From Mon Jun 11 11:50:10 2001
From: Press <>
To: “ICFTU Online” <>
Subject: ICFTU Online: Yugoslav delegation
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 16:20:31 +0200

Global trade union group challenges credentials of Yugoslav delegation

ICFTU Online…, 104/110601/AO, International Labour Conference in Geneva, June 5–21, 2001

Geneva, June 11 2001 (ICFTU OnLine): The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) has today called on the International Labour Conference (ILO) to reject the credentials of the Worker delegate from Yugoslavia. The delegation is taking part in the International Labour Conference in Geneva, June 5–21, which started its plenary work today in Geneva.

In a letter addressed to the ILO Director General, Juan Somavia, who acts as secretary general for the conference, the ICFTU charges that the Yugoslav government “acted in breach of its obligations” by failing to include the most representative worker organisation as part of its tripartite delegation to Geneva. According to the ILO rules, delegations to the conference should include delegates from the country's most representative employer and worker organisations as well as government representatives.

The government-appointed worker delegate comes from Yugoslavia's smallest trade union which is said to be close to Yugoslav labour minister Dragan Milovanovic. Milovanovic is actually a former president of this trade union. Yugoslavia's largest trade union organisation, the 600,000-member Nezavisnost, has not been consulted in the forming of the delegation which also fails to include representatives from Montenegro's Confederation of Independent Trade Unions.

Nezavisnost President, Branislav Canak, who participates in the ILO Conference as part of the ICFTU delegation, told the hundreds of union leaders who form the Workers' group of the conference that since Yugoslavia rejoined the ILO in November last year, most of the anti-union regulations inherited from the Milosevic regime have been kept in place, despite recommendations and advice by the UN labour body.

For instance, noted Canak, ministerial regulations still provide for directors of enterprises to approve and sign registration forms for any union while further impediments to freedom of association have been introduced by the new government.

Nezavisnost has been a staunch opponent to the Milosevic rule and Branislav Canak has been denouncing attacks on independent trade unions at each International labour conferences since 1994, always as part of the ICFTU delegation.

Bill Brett, chairperson of the workers' group at the Conference, has publicly expressed sympathy for Nezavisnost's complaints and pledged to support the challenge against the Yugoslav delegation. The ICFTU objection will be examined this week by the Conference's Credentials Committee.