Serbian union holds 5th Congress, reaffirms union power

On June 2, the Trade Union of Construction and Building Materials Industry Workers of Serbia (SRGIGMS) held its 5th Congress in Smederevo which was attended by 50 delegates representing workers from the construction and the building material industries. Trade union leader Sasa Torlakovic was unanimously re-elected as union president.

The congress discussed, among other things, the importance of raising wages through collective bargaining negotiations for the construction and building materials sector. The delegates also raised the necessity of raising the government’s minimum wage in consultation with the social partners. It also adopted six resolutions on safety and health at work, migrant workers, women and youth in unions, social dialogue and undeclared work.

SRGIGMS also adopted a proposed program of work (2020-2025) amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Workers in Serbia’s construction and building materials industry sectors, like the workers in different parts of the world, are essential workers and frontliners ensuring that the necessary infrastructure, housing and other projects continue even during a health crisis. In our union, workers have the power and we used it to campaign for the protection of our members’ health and safety, income and social welfare. Our action plan, together with our new experiences and achievements, will guide us in the next five years. The power of the workers is in the union,” Torlakovic said.   

SRGISMS’s Congress was also attended by representatives from the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia (CATUS), the Branch Trade Union of Construction, Building Materials, Wood and Road Economy "Nezavisnost", the Labor Inspectorate of the Republic of Serbia and representatives from the Employers Association for Construction, Building Materials and Housing Industry and the Union of Employers of Serbia. Representatives from multinational companies like TITAN, LafargeHolcim, CRH, Carmeuse, Wienerberger, Energoprojekt and Nexe grupa also attended.  

The SRGIGMS is one of the lead unions in the national campaign for better health and safety standards at work and the implementation of ILO Convention No. 167 on health and safety in construction, which Serbia has ratified in 2009.