Serbian unions demand a minimum wage which supports a dignified life

Trade unions in Serbia are demanding a minimum wage of 39,000 Serbian dinars (390.61 USD) per month for 2022, which they consider much needed to have a dignified life

August 27, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch

On August 23, Tuesday, at a meeting of the working group of the Social-Economic Council (SES) for determining the minimum wage in Serbia for 2022, the representatives of trade unions including UGS Nezavisnost, Federation of Independent Trade Unions in Serbia etc reiterated their demand for at least a minimum of 39,000 Serbian dinars (390.61 USD) per month as the minimum wage. While the delegate of the Ministry of Finance confirmed in the meeting that an increase from the rate of 32,000 Serbian dinars (320.50 USD) to 35,000 Serbian dinars (350.55 USD)  is acceptable for the government, the unions have stuck to their demand, which they say is needed for the workers to lead a dignified life. Another round of negotiations on the minimum wage is scheduled for Friday. The government has to take a decision on the minimum wage by September 15.

Masina has reported that the amount proposed by the government will not cover half of the average consumer basket, which was equal to 76,184.63 Serbian dinars(763.04 USD) in the month of May this year.  According to the Republic Bureau of Statistics, the average salary in Serbia in the month of May was 65,025 Serbian dinars (650.27 USD), which is also not enough to cover the average consumer basket. According to a report by Istinomer.rs, over 80% of employees in Serbia receive a salary lower than the national average and 23.2% of the population in the county lives in the risk zone of poverty.

The Party of the Radical Left (PRL) in Serbia has expressed support and solidarity with the trade unions’ demands towards the minimum wage in the county. PRL has stated that “by serving various excuses, the state is again trying to prevent adequate increase in minimum wages and thus stepping aside to employers and to defend their profits, which is at the expense of workers and workers in Serbia. If this happens, the minimum wage will remain below the minimum consumer basket, which is constantly increasing due to the continuous increase in the prices of basic supplies and other supplies.”

“The lives of workers were sacrificed again for the profit of capitalists, who on the other hand were not affected by the price increase in Serbia”, added the PRL.

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