May 20, 2015

Round table "Amendments to the Labour Law with the Aim of Further Flexibilization of Labour Relations - Arguments PRO and CON".

Podgorica, 20 May 2015

Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Ms Zorica Kovacevic, opened the Roundtable on "Amendments to the labour Law with the Aim of Further Flexibilization of Labour Relations - Arguments PRO and CON". In her speech, Minister pointed out that the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare had been involving the social partners as members of working groups on preparation of Labour Law and all other laws in the field of labor legislation. The Action Plan for Chapter 19 Social Policy and Employment and Programme and Montenegro's accession to the European Union provided adoption of the new Labour Law for 2017, which would be harmonized with the EU regulations and standards of the International Labour Organisation, which was the reason for passing this law. She recalled that the Decent Work Programme for 2015-2017 envisaged reform of the Labour Law in accordance with international standards and EU directives as one of the measures. Under this measure, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare asked the ILO for technical assistance in drafting the new Labor Law. The Ministry prepared a draft version of the Labour Law, which would be the basis for further negotiation with the social partners.

Panelists at the Round table, in addition to the UFTUM Secretary General, were: Tijana Prelević - Acting Director of the Directorate of Labour in the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Suzana Radulovic - Secretary General of the Montenegrin Employers Federation, Japp Wienen - Deputy Secretary General of the International Trade Union Confederation and Andrej Zorko - Executive Secretary of the Association of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia. Besides the members of the Union of Free Trade Unions of Montenegro, the Round table was also attended by representatives of Montenegrin caucuses, Chamber of Commerce, Montenegro Business Alliance, Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes, Administration for Inspection Affairs and Tax Administration. Media representatives attended the Round table as well.

After the panelists' presentations, discussion was open in which most of participants took part. After an extensive discussion, it was clear that social partners and Government had different opinions about the need to amend the Labour Law or whether it was about further harmonization with the EU acquis or further flexibilization of labour legislation. However, all participants stated that negotiations on further amendments to the Labour Law presented a key challenge in the next period, and that it should be based on mutual respect of social partners and Government as well as respect of each other's arguments. It was also assessed as necessary to initiate process of amendments to other laws and by-laws that are part of labor market or influence it parallel with amendments to the Labour Law and with the aim of quality reform of labour market. In addition, the social partners and Government should take action and fully contribute to creation of a sustainable regulatory system because it would be the only way to provide legal security to all stakeholders of the labor market.