Social dialogue with freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining is fundamental for the achievement of effective, equitable and mutually beneficial outcomes for ILO constituents and society at large.
The country has ratified 4 of the 6 ILO labor conventions on social dialogue, whereas C151 on the Protection of the Right to Organize and Procedures for Determining Conditions of Employment in the Public Service, and C154 concerning the Promotion of Collective Bargaining have not yet been ratified.
A tripartite body known as the Social Council, made up of government, trade union and employers representatives, is responsible for facilitating social dialogue in Montenegro. The Council plays a central role in negotiations on amendments to the general collective agreement and may be involved in drafting proposals for laws through creation of working groups. However, its capacity remains limited, as it can only give opinions on proposed laws and regulations within its authority.
MEF entered into its first tripartite agreement as early as 2006 and its work was instrumental in the adoption of the Law on Social Council in 2007 and the Labor Law as such in 2008, institutionalizing social dialogue in Montenegro.
To date, MEF has signed six branch collective agreements, 1 of them being in the process of revision.
Until 2008 when the new one – The Union of Free Trade Unions - was registered, there had been only one trade union association at national level – Association of Trade Unions of Montenegro.
Trade union pluralism at national and sector level as well as at levels of individual employers, called for the need of recognition of their representativeness which had to be preceded by creation of legislative framework, i.e. the Law on the Representativeness of Trade Unions (which was adopted in 2010 and recently amended).
In line with the above, the successor of the former socialist trade union - Confederation of Trade Unions of Montenegro was granted the representativeness the beginning of November 2010, followed by Union of Free Trade Unions by the end of the same month that year.
General Collective Agreement was signed in 2014 and is valid until 30th March 2016.