Center for Dignified Work (CDW) was founded in 2013 by academics who wanted to create an organization focused primarily on workers’ problems. Bearing in mind the weakened role of trade unions and the insufficient representation of workers’ ideas among civil society organizations, the association was supposed to fill that gap and focus on expert support for initiatives that were aimed towards preserving existing labour rights and improving the position of workers in general.
CDW is a non-government, non-profit association of lawyers and other social science experts, established with the aim to promote, through its programs, projects and overall public activity, the right to dignified work and healthy and safe working environment as a precondition for the realisation of human rights, modern market economy and democratic society.
CDW specifically advocates for:
- Reconsideration of various provisions of valid legislation that are constantly abused in practice, coupled with a thorough reform of labour law in the Republic of Serbia, based on observance of international law and comparative standards;
- Establishing lasting and quality mechanisms of social dialogue between trade unions and employers;
- Promoting „tripartite plus“ model of social dialogue and wider participation of various social groups in the process of modelling employment policy and social policy;
- Broader engagement of the state in monitoring the implementation of regulations and more efficient sanctioning of their violation;
- Creating good practice of inclusion and affirmative actions, as well as permanent mechanisms for cooperation between that state, the trade unions and the employers with civil society organisations;
- Creating, maintaining and promoting the atmosphere of tolerance and peaceful resolution of disputes.
Work of CDW is mainly focused on expert analysis. In the past, one of the most successful strategies was to develop analysis and policy papers that could be used as which can be used as means of pressure on the Government in cases of noticing bad practices, amending regulations or adopting new laws that are unfavourable to workers. These tools are also distributed to all interested parties, including trade unions other organisations and individuals. CDW is conceived as a think tank organization, which comes up with practical solutions to overcome chronic and systemic problems and shortcomings in the field of labour and social law. In that sense, the educational role of the organization is dominant, as is the coaching approach when it comes to presenting and disseminating results.
Major projects and activities:
- Project with Foundation Ana and Vlade Divac, Belgrade (2015) on protection and empowerment of single parents. Deliverable: legal analysis on legal analysis of the position of single parents with a comparative analysis of good practice and recommendations for improving their position.
- Project with Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion Unit SIPRU (2015) on legal amendments of labour and social legislation regarding protection of parenthood. Deliverable: proposals of amendments on eleven laws regulating standards of protection of parenthood.
- Project with Foundation Ana and Vlade Divac, Belgrade (2017-2019) follow up of the project on protection and empowerment of single parents. Deliverables: Policy paper on single parents; education for 120 social workers and employment counsellors.
- Project with Olof Palme Center in 2019: Drafting of the report on implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rught. Deliverables: Shadow Report for the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; research “Assessment of Economic and Social Rights in the Republic of Serbia”. (Research in English)
- Project with Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in 2019: Drafting of the research “Alternative labour legislation” and four manual for trade unions regarding individual labour rights, most common cases of violation of workers’ rights, the right to strike and the right to organise trade union and collective bargaining.
- Project with Olof Palme Center in 2019: Drafting of Alternative Labour Code. The analysis of the whole subject matter covered by the Labour Law, as well as some other laws, will primarily serve to justify criticisms of particular solutions, their inapplicability in practice, or an unacceptable situation where workers are deprived of some basic labour rights, or where those are diminished or made very difficult to exercise, contrary to the nature and purpose of their existence. Based on the analysis, trade unions will be able to adjust their negotiating positions, consolidate and argue them, act together and increase their chances of placing good solutions in the future Labour Law. An additional objective of such an analysis may, however, be a common platform on future labour law, which would be supported by both trade unions and civil society organizations, academia and the professional public, as well as other organizations that see their interest in maintaining and promoting workers’ rights.
Mario Reljanović, CDW president