upon initiative of the “Zavod za udžbenike” Union and both parties agreed to appoint Živko Kulić as the acting conciliator.

At the first hearing, following the letter of the law, the acting conciliator set up the conciliation committee composed of the parties to the dispute and acting conciliator. After three hearings, a recommendation was signed on how to resolve the collective labor dispute, and accordingly, the agreement was reached settling all disputed issues.

Having decided to resort to the process of peaceful settlement of labor dispute in line with a recommendation of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, the employer at the “Zavod za udžbenike” Public Enterprise and “Zavod za udžbenike” Union illustrated how a social dialogue between employees and employer can result in proper, amicable solution.

17. November 2023.

Upon advice of the employer, the National Bank of Serbia, proceedings were initiated for peaceful settlement of labor dispute before the Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes. The other party in the dispute, the Workers Union of the National Bank of Serbia, agreed to resolving the dispute peacefully. Subject of the dispute was related to unionization and pertinent activities at the employer’s organization.

In line with the law, the Agency director appointed Miljko Valjarević as the acting conciliator. At the first hearing he set up the Conciliation Committee composed of the parties to the dispute and acting conciliator.

In the course of negotiations, parties to the dispute showed a high degree of understanding for presented suggestions as well as a high degree of mutual appreciation. After the hearings, a common recommendation was mutually agreed upon, advising on the way to resolve all disputed issues. It was signed by representatives of the parties to the dispute and acting conciliator.

The employer and trade union in the National Bank of Serbia followed the recommendation of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and resorting to the procedure for peaceful settlement of labor disputes set an example of willingness to take part in the social dialogue, all in order to come up with compromise solutions that are acceptable to all parties.