Minister "won't resign" despite trade unions' demands

Minister of Economy Saša Radulović has said that he would not step down due to the pressure from trade unions.

Source: Tanjug

He also said he would "not give up on amendments to the Labor Law which should be tabled for debate in the parliament by the end of 2013."

Speaking about the recent pull-out of trade unions leaders from the talks on amendments to the Labor Law, Radulović said that dialogue is the only way to arrive at a solution.

"No one is imposing any solution, but we have to discuss concrete solutions," Radulović told reporters during a break in the round table discussion titled "Labor Market Reform - New Labor Legislation", accusing trade unions leaders of giving assessments regarding the proposed amendments that are not based on thorough analyses.

Radulović noted that changing the Labor Law is very important for Serbia and its economic recovery.

"We must put our labor legislation in order, and bring it in line with the rights that exist in the European Union. We have various provisions of the law that are very poor, which contributed to layoffs and failure to create jobs," he said.

It is the task and objective of the government to ensure a rise in employment, the minister said, adding that the Labor Law, together with other laws - on planning, construction, bankruptcy proceedings- is a key to Serbia's economic recovery.

“That should help us implement the tough economic reform in 2014, put our economic system on a sound footing, so that in 2015 we could feel some benefits of the new system,” Radulović said.

Asked whether trade unions' quitting will slow down the adoption of amendments to the Labor Law, Radulović said that complicates the process.

State Secretary at the Ministry of Labor Zoran Martinović said that the working group dealing with amendments to the law continued doing its job even after trade unions pulled out from the talks last week, and voiced expectation that the material will be ready for public debate in a few days' time.

Martinović called on trade unions to go back to the negotiating table, engage in a social dialogue, as it is no good that changes to the law be perceived as an imposed solution.

Main changes to the law refer to extending the maximum time-frame of a temporary employment contract to two years, instead of one year that has been the case so far, and providing redundancy pays just for the years of service spent with the last employer, he said.

President of the Association of Free and Independent Trade Unions (ASNS) Ranka Savić noted that the Labor Law is not good and needs to be changed, but that is being done in a wrong way, as the amendments would diminish the rights of workers.

The objective is to introduce flexible employment through the back door, and abolish indefinite employment or reduce it to the minimum, she said.

Trade unions interpreted the fact that the Ministry of Economy launched a motion for passing amendments to the law as a signal that the document is being adopted to serve the interests of employers, Savić said.

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