Trade unions are the important factor in the protection against discrimination

Commissioner for the Protection of Equality Brankica Jankovic spoke about discrimination of women at the labor market within the session „Women and the labor market in Serbia – towards establishing of gender balance“, which was organized by the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia.

Commissioner stressed that trade unions are very important for the protection and exercising of employee’s rights, because they can submit claims to the Commissioner, since

people often hesitate to report their employer because they fear of losing their job. She emphasized that employers should be the other important partner and said that they have expressed a great interest in the Code of Equality that was issued by the institution of Commissioner last year. There is an increasing number of companies who contact us, which reveals their readiness to create equal working conditions together with us and eventually contributes to better business results for them, stressed Commissioner.

Noting that the institution of Commissioner is pursuing a great number of strategic litigations before courts throughout Serbia because of discrimination, as well as that there is a high percentage of acting upon the recommendation of the institution, Commissioner emphasized a visible progress in the state of awareness that discrimination cannot be tolerated.

According to her words, data from the practice of Commissioner reveal that women are readier to report discrimination at the workplace, and that it usually happens after the arrival from the maternity leave or child care leave. She stressed that unfavorable position of women at the labor market is illustrated also in pay gaps that are best reflected through work in certain, less paid professions, mainly occupied by women. Still, combat against discrimination in the labor area cannot be successful unless the gender role stereotypes, which are harmful not only for women but also for men, are not changed, stressed Commissioner. Partnership and respect can help us to be truly equal, emphasized Commissioner and added that the state and employers have to enable the employees to have balance between private and professional life through providing of conditions for bringing up children and taking care of older family members, because equal and inclusive society cannot be built without that.

The position of women at the labor market in Europe and activities of trade union organizations in protection of employees rights were presented by the Secretary of European Trade Union Confederation Monserat Mir Roca, who stressed the necessity to strengthen the concept of social Europe and greater investment of states in living conditions of citizens.

Other speakers at the session were Deputy President of the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia Zoran Mihajlovic, Director of Friedrich Ebert Foundation Ursula Koch Laugwitz and Director of the Center for Democracy Natasa Vuckovic.

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