Platform of the Union of Free Trade Unions of Montenegro

The Executive Committee of the Union of Free Trade Unions of Montenegro adopted a platform containing expectations from the newly formed Government regarding developments in the field of economic policy and labor market, tax policy, public administration reform, social policy and trade union rights and freedoms.

The text of the platform is below:

Montenegro has undergone radical political, economic and social transformations in recent years. The labor market in transition has experienced significant shifts, during which tens of thousands of workers lost their jobs, while on the other hand there was a negligible percentage of job creation. The economic downturn has again caused poverty to rise. In terms of economic development and living standards, there are significant differences between regions (north, south, central region).

The structure of the economy has changed radically so that now about 70% of the workforce is employed in the services sector. Micro, small and medium enterprises make up about 99% of all enterprises and participate in the creation of gross domestic product with 60%.

Although there has been a need for years to abandon the previous model of economic growth and to adopt a new growth pattern, which relies more on domestic resources (such as knowledge, innovation, productivity), Montenegro has not undergone the necessary reform in that direction. The previous, global financial crisis, which also affected Montenegro, and now the current health crisis we are facing, have exposed the shortcomings of economic policy and the entire system. The crisis we are currently facing has additionally indicated the need to break with the current practice in the economic and social system, which is unsustainable in all aspects.

Montenegro needs a radical turn in the economic, social, tax, environmental and other aspects, and the main bearer of that turn, which must be based on sustainable growth and development, must be the newly constituted Government and each individual of the society. In this regard, this platform represents the expectations of the UFTUM when it comes to economic and social policy that the Government should pursue in the next term.

Economic Policy and Labor Market

  • The process of privatization of remaining social property and valorization of natural resources must be transparent, with systems such as Electric Power Industry, Mines, Railways, Port of Bar, Plantation, Airport, Utilities, etc., which are of special value and importance to the population, remaining in majority state ownership;
  • set a minimum wage of 60% of the average wage in Montenegro;
  • launch a comprehensive campaign and design measures for the effective legalization of the employment of a large number of people working “informally”;
  • increase the amount of the founding capital during the establishment of the Limited Liability Company or increase the responsibility of the founder with personal property in case of bankruptcy or liquidation;
  • reduce the import of foodstuffs, provide and guarantee “safe purchase” to domestic farmers and stockbreeders, and thus encourage the development of these industries, but also give a chance to domestic, healthy production;
  • open a special “green fund”, from which all policies related to the settlement of rural areas would be financed without need to reimburse the funds, until the achievement of strategic goals in agricultural production;
  • simplify the procedure for applying to public calls for the use of IPA funds for farmers;
  • abolish the fee for incentives for renewable energy sources, and reduce the VAT rate on electricity bills to 7%;
  • ensure rational spending of budget funds by increasing the level of responsibility of all beneficiaries of budget funds through transparent and adequate sanctioning of any irresponsible and illegal actions in the management of budget funds;
  • more efficiently detect and confiscate illegally acquired property;
  • improve the work of inspections with a special focus on the Labor Inspectorate and the Tax Inspectorate;
  • create an environment for job creation and creating new incentives for those who hire new workers;
  • Ratification of the ILO Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work.

Tax Policy

  • adjust labor costs by reducing taxes and contributions at the expense of the employer and the employee;
  • stop emerging new tax debts;
  • increase the profit tax on everyone or only on profit that exceeds a certain amount;
  • introduce a tax for legal entities and entrepreneurs on financial transactions that exceed a certain limit;
  • abolish tax and other benefits for privileged companies, especially since many of them leave room for manipulation to the detriment of the Budget;
  • tax the newly built business and residential space at the expense of the investor if it is not valorized within 6 months from the day of completion of construction;
  • introduce progressive taxation of salaries and other personal incomes that exceed the amount of the consumer basket for a family of four;
  • abolish the amount of the maximum annual base for payment of compulsory social insurance contributions (prescribed by Article 14, paragraph 2 of the Law on Compulsory Social Insurance Contributions), in order not to reimburse contributions to persons earning income above that base.

Public Administration Reform

  • enable direct participation of trade unions in public administration reform procedures;
  • abolish the privilege of public officials to receive salary compensations from the budget for one year i.e. two years if they have so much left until retirement;
  • introduce a system of control and responsibility at all levels of executive and judicial power in a way that will sanction all individuals who are found to have caused damage to the Budget of Montenegro, and thus to all Montenegrin citizens, by their unprofessional and irresponsible work;
  • depoliticization of public enterprise management;
  • judicial reform through the establishment of labor courts or specialized labor dispute divisions within basic courts;
  • ensure equal opportunities and opportunities for advancement for employees in public administration, and stop the practice of party employment.

Social Policy

  • reform of social policy in order to adequately respond to the needs of persons in a state of social vulnerability through a fair and purposeful distribution of funds;
  • reform of the housing policy through the construction of state-owned apartments so that a large number of employees and citizens of Montenegro, who are not able to do so under market conditions, can solve the housing issue through rental at affordable prices;
  • continue to support and encourage housing cooperatives, i.e. housing funds created for the needs of employees in certain sectors (such as education, health, universities, the Army of Montenegro, student and student dormitories);
  • that employers allocate a percentage of profits to the Fund for solving housing problems of employees of that employer;
  • to put the compensation for women with three or more children who have acquired 15 or 25 years of service in force again;
  • incentives for women and young married couples who remain in rural or underdeveloped areas;
  • revision of the right to child benefit.

Trade Union Rights and Freedoms

  • stop anti-union discrimination by prosecuting employers who commit the crime of preventing or obstructing trade union organization and activities and respecting the recommendations of the Committee on Freedom of Association of the International Labor Organization;
  • improve collective bargaining by introducing incentive measures for employers who have concluded collective agreements;
  • improve the work of the Social Council;
  • enable all representative organizations of employees and employers at the national level to have a representative in the governing bodies of the Pension and Disability Insurance Fund, the Health Insurance Fund, the Employment Bureau, the Statistical Office;
  • ensure the participation of employee representatives in the management and supervisory bodies of employers.