Rapid Response Grants – Urgent Action Fund

Approved – July 2010.

Number of grants: 1

1.      NGO World and Danube
  • RSD: 150.000,00
  • Name of the project: It’s time for Socio-Economic Rights of Women – publication Guide for Strike
  • The situation with the growing number of strikes in Serbia is to be expected given the long-term indicators of non-transparent, often illegal conduct of privatization, the strong influence of criminal structures on state institutions and the party in power, including the judiciary. The economic crisis has further accelerated the expected resistance of workers. What was unexpected is awareness of the true, weak role of the largest union in the privatization process and completely unexpected high level of ignorance of workers about their own employment rights and lack of knowledge about legal provisions in conflict situations such as strikes or mobbing.
  • RWF was approached by a team of women, recognized activists who prepared a booklet Guide to Strike “for employees whose rights have been violated, who face discrimination, lawlessness and arrogance of economic and political oligarchy”. The booklet contains in depth accounts of three women whose labor rights were heavily violated, with applications by a women lawyer who comments the text and gives instructions for dealing with similar situations. The Guide corresponds with reports of the Council against Corruption and with messages for the need of persistent, well informed on legal aspect and solidary struggle for labor rights.
  • Voices of women who testify about the current, social and economic situation in Serbia have been selected because the women were much more willing than men to publicly share their experiences in the struggle for human and labor rights through protests, strikes and court cases. Almost at the same time, in different ways, in private and public companies, they stood up against the violation of human and professional rights, entirely aware that behind them as a base is their need for justice, knowledge and respect for human dignity. From the testimony of three workers is evident that workers in large are lacking the basic knowledge about human and labor rights, legislation and procedures in the process of realizing these rights, especially in circumstances of mass violations of these rights by employer as well as state institutions. These are true stories, present the real, social situation in Serbia, which should encourage workers to liberate themselves from the fear of losing their job by getting the information about the legal framework that regulates the human and labor rights as well as with concrete examples of procedures and documents in cases of organized strikes, labor rights violations by employers and discrimination in the workplace. Circulation of the publication is 1000 pieces and it is for free. The publication is published in electronic form and is available for free download so that the information is spread to as many employees in Serbia.
  • So far, Publication had the several promotions, caused a high interest of the public and organization established the contact with other NGOs dealing with the labor rights. The group already is planning follow up activities: educational workshops in 6 towns on issue of labor rights, negotiating and media relations; establishing of Counseling and SOS telephone for employees; freerepresentation in court and writing and filing lawsuits (especially for women workers who are lacking the financial resources and who can’t afford the costs of lawsuits); systematization and analysis of documents collected in the work of Counseling. This should provide insight into the frequency of certain forms of discrimination at work, profile of employees who often suffer discrimination in regard to sex, educational level, etc.