Serbian unions win historic deal

Men signing agreement

The first collective agreement between unions and management of the Chinese-owned Zijin Copper mine in Serbia has secured a wage increase and better working conditions.

It brings a 15% increase in hourly wages, from 177 dinars to 192 dinars, the equivalent of €1.6. With working hours increased, payment of 4,000 dinars (€65) was included in the basic salary. The Autonomous Metalworkers’ Trade Union of Serbia (SSMS) and GS RIE Nezavisnost Industrial Trade Union of Serbia (ISS) signed a collective agreement with management with the full support of all unions present in the workplace.

When buying the mine from the state, the Chinese company agreed to leave the existing collective agreement in place, but instead introduced a unilateral code of conduct. The unions fought hard to bring the company to the negotiating table and secure the deal, which demonstrates the success of unity and a collective fight for better working conditions.

"The trade unions are satisfied with the agreement reached at the end of the negotiations, after several protests due to the arbitrary adoption of the work regulations that preceded the beginning of the negotiations," said Časlav Garić, president of the mining and energy branch of Nezavisnost.

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Photo: Industrial Union of Serbia (ISS)