Government to establish responsibility within its management and not to violate rights of employees in state administration

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) has submitted today to the Constitutional Court of Montenegro an Initiative for assessment of constitutionality and legality of the Article 167 of the Law on Civil Servants and State Employees, by which it is stipulated that ‘monetary claims from labour which have occurred from 1 January 2013 until day this law becomes applicable, are rendered obsolete within the period of three years from the day this law becomes applicable, i.e. from 1 July 2018.

This provision of the Law on Civil Servants and State Employees of Montenegro is unconstitutional, illegal and inconsistent with the general regulation – Labour Law. Namely, Article 123 of the Labour Law clearly stipulates that ‘monetary claims from labour and as per labour are not subject to obsolescence’, and it is applied to all employed persons in the state of Montenegro, regardless where they are employed.

CCE has based its Initiative on Constitution, Montenegrin legislation, as well as legal position of the Constitutional Court of Montenegro, but also the international documents that are mandatory for the state of Montenegro.

The disputed provision that monetary claims from labour and as per labour are getting obsolete for those working in state administration is discriminatory and leads to unequal treatment of employees in state administration, directly violates their human rights and may cause also numerous abuses in the system of state administration. It is legal nonsense that different rights as per labour are applied for employees in business or civil sector and for employees in state administration.

Government of Montenegro has precisely in 2008 recognized the particularity of monetary claims from labour relations and passed the current Labour Law by which the right to monetary claims of employees is particularly protected. Nowadays, the Government is abnegating itself with this Law on Civil Servants and State Employees.

In the latest period, there is an ever-increasing number of requests and court disputes of employees in state administration relating to claims from previous years-of-service. Such requests and court disputes should have been prevented by the dynamics of payment prescribed by the law, as well as by establishment of responsibility system for those managers who have, within their organs, accumulated these problems. Instead, the Government is passing unlawful provision with retroactive effect, which was supported also by the Parliament. There is no public interest for this provision, and by this, the Government itself is turning into violator of human rights which it can ultimately pay expensively.

CCE believes that Constitutional Court should consider this Initiative as urgent as possible and consequently proclaim the disputed provision null and void in order to prevent systemic violation of rights of employees in state administration.

Snezana Kaludjerovic, Senior Legal Advisor