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Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Srpska, Anton Kasipovic, and Minister of Labor and Veterans, Milenko Savanovic, met in Banja Luka on Wednesday with representatives of the Trade Unions and business community of the Republic of Srpska and discussed preparation of the new general collective agreement.
Deputy Prime Minister Kasipovic stated that collective agreements expired to-date and that it was necessary to address the issue and maintain the interests of the workers until all provisions of general and specific collective agreements were adjusted and harmonized.
“I am grateful to our partners for the initiatives we accepted today but first of all, for their clear commitment to continue talks”, Deputy Prime Minister Kasipovic said and added that negotiating teams would be formed on Thursday, 28 April.
“We agreed to organize a session of Socio-Economic Council on Tuesday and present two initiatives. One is to extend duration of collective agreements for a sensible timeframe and to work in the meantime on preparing drafts of the new collective agreements. Another initiative is implementation of Article 134 of the Law on Labor according to which the Government would pass necessary decisions following the respective initiative of the Socio-Economic Council”, Deputy Prime Minister Kasipovic said.
Deputy Prime Minister expressed his belief that there was good will to reach an agreement so that no worker would be negatively affected. He also said that the Law foresaw transitional solutions irrespective of the set date when the collective agreements expire and that no worker would be affected in any way.
“The Government is ready, if there were no sufficient energy to reach an agreement, to assume full responsibility for passing certain decisions in order to make the system function”, Kasipovic said.
Minister of Labor and Veterans, Milenko Savanovic stated that he was more optimistic than before in view of the fact that the initiatives which have been presented and agreed upon as a way toward concluding a general collective agreement.
President of the Trade Unions Association of the Republic of Srpska, Ranka Misic pointed out that it was necessary to extend current general and specific collective agreements until new ones were agreed upon and announced that she would send a request for holding the session of the Socio-Economic Council to consider the proposed initiatives very soon.
President of the RS Trade Unions Confederation, Obrad Belenzada, repreated the position that the vacuum which had been created with expiration of collective agreements should not affect workers and that more serious solutions had to be found.
Vice President of the Employer Associations Union, Sasa Trivic highlighted that it was in nobody’s interest to raise unnecessary tensions and called upon employers to extend the existing collective agreements. Trivic expressed hope that new collective agreement would be agreed upon in a month or so and announced active participation of employers in continuation of talks which would be confirmed at their conference meeting on 27 April.