Activities

15. November 2023.

The second conference on appeals mechanisms was held on November 15, 2023 in Novi Sad. A multitude of union and employer representatives attended the presentation on opportunities for protection of labor rights before the Agency as an external protection mechanism. The conference was organized within a project that is 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.

Miloš Prokić, an Agency advisor, introduced the audience to the Agency operations and competencies, and how the procedures were initiated. In his presentation he is especially highlighted the advantages of the concept of peaceful settlement of labor disputes and the need to ease the burden faced by courts with about 40,000 new cases of this type annually. In continuation of the session, all participants were given an opportunity to ask questions and join the discussion.

In addition to the Agency staff, representatives of leading unions, a representative of the Commissioner for Equality Protection and many the others also took part in the event.

08. November 2023.

A delegation of the Republic North of Macedonia visited the Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes in the period from November 8 to 10, 2023. The aim of the visit was to learn about the system for labor dispute resolution in the Republic Serbia and apply good practice of our Agency within the reforms of labor legislation relating to alternative resolution of labor disputes that are ongoing in their country. The five-member delegation was composed of representatives of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, representatives of mediators and International Labor Organization, namely Maja Papatolevska, Radmila Loškovska, Nataša Mečkaroska Simjanoska, Ilija Manasiev and Emil Krstanovski.

The Agency Director, Ivica Lazović, introduced the guests to the legal framework for peaceful settlement of labor disputes in the Republic Serbia and good practices, while Dragana Andonovska, head of the Legal Affairs Group talked about special training programs for conciliators and arbitrators, as well as about the fees, expenses and remuneration of conciliators and the arbitrators for their work. Jelena Golubović, an Agency advisor presented the process of digitalization in the Agency and the use modern IT resources. Miloš Prokić, another Agency advisor, introduced the guests to innovative services and raising the visibility of mechanisms for alternative dispute resolution. The guests also had an opportunity to directly talk with Agency conciliators and arbitrators about specific cases they deal with in practice.

The Agency is very proud of this high interest in ours practice and working model, as well as the fact that the Republic of North Macedonia is the fifth country in the region that is interested in our model of peaceful settlement of labor disputes and is considering the possibility of its implementation in their own legal system. A new law on peaceful settlement of labor disputes is currently being drafted in this country and experiences from this study visit will be used in proposing the future solutions.

03. November 2023.

On November 3, 2023 the Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes in Belgrade organized a workshop for conciliators and arbitrators on reconciliation and mediation in labor disputes - conflict management approaches and mediator skills. The event took place on the Agency premises. The workshop was led by Milena Tasić, an Agency mediator and arbitrator, in order to share her knowledge and skills acquired on the certified online course run by the International Labor Organization and their Training Center from Turin.

Dr. Ivica Lazović, the Agency Director, opened the workshop and on this occasion pointed out the cooperation with the ILO contributing to realization this seminar and emphasized the importance of continuous education of conciliators and arbitrators. At the same time Lazović introduced the conciliators and arbitrators to activities currently implemented by the Agency.

The attending conciliators and arbitrators were able to learn about the latest ILO practices in conflict management. The participants also had an opportunity to learn about standards and principles applied by the ILO in conciliation and mediation, as well as about the approach to the reconciliation and mediation process from the standpoint of the International Labor Organization.

Conciliators and arbitrators were also given the opportunity to ask questions and participate in the discussion, to present own perspective on some situations and dilemmas which they encountered in practice.

01. November 2023.

At the first in a series of conferences on appeals mechanisms, held on November 1, 2023 in Subotica (Palić), mechanisms for protection of rights before the Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes were presented highlighting the options we provide. The conference was organized within project that is a part of the "Initiative for Global Solidarity" of the German developmental cooperation implemented by the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ) together with the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Serbia.

Before the large audience of representatives of employers and unions, the Agency Director, Dr Ivica Lazović, presented the concept of peaceful resolution of labor disputes as an external mechanism resorted to once all internal mechanisms to reach the settlement within companies were exhausted. He presented the Agency competencies and pointed out the efficiency and effectiveness of out-of-court resolution of labor disputes. The participants were given the opportunity to ask questions and in the discussion get answers related to the dilemmas they encountered.

In addition to the Agency representatives, the participants were also addressed by representatives of the leading trade unions, a representative of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality and many others.

31. October 2023.

In a public debate entitled "German law on due diligence in the supply chain - importance for human rights in Serbia" which was held on October 31, 2023 in the Assembly Hall of the City of Niš, the Agency Director participated as one of the panelists and talked about the possibilities for protection rights of employees before the Agency.

Dr Boban Džunić, chairperson of the Assembly of the City of Niš, Sanela Bakhtijarević from the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ), Tanja Lindel from the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia, Aleksandar Todić from the Nezavisnost (Independence) United Branch Trade Unions (UHS Nezavisnost), Danijel Dašić from the National Coalition for Decentralization, and Nataša Vučković from the Center for Democracy Foundation, as well as representatives of the business sector, trade unions, public institution, civil society organizations, academic community, media, etc. participated in the discussions.

Public debate encourages open and constructive dialogue among relevant actors in order to share opinions and experiences; responsible business practices are promoted together with raising awareness and knowledge about pertinent regulations.

The German law on due diligence in the supply chain came into force in January 2023, while the European Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive is still being discussed in the European Union. The law stipulates that the German companies require that their direct and indirect suppliers to apply a series of regulations and standards aimed at the protection human rights and environment, including the setup of appeals mechanisms. In the area of appeals mechanisms for the protection of workers’ rights, arbitration and conciliation before the Agency represent a very efficient external mechanism.

The debate was organized within a project that is a part of the "Initiative for Global Solidarity" implemented by the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit).

18. October 2023.

On October 18, 2023, the Director of the Republic Agency for the Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes, Dr. Ivica Lazović, and the Mayor of Zrenjanin, Dr. Simo Salapura, signed an agreement on cooperation between the Agency and the City of Zrenjanin.

This agreement envisages cooperation in areas such as the exchange of experiences related to the labor law position of employees, information on the application of regulations and practices of competent authorities in the field of labor law, cooperation in the implementation of national and international projects, the organization of expert consultations, seminars, and the exchange of expert knowledge, as well as the use of modern technologies in business.

Dr. Ivica Lazović emphasized the possibility of cooperation and exchange of experiences in the field of quality management, considering that the Agency had been working on the implementation of the CAF quality management model for two years. Also, the contribution that the Agency can provide in the field of peaceful settlement of labor disputes, both individual and collective, which are inevitable in today's work of almost all institutions, was highlighted. At the same time, advantages that this type of resolution of labor disputes in relation to court proceedings have ben pointed out.

The signing of the agreement was also attended by Milan Pekić, Director of the Office for Combating Drugs of the Republic of Serbia and Gorak Rakić, Attorney General of the City of Zrenjanin.

09. October 2023.

At the XXV professional-scientific consultation of the Association for Labor Law and Social Insurance, which was held at Zlatibor from October 4 to 7, 2023, with “Labor Law in Regulations and Practice” as the main topic of the consultation, recognition was given and a certificate of appreciation was presented to the Agency Director for long-term cooperation, fellowship and help in the promotion of this Association.

The Director of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes had the honor of opening this consultation. In his introductory speech, he emphasized the enormous importance that the Association has for the development of labor law science, practice in the application of regulations, enormous journalistic activity that is reflected in over fifty volumes of published works, as well as for connecting experts from the entire region who practice labor law. Director of the Agency, Ivica Lazović, emphasized the importance of the Association for the Agency, because in fact its most prominent members are conciliators and arbitrators, and this Association is also the address where professional and scientific answers to many practical dilemmas are sought.

In the working part of the consultation, Mr. Lazović presented a report on "Institutions for peaceful settlement of labor disputes in regulations and practice (examples of USA, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Republic of Srpska and Serbia)" in which he introduced the participants to the comparative practice of peaceful resolution of labor disputes state, with special reference to the differences in regulations, competences, techniques and technology used in peaceful settlement of labor disputes.

At the round table discussion on "Resolving labor disputes in practice (judicial and non-judicial methods)", the participants of the consultation had the opportunity to hear the latest case law in the field of labor disputes settlement, but also to ask questions, participate in the discussion and see the advantages that out-of-court methods of resolving labor disputes carry.

The consultation brought together a large number of experts dealing with labor law from Serbia, Montenegro, Republic of Srpska and the Federation of B&H, North Macedonia, and also, for the first time at this gathering, representatives of the National Institute for Conciliation and Arbitration of the Republic of Bulgaria as special guests. Thematic areas of the Consultation covered the entire matter of labor law through the prism of all labor law concepts and practices in the resolution of labor disputes. Presenters, moderators and other practitioners were all distinguished experts from the country and abroad (professors of labor law from all our universities as well as from prestigious universities in the region, eminent judges from all court instances, experts involved in drafting and monitoring of legal acts, other experts engaged in state institutions and bodies, representative trade union organizations, arbitrators and conciliators of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Resolution of Labor Disputes, lawyers and others).

02. October 2023.

Within the project that is a part of the "Initiative for Global Solidarity" of the German development cooperation, implemented by the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ), and organized by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Serbia, on October 2, 2022 a training on harmonization of business operations with due diligence regulations took place in Belgrade.

Before the audience composed of a large number of representatives of employers and trade unions Dr. Ivica Lazović, the Agency Director, presented the concept of peaceful settlement of labor disputes as an external mechanism that is resorted to when all internal mechanisms for resolving disputes within companies have been exhausted. He presented the competences of the Agency and highlighted the efficiency and effectiveness of resolving labor disputes out of court.

In addition to the Agency Director, the attendees were addressed by Brankica Janković, Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, Tanja Lindell from the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Peer Krumrey from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Serbia and many others.

26. September 2023.

The 19th regular the meeting of the Standing Body (SB) for collective negotiations and peaceful settlement of labor disputes of the Social and Economic Council (SEC) of the Republic Serbia was held on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, where the information on the operations of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes for the year 2022 was discussed. The Standing Body have presented their professional position proposing the Social and Economic Council to consider and accept the information and positively rate the operational results of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes.

The meeting was chaired by Jelena Jevtovic from the Serbian Employers Union, and attended by Dušan Petrović, secretary of the Social and Economic Council of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Markovic from of the Alliance of Independent Unions, Dragica Mišljenović from UGS " Nezavisnost " and Dragana Kralj from the Ministriy of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs. The Agency Director, Ivica Lazović, presented the information on the work of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes relating to the data on the record, as well as other issues relevant for procedures for peaceful settlement of labor disputes for the year 2023.

You can find the full report on the link.

25. September 2023.

In the course of September and upon invitation of its social partners the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes presented its own work, experience and competencies on multiple events.

On the conference entitled: " Efficient Appellate Mechanisms – Empowerment – Workers’ Voice in Serbia" organized by the Initiative for Global Solidarity and German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ - Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit) held on September 8 in Belgrade competencies of the Agency were presented to representatives of about twenty companies, trade unions and associations. Among many participants there were also Tomislav Žigmanov, Minister for Human and Minority Rights, Pierre Kramray, adviser for work and social issues at the Embassy of Federal Republic Germans to Serbia, Aleksandra Petrović, associate for human rights of the UN Team and Johanna Vollmeier from Initiatives for Global Solidarity.

Upon invitation of the Alliance of Trade Unions of Serbia, within the framework of workers sports games in Ohrid held from 5-7 September where over five hundred participants from whole Serbia were present, the Agency had an opportunity to present its own competencies. On the occasion the Agency received a Certificate of Appreciation for successful cooperation.

At the seminar entitled: "Capacity Building for Workers Organizations: Strengthening Negotiation Skills: "Win-Win" Negotiations" organized by the European Center for Worker Affairs (EZA) and RS BOFOS , on September 23 in Vrnjačka Banja, representatives of 11 countries and many more financial and banking institutions from of all over Serbia attended the presentation on the Agency competencies entitled: "What if, despite all efforts, conflicts in the process negotiations ensue? Advantages of peaceful settlement of labor disputes and mediation in labor disputes."

18. August 2023.

In the Institution for Adults and Elderly " Gvozden Jovančićević " in Novi Popovac a procedure for peaceful settlement of a collective labor dispute was run regarding exercising the rights on trade union organization and actions. The procedure was launched on the initiative the Union of Nurses and Medical Technicians of Serbia, basic organizations of the union of nurses and medical technicians of Serbia at the Institutions for Adults and Elderly "Gvozden Jovančićević " in Veliki Popovac, with consent of the other party to the dispute, Institution for Adults and Elderly "Gvozden Jovančićević " in Veliki Popovac.

Dragana Miletić was appointed the attending conciliator. At the first hearing she set up a Conciliation Board composed of representatives of parties to dispute and herself as the attending conciliator. Three hearings were held in the process after which a common recommendation was agreed upon for the way in which the disputed issues could be resolved.

Parties to the dispute supported by the mediation of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes signed a common recommendation on how the disputed issues could be resolved. The recommendation was unanimously adopted by the Conciliation Board and this was the background for Agreement signing.

The employer and trade union at the Institution for Adults and Elderly "Gvozden Jovančićević" in Novi Popovac fully comply with the recommendation of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, and they exemplified that willingness to resort to social dialogue can help to find compromise solutions.

19. July 2023.

On July 19, 2023, the Republic Agency for the Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes signed a joint Recommendation on the way to resolve a collective labor dispute regarding the application of the collective agreement in the Urban Planning Institute of Belgrade PMU (Project Management Unit).

The procedure was initiated by the employer, the Urban Planning Institute of Belgrade, PMU, where the other party in the dispute, the Basic Organization of the Employees' Union of the Urban Planning Institute of Belgrade PMU, accepted that the dispute should be resolved peacefully before the Agency.

Milan Krstić was the appointed conciliator. At the first hearing, and in accordance with the Law, he set up the Conciliation Board, which included representatives of the parties to the dispute and the acting conciliator.

During the first hearing, the parties to the dispute showed a professional, constructive and proactive approach and in good faith agreed on the way to resolve all disputed issues, after which the members of the Conciliation Board determined the final text of the Recommendation, which was unanimously adopted, in accordance with the Law.

In this way, in the Urban Planning Institute of Belgrade, PMU, the representatives of the employer and the trade union gave another example of how social dialogue can be successfully conducted, by deciding on the procedure for the peaceful settlement of a collective labor dispute in accordance with the recommendation of the Government of the Republic of Serbia that labor disputes be resolved through institutional mechanisms.

06. July 2023.

Upon invitation of the Public Institution (PI) Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes of the Republic of Srpska, a regional working consultative meeting was held in Banja Luka on July 6, 2023, at which, in addition to the delegation of our Agency, representatives of the Montenegrin Agency for the Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes, representatives of the Ministry of Labor, War Veterans and Disabled Persons' Protection of the Republic of Srpska, as well as representatives of the International Labor Organization for Bosnia and Herzegovina were present.

The meeting resulted in sharing of current practices and experiences, based on the Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation in the Area of Harmonization of Methods for the Peaceful Resolution of Labor Disputes ("Official Gazette of the RS" - International Agreements, No. 13/19), which was signed between the aforementioned agencies for labor disputes settlement.

A visit to the PI Agency for the Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes and getting to know more about the current practice of dispute resolution in the Republic of Srpska, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in and Montenegro, as well as the presentation of current practice in the field of resolution of labor disputes in the Republic of Serbia, was important for all participants, having that similar practical problems and issues are encountered in practice by them all. Several conclusions were agreed upon at the meeting with the aim of general improvement of alternative dispute resolution and improvement of the quality of the entire operations of these institutions.

04. July 2023.

Delegation of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes and International Labor Organization went for a study visit to the USA Federal Conciliation and Mediation Service (FMCS) from June 26 - 30, 2023. This visit was organized for the purpose good practice sharing, as well as identification of possible areas for Agency improvement and its capacity development. FMCS was selected as a partner because it directly contributed to the Agency establishment 19 years ago, introducing the mechanism of alternative solutions to working disputes in the Republic Serbia in accordance with their own huge practice and experience. This visit was realized owing to the support of the International Labor Organization (ILO) within a project that represents a part of the "Initiative for Global Solidarity" (IGS) of the German Development Cooperation, which is implemented by GIZ, the German Agency for International Cooperation. The Federal Conciliation and Mediation Service was established in 1947 on the basis of the so-called Taft-Hartley Act, as an independent agency with the mission to preserve and promote peace and cooperation between trade unions and employers. Based in Washington and present in six more regions including over 60 field offices, this federal service provides services of mediation and resolution of disputes in industry and government agencies. Our delegation had an opportunity to meet the FMCS Director, Mr Javier Ramirez, and get to know more details of organizational, structural and strategic systems of agencies for alternative dispute resolution. The goal of the meeting was to study and compare systems of dispute resolutions in the USA and Serbia, identify benefits and good practices, as well as internal process development. After an introductory presentation on extensive legislation on alternative dispute resolutions in the USA, Director Ramirez openly shared the FMCS mission and vision, challenges they are faced with and ways in which they try to overcome them. In addition to the meeting, RAMRRS delegation had an opportunity to talk with Mrs Bet Schindler, FMCS Commissioner, deputy director for field operations, and Mr Walter Darom, FMCS Commissioner and field operations manager, about specific procedures in FMCS (entire flow), routing and assignment of cases, mediator and arbitrator work evaluation, performance management and professional development of mediators and arbitrators , technology they use, both during mediation (internally and for reporting ), team organization (meetings with team members) and participations in the community. Further meetings with FMCS mediators and arbitrators were also very productive, and our delegation learned about multiple tools and techniques they use, which are very advanced and modern. The FMCS mediators and arbitrators shared recent examples of their own cases, highlighting the importance of building relationship with trade unions and communities, as well as everyday communication with them. It was our pleasure to listen to experiences of David Thaler, head of FMCS International Affairs, Pete Swenson, Manager of Dispute Prevention Office, Arthur Pearlstein, Director of FMCS Arbitration Service Office (who ran the first training for arbitrators in Serbia 20 years ago) and many others. Special visit to the Regional FMCS office in New York was also organized, where we listened to experiences of Pete Donatello, Operations Manager for Region 1 (Northeast USA), as well as mediators Nelson Rivera and Carlos Dads. In addition to the FMCS, the delegation visited National Mediation Board, National Board for Labor Relations, and the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and learned about competencies and practice of these bodies. H.E. Mr Marko Đurić, ambassador of the Republic Serbia to the United States of America honored our delegation by organizing a reception and expressing his interest and support for this form of exchange of experiences and cooperation between our two countries. The delegation included the Agency Director, Ivica Lazović, who presented our practice and organization to the hosts, Dragana Andonovska, manager of legal affairs group, Miloš Prokić , Agency adviser, Jovan Protić, ILO national coordinator for Serbia and Jovana Spaić-Erdeljan, manager of the ILO project. This visit is the first activity towards promotion of cooperation between two agencies who share many similarities and will provide grounds for RAMRRS capacity building.

23. June 2023.

The Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes mediated in resolution of a labor dispute at the “Aptiv Mobility Services doo Novi Sad" where rights to get organized and operate as a trade union were challenged by the employer. This case was initiated upon proposal for peaceful settlement of labor disputes by the Industrial Trade Union of Serbia, and the employer "Aptiv Mobility Services doo Novi Sad" agreed to resolve it peacefully before the Agency. Olga Vučković Kićanović was appointed the acting conciliator. At the first hearing, she set up a Conciliation Board composed of representatives of the parties to the dispute and the acting conciliator. After two hearings, common recommendation was adopted and an agreement reached on how to resolve the disputed issues. All parties to the proceedings unanimously adopted the proposed Agreement. In this way, representatives of the employer and trade union in "Aptiv Mobility Services doo Novi Sad", gave yet another example on how to conduct social dialogue successfully, having opted for the procedure of peaceful settlement of a collective labor dispute in accordance with the Recommendation of the Governments of the Republic of Serbia to resolve labor disputes by institutional mechanisms, which was published in the "Official Gazette RS " No. 67/15.

17. June 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.

13. June 2023.

A year of after the onset of implementation of the quality management system for public administration - CAF (Common Assessment Framework), the Agency applied for a prestigious "Efficient CAF User" label to the Regional Quality Management Center (RQMC) of the Regional Schools for Public Administration (ReSPA). The right to this label is acquired after successful implementation of the External Feedback Procedure (PEF) that provides for standardized use of the label across Europe. On June 13, 2023, within the External Feedback Procedure (PEF) for the "Efficient CAF User" label, the Agency was visited by the External CAF Feedback Expert (EFAC ) Dalibor Ćopić from the Public Administration Agency of the Republic of Srpska (B&H), Kenan Avdagic from the Public Administration Reform Coordinator’s Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina (PARCO) and Philip Parzer from KDZ Austria as an observer. During the Agency visit, having conducted multiple talks with the Agency staff, key beneficiaries of the Agency services, social partners and the public administration, the external CAF feedback experts (EFAC) positively rated implementation of CAF in our practice. This is an important step towards earning the "Efficient CAF User" label, where the final decision will be made by the Regional Quality Management Center (RQMC) of the Regional Schools for Public Administration (ReSPA).

09. June 2023.

On Thursday, June 1, 2023 the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes and the Faculty of Law, University in Kragujevac signed a cooperation agreement. The agreement was signed by the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof Dragan Vujsić, LLD, and the Agency Director, Ivica Lazović Ph.D. The goal of this agreement is to establish cooperation by the signatories to contribute to the development, promotion and strengthening of educational, scientific and research capacities of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes and the Faculty of Law. The agreement also provides the basis for enabling additional professional advancement of conciliators and arbitrators, but also for promotion of the concept of peaceful settlement of labor disputes among students as the future legal professionals and among the faculty staff, as well. On the same day the Agency Director, Ivica Lazović Ph.D., delivered a lecture to the participants of the legal clinic for administrative law. He is presented the Agency competencies and work results to the participants, as well as advantages of peaceful resolution of labor dispute versus court proceedings. At the same time, he highlighted how important it was for future practicing lawyers to understand the concept of peaceful settlement of labor disputes at the early stage of their education to be able to apply it properly in practice.

18. May 2023.

In order to raise and strengthen the capacities of conciliators, arbitrators and the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes, a three-day training session was held at the Omorika Hotel on Tara, in the period from 14 to 17 May 2023. This is the largest training organized so far and the first outside Belgrade, and it was held owing to the support of the International Labor Organization (ILO) within the project that is part of the "Initiative for Global Solidarity" of the German Development Cooperation, which is implemented by the German Organization for International Cooperation, GIZ.

Over 70 participants, conciliators, arbitrators, employees of the Agency, as well as directors and guests from the Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes from Montenegro and the Agency for Peaceful Resolution of Labor Disputes from the Republic of Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina) attended the training with the largest number of participants since the establishment of the Agency.

On the first day, the training entitled "Communication in third-party conflict resolution" was held, conducted by the "H.art" center, on the second day, the training on "International perspective of industrial disputes and peaceful resolution of labor disputes for conciliators and arbitrators - the example of Germany" was held, run by Michael Drier, and on the third day, the training entitled "Raising visibility through direct communication and media" was held, led by Andre Brbaklić, an expert in public relations. Participants had the opportunity to improve their communication skills through interactive training and coaching that included simulations of a real environment and active work in groups so that they can identify opportunities for increasing the visibility of the concept of peaceful resolution of labor disputes in the private sector. Through these trainings, conciliators and arbitrators got the tools that enable them to resolve conflicts arising from labor disputes in a faster and more efficient manner. At the same time, they improved their skills in application of the methods that can help them to be recognized as those who can help employees and employers, in the communities they come from, to resolve disputes out of court.

On the second day of the training, Michael Drier, a lawyer from Hamburg, specialized in collective mediation and negotiation in complex disputes between social partners, introduced all those present to the history and methods of collective bargaining, the conflict resolution system and the complaint resolution system in Germany. A special segment was dedicated to raising the capacity of the Agency for the implementation of the new Law on Due Diligence in Supply Chains and the importance of this regulation for the private sector in Serbia.

This training resulted in more useful conclusions that will improve the capacity of the Agency as well as its conciliators and arbiters for the approach and settlement of labor disputes in the private sector.

04. May 2023.

From 3 to 4 May 2023 the Republic Agency for the Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes hosted a visit by a tripartite delegation from the Republic of Albania, consisting of two representatives of representative trade unions (Confederation of Trade Unions and United Independent Trade Unions), two representatives of employers (Business Albania), two representatives of the Ministry of Finance and Economy in charge of social dialogue and labor relations, and Dorina Nika, a representative of the International Labor Organization in Albania.

The tripartite study visit aimed to provide the guests with a first-hand insight into the experiences of a standing, dedicated and specialized dispute resolution institution at one place, which settles individual and collective disputes. Our Agency was chosen as the target institution for the study visit due to its mandate dealing with individual and collective disputes and combined expertise of almost 20 years.

The director introduced the guests to the practice of the Agency, and Dragana Andonovska, head of the Legal Affairs Group, and Biljana Stojić, head of the Financial Affairs Group, spoke about the financing of the Agency, as well as of its conciliators and arbitrators. Miloš Prokić, advisor, spoke about digitization in the Agency operations, electronic database, promotional activities and quality management.

The guests also learned about the work of conciliators and arbitrators in a direct discussion with Zorica Radović and prof. Dr. Bojan Urdarević, but also about experiences of users in a discussion with Saša Torlaković, the president of the Union of Construction Workers and Construction Materials Industry of Serbia.

The visit was a part of the project entitled "Access to justice in labor disputes through mediation and conciliation" implemented by the ILO with the financial support of the Government of Sweden, which provides support to the Albanian tripartite constituents in revising the existing system of peaceful settlement of labor disputes and formulation of measures to increase its efficiency and outreach.

After this visit, a working group will be set up to prepare a proposal for the establishment of a specialized agency for labor disputes in Albania. It will be the third agency created following the model of our Agency, in addition to the Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes of Montenegro and the PI (Public Institution) Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes from the Republic of Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina). We are very proud of the fact that our model of resolving labor disputes is of interest in the region and that we can share our experience and good practice.

24. April 2023.

On April 24, 2023 upon the initiative of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes, a meeting was held with representatives of organizations dealing in mediation in the Republic of Serbia. The goal of this meeting was to get to know each other better and share experiences, establish a dialogue on good practices and barriers encountered by both the Agency and the aforementioned organizations.

In addition to representatives of the Agency, the meeting was attended by representatives of UG Mediators of Kruševac, the Institute for Mediation, Negotiation and Public Policy, as well as the Chamber of Mediators of Serbia.

Many topics were raised at the meeting, which primarily relate to the recognition of the importance of alternative resolution of labor disputes and the advantages that this concept brings about. Further directions of cooperation and intensification of relations through mutual participation in trainings and forums were agreed upon. The conclusion is that there is plenty of room for joint action in the coming period and that this is only the first in a series of workshops of this type.

21. April 2023.

The employees and the management of JPKP "Lazarevac" addressed the Republic Agency for Peaceful Resolution of Labor Disputes with a joint proposal for the peaceful resolution of labor disputes, regarding the payment of the minimum wage. With this joint decision, the employees and the management acted in accordance with the recommendation of the Government of the Republic of Serbia that beneficiaries of public funds resolve labor disputes peacefully in order to reduce the proceedings costs.

So far, 460 individual proceedings have been initiated before the Agency, with a joint Proposal for the initiation of proceedings, out of which 250 have already been concluded. Representatives of employees and employers have also reported that this number is not final and that new Proposals are expected in the oncoming period.

This is yet another example of good practice to resolve individual labor disputes amicably rather than through court proceedings. In this way, unnecessary court and other costs will be avoided for both the employees and the employer, and the employees will reach arbitration decisions within 30 days, which have the same legal force as the final court verdicts.

07. April 2023.

The Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes held the first interactive training for conciliators and arbitrators in 2023. The training took place on April 7, 2023 in the "Serbia" Palace before the audience of a large number of conciliators and arbitrators.

Representatives of the International Labor Organization from Geneva, Kristina Miheš, who is the Head of the Department for Labor Law and Reforms, and Valeri Van Goethem, a specialist in labor law, as well as Dr. Jovan Protic, representative of the International Labor Organization in Serbia, were the special guests at the opening of the training. They introduced the participants to the activities of the ILO in the field of peaceful resolution of labor disputes and the new methodology of the ILO for providing technical assistance in the prevention and settlement of labor disputes.

All attending conciliators and arbitrators were introduced to the current judicial practice in the field of labor disputes by the judge of the Constitutional Court of Serbia, Lidija Đukić, and the judge of the Appellate Court in Novi Sad, Vesna Dušić.

The second part of the training in the afternoon, led by Olga Vučković Kićanović, was dedicated to acquiring specialized knowledge for resolving disputes related to abuse at work.

05. April 2023.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has begun the development of a methodology for providing technical assistance in the prevention and resolution of labor disputes in order to improve access to labor justice for its members. On April 5 and 6, 2023, a workshop for the application of the new self-assessment methodology was held in Belgrade.

The workshop was ran by Kristina Miheš, Head of the Department for Labor Law and Reforms, and Valerie Van Goethem, Labor Law Specialist of the International Labor Organization. The workshop was attended by representatives of the Union of Employers of Serbia, representative trade unions - the Union of Independent Trade Unions and UGS "Nezavisnost" (United Branch Trade Unions), conciliators and arbitrators, external experts and most of the Agency employees.

One of the main goals of the workshop was to use the ILO-developed diagnostic tool for self-assessment of non-judicial institutions for the prevention and resolution of disputes. This diagnostic tool is expected to help the state and social partners in assessing and understanding the current situation, identify potential opportunities and challenges, as well as devise measures to solve them with joint efforts. Also, this diagnostic tool will help the ILO to more effectively adjust and direct its technical assistance in accordance with the needs identified by the national tripartite constituents.

31. March 2023.

The three-day annual regional conference of the Network of Agencies for the Peaceful Resolution of Labor Disputes was held in Budva, Montenegro, from March 28 to 30, 2023. The conference was attended by directors of agencies and other bodies for the peaceful settlement of labor disputes and conciliators and arbitrators from Montenegro, Romania, Bulgaria, the Republic of North Macedonia, Albania, Republic of Srpska (BiH), Greece, Spain, Hungary and the Republic of Serbia.

More than 30 participants from the countries of the Western Balkans gathered at the regional conference with a focus on the topic of improving institutions for the peaceful resolution of labor disputes through a comparison of achieved performances and systems applied in conducting of the procedures.

Dr. Ivica Lazović, the Director of the Republic Agency for the Peaceful Resolution of Labor Disputes of the Republic of Serbia, was one of the opening panelists who spoke about the ASLD application that was developed through the ESAP 2 project in order to collect key information on indicators important for the observation and understanding of the concept of peaceful resolution of labor disputes in the area of Western Balkans. He pointed out that, from the Agency's point of view, the value of this application was reflected in the ability to use it to see our position in relation to other institutions from in the neighborhood that deal with the peaceful resolution of labor disputes, to compare the values of the indicators and to take possible corrective measures through further cooperation and consultative actions in the work processes.

On the second day of the conference, the participants were introduced to the practice of peaceful settlement of labor disputes in Greece by Prof. Dr. Kostas Papadimitriou from the Faculty of Law in Athens and OMED President from the Hellenic Organization for Mediation and Arbitration. Also, Diego Ribera from Spain talked about the experience of the Spanish Foundation for Inter-Confederation Mediation and Arbitration.

The entire event was organized as part of the Employment and Social Affairs Platform 2 ESAP 2 project, which is a regional project funded by the European Union and implemented by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Regional Cooperation Council. Through the ESAP 2 project, the International Labor Organization team, among other things, provides support to the countries of the Western Balkans in the improvement and development of the concept for the peaceful resolution of labor disputes.