The Serbian Trade Union movement is at a crossroads – CIDT facilitates strategic planning through an intensive virtual support

16 June 2021
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The trade union movement in Serbia is currently at a crossroads. It faces declining memberships, challenges in securing trade union rights, and technological and economic changes which affect the nature and type of jobs. For the unions to become stronger and more representative, the old ways of working need to change.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to further change in the external environment in which trade unions operate, and the movement needs to revisit how to support members and adapt their operations in order to be efficient and fit for purpose.

Working through a virtual delivery mode, Head of CIDT, Philip Dearden supported a Results Based Management (RBM) workshop as an integral part of the development of a new strategy by the CATUS Forestry Trade Union in Serbia. The workshop was sponsored by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and brought together 25 key Trade Union members, in Belgrade alongside ILO staff members and several key speakers.

Workshop approach

The key learning objective of the workshop was to examine the key concepts of RBM and apply these in the development of a new strategy for the Autonomous Trade Union of Forestry and Wood-Processing Industry Workers of Serbia. As a result of the workshop, the longer term strategic impact, outcome and outputs were developed as   a results framework. Key indicators were also developed so that the essential monitoring of strategic progress can be undertaken over the next few years.

The framework will be further developed into a full and detailed strategy entitled “A Trade Union equipped for the Future” by a series of agreed participatory actions over the next few months.

The recently published ILO working paper Trade Unions in the Balance presented by Rafeel Peels of the ILO proved to be a good starting point for this discussion. This paper authored by Jelle Visser describes the current situation of the trade union movement, its key challenges, and four possible scenarios for the future of trade unions:  “marginalization”, “dualization”, “replacement”, or “revitalization”. The paper discusses ways trade unions can achieve revitalization, the preferred strategy that the Serbian forestry trade union.

International experience on the recent modernization of Trade Unions in Austria, was shared by Christian Folzer and Martina Schneller, illuminating suggestions for further positive action.

Specific topics covered in the intensive workshop were:

  • Current concepts of results based management and their relevance to the Union,
  • A strategic planning framework structured around seven simple planning steps,
  • Undertaking a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis,
  • The development of a clear short and long term objective for the Forestry Union using the Results Chain
  • The development of relevant key indicators to measure strategic change and practical monitoring, review and evaluation tools.

The workshop was  opened and closed by Jovan Protic, National Coordinator, ILO Serbia; Magnus Berge, ILO Sr Worker Specialist, Central and Eastern Europe; and Zoran Radoman, President of the CATUS Forestry Union.

Video from the workshop

Screen shots of some of the participants and presenters:

The workshop being closed by Magnus Berge, ILO Sr Worker Specialist, Central and Eastern Europe and Zoran Radoman, President of the CATUS Forestry Union.