Why does the Ministry of Labour and Social Care tries to legalise the illegal?

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) is concerned with the rigid attitude of Ministry of Labour and Social Care regarding the legal opinion provided to the MP Milan Knežević “that university professors can be in a working relation on two faculties in two states, whereby the relations from social insurance are regulated with bilateral agreements on social insurance.”

CCE underlines that double, simultaneous working relations, or full working arrangements in two places, whether these are in the same state or two different, are not either physically or legally possible. Namely, it is well known that law serves to regulate existing relations in society, not to establish some abstract and impossible ones. In addition to being illegal, this type of relation is unprofessional towards students, and in general, has a negative impact on overall level of quality of higher education.

CCE reminds that academic staff who have concluded working agreement with University of Montenegro (UoM) as parent university, can be hired on other higher-education institutions based on some other legal basis, such as the agreement on additional work or service contract as an obligatory relation, but even such additional engagement must be accompanied by the permission of the UoM as the employer based on previously acquired opinion of Council of the faculty where the professor teaches.

The opinion of the Ministry of Labour and Social Care from 26/05/2015, or the confirmed opinion of former assistant minister Vesna Simović, in addition to being legally non-binding, represents legal nonsense as well, because “that which is clear to everyone should not be interpreted”. According to that opinion, it is legal and possible to, simultaneously, teach and be hired in Montenegro, America, some neighbouring state or in all three of them at the same time! According to that opinion, professors are some beings with superhuman abilities!

CCE filed a request for the initiation of investigative actions against the management of UoM to prosecutor’s office back in October of 2013, because at that time UoM had several employees with full time working contracts on different universities. In that manner, UoM was damaged for tens of thousands of euros per professor, due to such engagements during the past 10 years, for which CCE filed evidence to prosecution, and for which none bared any consequences. Damage is the result of conscious and deliberate violation of Labour Law, which is a framework regulation when it comes to regulation of working status of employees, for the purpose of gaining profit and particular interests. Hence, CCE welcoms the fact that new rector made a shift by sanctioning that illegal practice.

CCE expects that final legal acting on one issue, more precisely the regulation of working relations at UoM, will gain the support of those who publically advocate the rule of law, instead of those who conduct campaigns and activities in order to protect someone else’s particular interests in order to try to legalise the illegal.

Mira Popović, programme associate