What is strike?
Strike shall mean an interruption of work organized by employees for the purpose of protecting their professional and economic interests regarding the labour. Employees shall decide freely on their participation in strike.
A strike may be organized within an enterprise or other legal entity or a part of that legal entity and within a physical entity that performs economic or other business activity or service (hereinafter: the employer) or within a branch and business activity, or as a general strike.
A strike may also be organized as a strike of warning. A strike of warning may last one hour at the most.
The decision to go on strike and strike of warning within the employer shall be made by majority of the employees or by the body of Trade Union defined by General act of the Trade Union.
The decision to go on strike within a branch and business activity, shall be made by a competent authority of the trade union in the republic.
The decision to go on general strike shall be made by the highest competent authority of the trade union in the republic.
The decision to go on strike shall determine: requests of the employees; time of strike commencement; location of strike if the strike is manifested by gathering of employees and strike committee, which represents the interests of employees and runs the strike in their name’’. (Articles 2-5 of the Law on Strike Action, Official Gazette of the FRY’’, No. 29/96 and ‘’Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia’’, No. 101/2005 – other law)
When is the strike lawful?
The strike committee shall be obliged to announce a strike by submitting a decision on going on strike to the employer, no later than five days prior to a day set for strike commencement, or 24 hours prior to commencement of the strike of warning, unless another deadline is determined by this Law.
The decision of the employees to start a strike action in a branch or business activity, or general strike shall be submitted to a competent body of the corresponding association of employers, the founder and the competent state authority.
If a strike is manifested by gathering of employees, the gathering location of participants in the strike cannot be outside the business – work premises, or outside the area of business premises of the employees who go on strike.
A strike committee and employees who participate in strike shall be obliged to organize and run a strike in a manner that shall not jeopardize safety of persons and property and health of people, and which shall prevent infliction of immediate material damage and that shall enable continuation of work upon the termination of strike.
A strike committee and employees who participate in strike shall not prevent the employer to use the assets and to dispose of the assets that are used for business activity performance.
A strike committee and employees who participate in a strike shall not prevent the employees, who do not participate in the strike, from working. (Article 5 and Article 7 of the Law on Strike Action).
What is the role of the Republic agency for peaceful settlement of labour disputes in strike settlement disputes?
The Agency shall, ex officio, be involved in the settlement of disputes caused by the strike within the employer who is obliged to enable minimum work process (Articles 9 and 10) (Articles 18 and 19 of the Law on Amicable Resolution of Labour Disputes (‘’Official Gazette of the RS’’, No. 125 from November 22th 2004, 104/09).
Otherwise, the Agency shall be involved with the consent of the parties in dispute (Article 5 – Voluntary approach).
Conciliation is the process of harmonization of requests of workers in strike and employer’s capacities, before the Committee comprised of Trade Union and Strike Committee representatives, employer and a conciliator who is the chairman of the Committee. Goal of the procedure is to achieve agreement of the Committee members who give a written recommendation on how to resolve a dispute to the parties in dispute. If Committee representatives disagree, conciliator shall make the Recommendation.
The Recommendation shall not be binding for parties in dispute.
Is the participation of the Republic agency for peaceful settlement of labour disputes binding upon the parties to terminate the strike during the conciliation?
A strike shall terminate by mutual agreement of the parties in dispute or by a decision made by the trade union, i.e. the majority of the employees on strike termination.
For each new strike, participants in the strike shall be obliged to submit a new Decision on strike (Article 8 of the Law on Strike Action).
According to the aforementioned, it is not obligatory to terminate the strike during conciliation, though it is in the spirit of amicable dispute settlement. The law does not stipulate ‘’strike freeze’’ during bargaining and the strike that was once terminated, cannot be continued, regardless of the fact that strike requests remained the same.