Study Visit in Serbia: perspectives on social inclusion and labour disputes resolution, with Initiative for Development and Cooperation

On 6-8 July 2022, SOLIDAR organised a Study Visit (member-to-member exchange), hosted in Belgrade, Serbia, by SOLIDAR member Initiative for Development and Cooperation (IDC). The activity had the objective to showcase IDC's work, in particular with marginalised groups but also in the way they cooperate with authorities at national and local level. This Study Visit was also the occasion for a synergy between SOLIDAR's project ''Realising Social Europe For All and With All'' and IDC-led project ''Joint endeavours of social partners to increase the visibility of the Institute of Peaceful Settlement of Labour Disputes''.  Last but not least, the Study Visit works as a space to foster horizontal exchange and a sense of community within the SOLIDAR network. 7 representatives of 5 SOLIDAR member organisations participated : Movimiento por la Paz - MPDL, Centre for Labour Rights, Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL), Community Development Institute and the hosting member IDC.


The first highlight of the Visit was the field trip to Novi Pazar, where IDC has been harbouring a close, long-time cooperation with partners from the institutional and civil society environments. An exchange took place in a City Council room, with representatives from the City Council, the Development Agency for the region of Sandžak, IDC's local branch and Muslim CSO Merhamet. The discussion focussed on the demographic, social and administrative context in which Novi Pazar evolves, multiculturalism, civic participation, multi-level governance and cooperation with civil society, inclusion of people from Bosnia and Kosovo, and social economy. The latter topic served as an introduction to the following visit in the city, that of a social enterprise project involving the same local stakeholders mentioned previously. The enterprise consists in a cold storage for the preservation of locally-grown fruit, especially raspberry, and when operational it is intended to provide jobs for 120 farmers from Novi Pazar, with a focus on economic empowerment of individuals and communities that have been away from the labour market.

The other key moment of the Study Visit was the roundtable ''Good practices on amicable methods of labour disputes resolution'', taking place in the Palace of Serbia. This roundtable took place as the final event of the project ''Joint endeavours of social partners to increase the visibility of the Institute of Peaceful Settlement of Labour Disputes'', funded by SOLIDAR member Olof Palme International Center, and coordinated by our host member in Serbia IDC. It was a good occasion for synergy, with the SOLIDAR network learning about the Serbian model while bringing perspectives from Albania, Italy and Spain on amicable resolution of labour disputes. The conversation also allowed to identify common challenges across the countries studied - the weakening of Trade Unions' role, the increasing inaccessibility of justice and the need to protect the right to strike. The roundtable was followed by a meeting between the SOLIDAR delegation and representatives from the Ministry of Welfare and Inclusion for an exchange on different approaches across Europe, with a focus on the long-time unemployed and the disabled.


SOLIDAR would like to warmly thank IDC for the invitation and for organising the activities, as well as IDC partners present to exchange with us: the City Council of Novi Pazar, the Serbian Ministry of Welfare and Social Inclusion, Regional Development Agency of Sandžak - SEDA, Merhamet, all our members who participated, and the European Commission.


Download the full report here.

This activity has been executed in the framework of the project ''Realising Social Europe For All and With All'' with the financial support of the European Union, through the EaSI strand of the ESF+ programme.