Collective bargaining is still weak in South Eastern Europe.

Collective bargaining could be a flexible and powerful tool to regulate terms and conditions of employment and relations between workers and employers, but it is still underdeveloped in most countries of South Eastern Europe.

7-8 September 2010 in Durres, Albania

Legal experts from South Eastern Europe1 met on 7-8 September 2010 in Durres2, Albania to review national situations of collective bargaining in their countries. Participants agreed that the legal framework for promoting collective bargaining (identification of bargaining agents and rules, rights and obligations of the parties, validation of collective agreements, etc.) is in place to a large extent. However collective bargaining remains weak in practice in most countries of South Eastern Europe, in particular in the private sector.

Even though the law provides the possibility of extension of collective agreements by the government, this possibility is rarely used. General (cross-industry) collective agreements tend to merely include minimum standards provided by the law, while the link with branch and enterprise agreements is unclear in many cases. The State needs to play a more pro-active role and support more unions and employers in their bipartite negotiations through training and other incentives. Databases of collective agreements should be built to be able to evaluate the quality of social dialogue.

1 Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro and Serbia in addition to Kosovo-UNMIK

2 7th Meeting of the Labour Law and Labour Relations Network for South Eastern Europe in Durres, Albania 7-8 September 2010