The initiative launched by the former Labour Minister, Aleksandar Vulin, which was once supported by almost all trade unions, for Serbia to have special labour dispute tribunals, will most probably be considered as a part of the constitutional amendments – the Ministry of Justice says.
Asked if there is a chance that our country would soon have such specialized courts, something similar to the labour courts in the former Yugoslavia, the Ministry responded with a brief statement:
“As part of the constitutional amendments, the laws governing the judiciary will also be harmonized, and on the back of that, the initiatives related to court jurisdiction will be considered.
The mentioned initiative was submitted a year ago, because the disputes that are defined in the law as urgent, usually last five or more years in our country.
Last year, 73,423 labour-related cases were heard in front of the basic courts, of which more than 1,500 were between 5 and 10 years old, and 234 were older than a decade. One of the reasons why is this so is the relatively small number of judges dealing with this matter, only 285. Most often, apart from dealing with labour-related disputes, they also adjudicate in all other types of litigation, which means they can only have three to four hearings of one case annually. Therefore, the principle of urgency is violated, as prescribed by the law.
Nada Novakovic, a research associate at the Institute of Social Sciences, thinks that the Agency for the Peaceful Dispute Resolution is financially, materially, personally, and politically in a subordinate position and has a basis to doubt its “independence”.
“It would be a much better and more efficient solution to have specialized courts for labour disputes, in addition to such bodies. They are certainly not separate departments in existing courts. In the developed world, these are very specialized courts, which, for instance, can assess the legality of a strike and quickly contribute to resolving disputes between dissatisfied workers and employers. The existing agency and labour inspection do not have such scope or competencies”, Novakovic adds.
Novakovic also states that the expansion of the network of inspections in our country is an insufficiently effective solution to the major shortcomings of the rights that are the subject of these disputes between employers and hired workforce. The formation of a special tribunal for labour disputes is less costly than a huge network of institutions and agencies, which cannot solve the root problem.
The sole aim of the initiative was to shorten labour disputes that last too long, although they were limited to only one year by law. Minister Vulin’s position was that the inspection cannot arbitrate and that workers cannot wait for a court ruling that takes two years to be made. In order to have such specialized courts, it is necessary to pass relevant regulation, train judges and establish a network of courts.
(Vecernje Novosti, 26.05.2018)
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