UFTUM addresses the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro

Union of Free Trade Unions of Montenegro (UFTUM) sent a letter today to the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, Mr. Aivo Orav, asking for a reception because of the worrying degree of anti-union discrimination of employers towards the UFTUM’s representatives. Namely, the UFTUM has already informed the EU Delegation about the unlawful termination of the labor contract of our colleague Sandra Obradovic, the president of the representative Trade Union of the Aluminum Plant Podgorica in bankruptcy. She was fired for her struggle for annual vacation of employees, which they have not been using fourth year in a row. In this regard, the ILO’s Committee for Freedom of Association, acting on the complaint of the International Confederation of Trade Unions, which we are a member of, has made a Recommendation No. 377 dated March 18, 2016, demanding from the Government of Montenegro to return the colleague Obradovic to work and enable her union activity in the factory. However, the Government of Montenegro has done nothing regarding this Recommendation for 19 months now.

In the meantime, new cases of drastic anti-union discrimination have taken place, such as the unlawful termination of the labor contract to our colleague Marinko Medojevic, the president of the Trade Association “Tara-Aerospace and Defense Products” AD Mojkovac, because of his struggle for a collective agreement. Medojevic proved to the court that he was unlawfully dismissed, but the employer has been refusing to enforce the judgment of the Basic Court in Bijelo Polje for more than 10 months now (P.br. 699/16). Then, recently,  our colleague Lieutenant Colonel Nenad Čobeljić, the president of the Trade Union of Defense and Army of Montenegro with his 51 years of age, has been forcibly retired, because of his efforts to protect 22 soldiers from termination of  their  military service.

It is particularly worrying that the competent institutions do not react even after our continuous objections, although the Constitution and the Labor Act guarantee the freedom of union organizing and action, and despite trade union representatives being protected from dismissal. In addition, the Criminal Code provides a fine or imprisonment of up to one year for preventing trade union action. Such endangering of trade union rights and freedom, and institutions’ failure to act, directly undermine the social dialogue in Montenegro.