The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

New mechanism for amicable settlement of labour disputes available to workers and employers

A EU funded project on “Promoting Social Dialogue” implemented by the ILO has established a new mechanism for amicable settlement of labour disputes thus contributing to building and maintaining harmonious and productive workplace relations in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Press release | 02 February 2016
Amicable settlement of labour disputes in both public and private sectors promotes sound industrial relations, which can ensure industrial peace and enable sustainable economic growth. Until 2015, labour disputes were exclusively settled in civil courts, having as consequence an overwhelming workload for the judiciary system, which led to a significant backlog of long pending lawsuits and had a negative impact on employment relationships and professional and personal lives of workers and employers concerned.

Following 2010-2012 ILO’s technical assistance in amending the 2007 Law on Amicable Settlement of Labour Disputes, a new project funded by the European Union and implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO) has designed and implemented a threefold strategy to establish an out of court mechanism for labour dispute resolution.

Within the project on “Promoting Social Dialogue’ , the ILO has assisted the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (MLSP) in taking the necessary legal and institutional measures to establish a cost-effective and functioning mechanism for amicable settlement of labour disputes. Furthermore, the ILO has helped create a roster of professional labour conciliators and arbitrators, has designed and implemented a Case Management Information System with the Ministry of Labour and has been carrying on an awareness raising campaign for workers and employers on the advantages of amicable settlement of labour disputes .

In 2015, 42 conciliators and arbitrators, out of which 15 trainers received training within the project, and 20 conciliators and arbitrators have already been licensed. The curriculum of a permanent training programme was developed by the project in order to ensure consistently high quality performance of certified conciliators. The programme covers, among others, the relevant national legislation and international labour standards, and the theory of negotiation and conciliation/mediation processes, defines required competences, and through practical exercises and role plays develops and improves key skills and behaviors for effective conciliation/mediation.

A number of training tools have been translated and published into Macedonian, including the ILO Guide “Labour Dispute Systems: Guidelines for improved performance” . ILO Practical Guide to Professional Conciliation will soon be published in Macedonian, too.

In order to obtain a labour conciliator licence, the applicants have to undergo the training programme and to pass an interview successfully with the Tripartite Licensing Commission, which has been established under the Economic and Social Council, and trained with the support of the ILO.

The project also developed a Case Management Information System to facilitate the swift registration and monitoring of case settlement, the information storage in a single database and to document statistics and managerial decisions and policies in the area of disputes resolution. The system is administered by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and operated together by the Ministry and conciliators and arbitrators appointed for registered cases.

Since the mechanism has become operational in July 2015, two requests for conciliation have been registered in the database for amicable settlement of labour disputes and a licensed conciliator has been selected by the parties to provide conciliation in both cases.

Currently, the project carries on a national media campaign aiming to inform workers and employers about the new avenue available for dispute resolution, and how to access fast, fair and free of charge conciliation services of professional labour conciliators.