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Problems surfaced early on in the course of the public debate on the Law on Culture, Vujadinovic says, because there was no cooperation between the various cultural institutions.
Cooperation between the ministries was insufficient, and, because the Law in Vujadinovic's opinion was passed by a single ministry, its solutions were outdated from the start.
It thus happened that from day one, the adopted legislation was inapplicable, partly because it contradicted other legislation already in force, or because it contradicted established practices of conducting cultural activities.
Age structure of staff in cultural institutions in 2009
20-29 years of age – 4.3 per cent
30-39 years of age – 31.3 per cent
40-49 years of age – 33.9 per cent
50-59 years of age – 21,9 per cent
60 years of age – 9.3 per cent
The highest number of employees are over 40, while twice as many employees are over 60 as under 30.Source: Institute for Study of Cultural Development
For example, instead of a obtaining a guaranteed sum of money from the state budget, most public institutions' programmes were now to be funded through projects submitted to the Culture Ministry or to provincial and local authorities.
The new law also envisaged that all men with less than 20 years of work experience and all women with less than 17.5 years of work experience should lose permanent employment status and go on fixed-term contracts for up to three years. This meant that a large number of employees would have to be laid off.
By introducing this provision, legislators aimed to secure competition in ideas,
Ministry: Laws are Harmonized, We Will Make Corrections
BIRN: How will the discrepancy between the Law on Culture and the Labour Act be resolved?
Ministry of Culture:No discrepancy between the Law on Culture and the Labour Act exists, because the Law on Culture is complementary, it is part of our country’s overall legislation. It is completely normal and to be expected that a systemic law of this kind passed for the first time should trigger different reactions. It is also completely normal, after a certain period of its implementation, to eliminate observed shortcomings in the procedure for adopting amendments to laws, which will also be the case with the Law on Culture when the shortcomings that it revealed in practice will be eliminated.
stimulate production and break the lethargy
of many public institutions. But it has proved legally impossible to implement as the Labour Act from 2005 with last changes in 2009, does not allow such treatment of full-time employees.
Dimitrije Vujadinovic believes many national cultural institutions still have too many employees, which is one reason why they are short of funds, which further affects the richness of cultural life in general and the status of free artists.
He says a solution to this problem would be special by-laws, bridging the divide between the Labour Act and the Law on Culture.
Because of this disparity between different laws, and the lack of separate laws for different fields of culture, most public institutions have just changed their statutes and defined new job classifications. But no lay-offs or significant internal reorganisations have occurred, according to BIRN's research conducted in 11 towns and cities across Serbia, including Belgrade and Novi Sad.
|Bozidar Djurovic, general manager of the National Theatre in Belgrade|
„None of the shifts made at managerial level have had much effect to a situation where we have to pay idlers who show no interest in earning their salaries,“ Bozidar Djurovic, general manager of the National Theatre in Belgrade, complains.
Most interviewed directors of public institutions agree that the Law on Culture has had no real impact.
Ilija Blanusa, director of the Cultural Centre in the northern town of Bela Crkva, says the new law has had „no influence whatsoever“ on the work of his institution. Sasa Milivojevic, director of the Indjija Cultural Centre, also says the new law on culture has had no effect. „We are expecting the implementation of special laws to improve the work of cultural institutions,“ Milivojevic says.
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