The representatives of trade unions who participated came from companies that are of central importance to the recovery of the Serbian economy after the pandemic and were therefore selected as pilot companies.

The aim of the workshop was to share and exchange experiences with organising, which is the first phase of the project, and to identify reasons for successes and setbacks. The work of trade unions is hindered in many companies. Workers are afraid to join a union and social dialogue is almost non-existent. In addition, global capital, together with the turnover of various governments in the country, have restricted trade union rights to the point that it makes it almost impossible to open new factories.

This has contributed to the fragmentation of the trade union landscape, weakening it further. The unions involved are very aware of the problems. Therefore, they have not only decided to participate in industriAll Europe's capacity-building initiative, but have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding, whereby they agree to work together in the interest of strengthening trade union representation. The first successes are already visible in the conclusions of collective bargaining at Zijin copper.

At the workshop, the unions reaffirmed their intentions and discussed initial ideas for developing mechanisms for conflict resolution, especially in workplace cases. All 30 participants felt that this was a big step forward.

On this basis, work plans for local organising campaigns could be outlined, even in cases where different trade unions from the same affiliates were present. These still need to be agreed with the workplace before they can be implemented, but workplace trade union democracy is alive and well. 

General Secretary of industriAll Europe, Luc Triangle, commented:

“We support our affiliates in their plans to strengthen trade union representation and their efforts to combat the problems we are facing. We explicitly welcome the cooperation of our affiliates, because only together are we strong.”