Representatives of the trade unions of the Serbia Zijin Copper company, in the copper and precious metals mine in Bor, signed their first collective agreement with the company’s management on 8 February.

After several protests and long negotiations, trade union representatives won a 15% increase in hourly wages, from 177 dinars to 192 dinars, the equivalent of 1.6 euros. Working hours were increased and a payment of 4,000 dinars (65 euros) is now included in the basic salary.

The collective agreement was signed in the presence of the Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Policy, Nikola Selakovic.

"The trade unions are satisfied with the agreement reached at the end of the negotiations, after several protests due to the arbitrary adoption of the work regulations that preceded the beginning of the negotiations," said Časlav Garić, president of the mining and energy branch trade union Nezavisnost.

The company Ziđin koper Srbija operates as part of the Zijin Mining Group and was founded in December 2018, when it signed an agreement with the Serbian government to purchase 63% of the capital in the RTB Bor copper mine.

Trade unions in Serbia came together to negotiate this collective agreement. They joined forces and mobilised a large majority of workers. The agreement is the proof of success of their unity and collective fight for better working conditions.

IndustriAll Europe and IndustriALL Global Union jointly sent a letter of support to the Autonomous Metalworkers’ Trade Union of Serbia (SSMS) and GS RIE Nezavisnost Industrial Trade Union of Serbia (ISS) in their negotiations, which were marked by protests.

“We congratulate our affiliates in Serbia on their efforts and for securing a new collective agreement”, said industriAll Europe General Secretary, Luc Triangle.

“This is the first collective agreement signed with the Chinese owner of Zijin. Before this agreement, managerial prerogative ruled the company. This is a success for our Serbian affiliates, who have joined forces and successfully mobilised workers.

“We stand by them in their fight for better working conditions, and we will continue to support them. This new agreement is a win for the workers and a win for trade unions because it shows that we can succeed when we are united.”