About usDevelopment in Trade Union Movement in Montenegro

Reform Block was formed out of need to democratize and to eliminate bureaucracy in Confederation of Trade Unions of Montenegro and in trade union movement generally.

During 2002-2006 mandates, majority of genuine trade unionists expressed their great dissatisfaction with the CTUM leadership. CTUM is blamed for not representing trade unionists’ interests especially in privatization process and in passing reform laws: Labor; Health Insurance; Social Security; Pension; Strike, etc. Thus, workingmen and women have become major victims of the transition process losing some significant, gained labor and social rights. The same was with the national General Bargaining Agreement, while it took CTUM five years! of negotiations to increase the minimal wage for 5€ only.

CTUM leadership was obliged to do XIII Congress once their four-year mandate expired as of December 2006; i.e. all the CTUM’s entities became illegitimate.

Instead, the illegitimate CTUM leadership postponed the Congress three times: in January ‘07, then for March ’07 and finally May ‘07. The intention behind was to prolong the mandates by manipulations (deleting the names of delegates who did not think likewise; undemocratic and nontransparent elections in certain branch trade unions; depriving the members of the right to vote and to be elected, etc.) and to install like-minded false delegates. All of this the illegitimate CTUM leadership has done in order to get themselves reelected even though most of them were holding the same leadership positions for almost 20 years, at the time.

Revolted, a certain number of branch trade unions and large trade unions with their 25.000 members (which makes majority out of total number of unionists), according to their rights initiated organizing Extraordinary XIII Congress of CTUM in April 2007 in order to elect new, legitimate entities of CTUM. According the CTUM Constitution, Council convenes Congress, but the initiative could not have been directed to Council as their mandate expired exactly because of the fact that they intentionally prolonged convening the Congress. Trade Unions of Education, University, Metal Industry, Telecom, Trade, Firefighters, Municipality trustees of Podgorica and Niksic, and majority membership of Trade Unions of Health, Railways, Finance, etc. initiated organizing the Extraordinary Congress. Before the Extraordinary Congress was held, its initiators in conversation with illegitimate CTUM leadership expressed their will to make a compromise. Both sides accepted the text of compromise, however, illegitimate CTUM Council rejected it without explanation regarding this issue. The XIII Extraordinary Congress took place on May 12, officially dismissing the illegitimate leadership and appointing the Coordination Board as a temporary CTUM management entity.

Coordination Board addressed Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Security to register Coordination Board as an entity authorized to represent CTUM instead of dismissed leadership. However, the Ministry rejected the request and on unjustified grounds supported the decisions made on the “Regular” Congress held on May 25 2007 in Cetinje.

Against mentioned attitude of the Ministry, the Coordination Board brought charges to the Administrative Court (July ‘07), but upon the charges the Court has not proceeded yet!

At the same time, Coordination Board addressed the authoritative institutions to investigate evidence on illegal managing of the trade unions’ property and means during the period 2002 - 2006. However, after our three letters no response received. There are written evidence that CTUM’s stocks in two companies assessed at 1.300.000€ were sold but this income has not been recorded at CTUM’s account. The situation with trade union property in Belgrade is disputable as well. After proclaiming independency of Montenegro this property was given to Confederation of Trade Unions of Montenegro even though it was already rented to CTUM president’s private company on 20 years. There are proofs on many more unscrupulous managing of the trade unions’ property and means of CTUM ex leadership that are forwarded to the authoritative institutions.

Out of all mentioned reasons, more than once, the Coordination Board requested Prime Minister and the respective Minister to organize a meeting in order to emphasize that trade unions’ membership would not allow the illegitimate CTUM leadership to represent the trade union in the social dialogue and other respective institutions where trade union is involved.

Not a single respective entity has ever responded to any of our written requests while they still on daily bases communicate with the illegitimate CTUM leadership.

Following its mission, in the meantime, Coordination Board of CTUM organized the Second part of XIII Extraordinary Congress in Herceg Novi (9-10 November 2007). On this occasion, new Constitution of CTUM that suggests new organizational structure was adopted. In order to avoid individual monopoly in leadership, to achieve democratization and decentralization, Secretary General and President of Main Board will represent CTUM. At the Congress Secretary General was elected. The main management body is Main Board while Secretariat is operational body. On December 25 2007, the Constitutional Meeting of Main Board was held when the president of Main Board was appointed as well as deputies of Secretary General.

However, since the institutions of the system were silent on our interventions and therefore it was impossible to gain the right on continuity, Reform Block of CTUM established new trade union central at the national level. New trade union central named Union of Free Trade Unions of Montenegro (UFTUM) was registered on November 5, 2008, in the registry of Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Security, Montenegro.

UFTUM Secretary General
Srdja Kekovic