UFTUM and CEISI presented the first trade union consumer basket

The Union of Free Trade Unions of Montenegro (UFTUM) and the Center for Education, Information and Trade Union Research (CEISI), at today’s press conference, presented the trade union consumer basket (TUCB) that refers to the fourth quarter of 2023.

The methodology for creating the TUCB is based on the comparative experiences and analyses of trade unions from the environment, whose needs and lifestyle are quite similar to the purchasing habits of consumers in Montenegro. Also, when developing the methodology, we took care to meet certain international standards, as well as comparative data from numerous international websites that deal with statistics and analysis of consumer needs in certain countries, that is, parts of Europe and the world. Consultations with the professional public and work in the field in order to collect accurate data on different types of household expenses were a necessary segment and a cornerstone during the preparation of the methodology and the creation of the first TUCB.

UFTUM and CEISI owe special thanks to the International Trade Union Confederation and the organization of the Swedish trade union movement Union to Union for their exceptional support for the creation of the first trade union consumer basket, which represents a novelty in our overall work, as well as to all the individuals who, as experts in various fields relevant to this topic, gave huge contribution and help to our Expert Service as external experts. It is no less important to thank all our members and citizens who responded to our survey on household consumption and made it possible for us to obtain a representative sample of respondents and therefore relevant data on actual household consumption in Montenegro. Also, our gratitude goes to our colleagues from the trade unions of the region, since the methodology for creating the TUCB is based on the comparative experiences and analyzes of trade unions from the environment whose needs and lifestyle are comparable or similar to the buying habits of consumers in Montenegro. Gratitude also goes to all media outlets that continuously followed our activities on this front.

TUCB includes the living expenses of a four-member household – two adults and two children of school age, i.e. one ten-year-old child who attends primary school and one fifteen-year-old child who attends secondary school. It consists of 10 categories of costs, namely:

  • Costs of food products
  • Costs of imputed rent
  • Current household maintenance costs
  • Housing and utilities costs
  • Costs of shoes and clothes
  • Costs of purchasing products for personal hygiene and health care
  • Transportation costs
  • Costs of education and culture
  • Sports and recreation expenses
  • The costs of a seven-day vacation

After two months of research, we have come to the conclusion that the trade union consumer basket for the fourth quarter of 2023 amounts to 1,850.00 euros.

Apart from this key finding, we can also conclude the following:

  • The current consumption of the majority of citizens in Montenegro does not correspond to their monthly income. If we start from the assumption that, in the observed family of four, the parents receive two average salaries, we come to the conclusion that this amount is not enough to provide that family with decent living conditions, that is, to cover the costs of TUCB. Currently, and according to the conducted survey, only 22.3% of respondents earn over 1,500.00 euros at the household level, which is again not enough to cover the TUCB amount;
  • In order to ensure the basic existence of the family, citizens are often forced to perform some additional work in addition to their regular work. Therefore, the problem of establishing a balance between private and business life arises, which can lead to burnout syndrome at work, various psycho-physical problems, and a negative impact on the healthy and proper development of the family as the basic cell of society;
  • The satisfaction of the largest and most necessary group of expenses on a monthly level, i.e. the cost of purchasing food products, often comes at the expense of the satisfaction of other groups of expenses such as education and culture, sports and recreation, vacations, for which citizens allocate a minimum amount of funds or do not allocate it at all. Bearing in mind that this is the case with almost 80% of our respondents, it is a devastating fact that at the end of 2023, we still cannot talk about decent living and working conditions in Montenegro.

TUCB will be published quarterly on the CEISI website www.ceisi.me