Report on Initial Meeting Held in Beograd on October 14

On 14.10. 2016 starting from 3 p.m., on International fair – 112 EXPO, Serbian Association for Occupational health and safety presented the project „Increasing capacities and strengthening the role of regional CSO for improving labour conditions and labour dialogue with public institutions funded by the European Union.

Participation besides the representatives of Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, took the Serbian Trade Union, scientific and professional public, legal entities with a license in the field of safety and health at work, occupational medicine experts, CSO for safety and health at work, media organizations, health and safety officers, and other stakeholders. Total number of participants 45.

In the opening session of the meeting the participants were addressed by Mr.Dragoslav Tomovic, president of the Serbian Association for occupational safety and health, who presented the  curent  work and  future activities of the Association. Then,  the participants addressed Mr. Milan Petkovski, manager of the project, president of the Macedonian Association for occupational safety and health, who presented the network and its primary role which is cooperation in the region regarding safety and health at work, strengthening the prevention culture and raising awareness in the field of safety and health at work. Key focus of the network is a long-term and continuous improvement of the implementation legislative framework for a long-term strategic planning.

Project officer Andrijana Tomic, presented the project with special emphasis on the importance of regional networking, exchange of good practice, improving labour conditions and cooperation with public institutions which are also goals of this project. Namely as a result of this project it is expected to strengthen cooperation between regional CSO and public institutions and ensure proper implementation of standards for safety and health at work (hereinafter OSH) and labour conditions in accordance with the relevant EU requirements.

Primarily a regional study will be extended all the social partners and will represent an excellent information tool that can improve situation in OSH field and labour conditions in the Balkan region.

Especially important is the role of media organizations in order to promote and strengthen the awareness in this field, presenting not just a case of bad practice, accidents at work, but also the spread of good safety practices. It is expected that this project will have impact which is associated with the rights of workers, eliminating unsafe practices and enhancing the role of civil society organizations (hereinafter CSOs) in decision- making process at national and regional level.

What is particularly emphasized is that the project was presented at a conference in Brussels from 23th to 24th June 2016. At the conference was presented 16 projects in the Western Balkans, which are related to the strengthening of regional networks and strengthening CSO capacity of which this is only referring to the sphere of health and safety at work, which indicates that the European Union has recognized the importance and significance of this area and give full support. Also this conference provided an opportunity to network all CSOs and strengthen communication with the representatives of European Commission.

Mr. Dragoslav Tomovic introduced the state of CSOs in Serbia, the role and importance of CSOs in the sphere of work and the current situation of health and safety at work in Serbia, emphasized the importance of continuous education, training in the field of safety and health at work.

The lack of confidence, low level of citizen involvement in CSO show that in Serbia civil society is weak and has low level of development of social capital. Therefore, we should not be surprised that in Serbia there are still big misunderstanding and suspicion in the needs and possibilities of cooperation between different organizations in the protection of workers’ rights.

Many opinions are, particularly that this is a topic primarily of Trade Unions, but also among non-governmental organizations there are many who are concerned with these issues (primarily due to the impossibility of obtaining funds for these projects).

Classic solidarity and support of the wider citizenry to workers who lose their jobs or their company blocked, it does not exist, stressed Mr. Dragoslav Tomovic. Also, Mr. Dragoslav Tomovic emphasized the role of labor inspection in improving labour conditions and pointed out a great effort of labor inspection in the past in terms of suppression undeclared work.

In the final part of the meeting participants were addressed by Ms. Vera Bozic Trefalt, director of Occupation Safety and Health Department in behalf of Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs who presented the CSO as active participants in the promotion of health and safety at work, coordination of CSO and its cooperation with government institutions and also guidelines for the inclusion of civil society in the decision-making process.

The participants were also addressed by the representative of the Serbian Association of Employers, Nebojsa Miletic, who emphasized the full support of the Association in the project and collaboration with the CSOs.

According to above mentioned it is evident that the objectives of the project coincide with the goals of increasing the capacity of CSOs and strengthening social dialogue with public officials and social partners through the upcoming reform changes for the period until 2019. network will contribute to the promotion of human work environment, improving working conditions and monitoring of OSH system. Networking, exchange of good practice and experience between the regional CSO will help to improve the legislation in the Balkan region.

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