FEATURE 01 May 17

Mayday in Ex-Yugoslavia Turns From Feasts to Protests

Labour Day in former Yugoslavia used to be marked by feasts and state sponsored parades, but the steady erosion of workers’ rights mean that workers these days have little to celebrate.

Filip Rudic
BIRN
Belgrade
One of previous Mayday protest marches. Photo: Confederation of Autonomous Unions of Serbia

Serbian unions will mark Labour Day, May 1, with a protest in front of the government building in Belgrade to demand higher wages, more rights and a more dignified existence for workers.

Mitar Kostic, from the Confederation of Autonomous Unions of Serbia, says that while the workers’ movement is under assault worldwide, in Serbia the state does not even respect its own labour laws.

“In Serbia, we are going out of our way to show how good, docile and cooperative we are. Very few companies that came to this country even allow unions,” Kostic told BIRN.

He added that the public companies are little better. Managed by members of political parties, the managements create their own puppet unions.

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