Bosnian union seals CBA covering 26,700 workers

Taking full advantage of a joint platform for social dialogue established early this year between trade unions and employers, the Trade Union of Construction and Industry of Construction Materials of Bosnia and Herzegovina (SGIIGMBIH) successfully signed a branch CBA with the Association of Employers of FBiH (UPFBiH) covering more than 26,700 workers. 

One of the main issues resolved by the CBA is the determination of the lowest hourly salary which now stands at BAM 3.25 (EUR 1.67), and the monthly minimum salary now pegged at BAM 650-670 (EUR 332.35-342.60), excluding allowances and other benefits.

The agreement also determined salary supplements for overtime work (20 percent), night work (25 percent) rest day work (30 percent) and holiday work (50 percent).

The CBA also regulated issues related to employment, method of determining wages and salaries, manner and amount of calculating salary increases based on difficult working conditions, and CBA validity.

The agreement also regulated the conditions and amount of salary compensation for women workers’ absence from work due to pregnancies (in case they cannot be assigned to other jobs), conditions for trade union work of, and the manner of peaceful settlement of collective labour disputes. 

The CBA also said that the redistribution of working time is determined by the employer by an appropriate act, provided that the average working time cannot last longer than 52 hours per week, and for seasonal jobs, a maximum of 60 hours per week. The employer may determine the period in which the average working hours may not be longer than the full or part time period, but not longer than the period of the calendar year.

Murat Skamo of SGIIGMBIH welcomed the CBA, especially the increase on wages, which he said has a major positive impact on workers in the industry who before the agreement are receiving a measly minimum wage of BAM 585 (EUR 299). 

He also underscored that landmark importance of the CBA, saying that it is the first agreement to be inked for the last 20 years.  

“Our union has identified a number of areas that require further improvements and will be our next priorities. However, our membership believes that this is an important step into the direction. We intend to intensify our social partnership with responsible employers in the construction and building materials industries and demand access to workers at all sites to inform and educate them about their rights based on the CBA and other relevant laws, like the new measure on occupational health and safety,” Skamo said. 

The CBA came into force on 8 October 2021 for a period of one year. It is part of a new wave of CBAs sweeping Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

The signing of the new CBAs was possible due to a joint platform for social dialogue established last 9 June between six industrial unions and the Association of Employers of the Federation of BiH to determine the minimum hourly wages in the state, among other concerns. 

The social dialogue aims to build and preserve mutual trust, particularly on collective bargaining negotiations. It also wants to develop joint approaches to compel government institutions to address the decent work deficit in the industry and the negative developments on the labour market influenced by dramatic demographical changes and shortage of skilled work force.