Press release on the occasion of the adopted amendments to the Labour Act
The Centre for Democracy Foundation and the Centre for Decent Work expressed their disappointment that the Amendments to the Labour Act were adopted under great urgency without public debate, which should be a part of the process when an umbrella law such as the Labour Act is amended, a law which has an effect on most of the general public. Our criticisms and suggested solutions can be found in the attached document.
The Centre for Democracy Foundation and the Centre for Decent Work expressed their disappointment that amendments made to the Labour Act were adopted under great urgency without public debate, which should be a part of the process when an umbrella law such as the Labour Act is amended, a law which has an impact on most members of the general public.
We criticise the fact that the version of the Labour Act with amendments which entered into parliamentary procedure was made available to the public as late as 9th July, 2014, while the transitional and concluding provisions were not made available until Monday, 14th July.
Upon analysing the available amendments, representatives of our organisations came to the standpoint that a significant number of the newly adopted provisions are directly detrimental to workers, while some of the solutions adopted have absolutely no valid reason to be implemented, in terms of a necessity for change (for example, reducing the time-frame for initiating a labour dispute, extending the time-frame for imposing disciplinary sanctions, reducing the time-frame for replacing workers who have been declared redundant, etc.). This is why we have presented solutions to representatives from the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veterans and Social Issues which would ensure greater respect for workers’ rights and eliminate the possibility of these rights being mistreated or misconstrued and interpreted in different ways. Unfortunately, the Ministry has not shown a willingness to consider our recommendations.
For example, the decision which gives the employer the right to conclude an unlimited number of temporary employment contracts with employees within a period of 24 months creates uncertainty for these individuals who, for the most part, will not know whether or not their temporary contract will be extended into the following month. Under these circumstances, if an employee complains that an employer has infringed upon the rights of the employee, this may potentially lead to his/her dismissal the following month.
In our opinion, the amendments which state that the time-frame for initiating a labour dispute has been reduced from 90 to 60 days, is unjustified, and the explanation provided was that all preclusive time-frames are short, and that this removes all uncertainty for the employers as to whether or not a labour dispute will be initiated. This reason is unacceptable and what’s more, it is unconvincing.
All of the other criticisms and solutions that we have posed and which are in relation to paid leave of absence, discrimination in the workplace, the reduction of rights when switching to a new place of employment and others can be viewed in the attached document.
For more detailed information, please contact Ms. Nataša Nikolić at 011/327-7780 or by email at email@example.com
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