The inconsistent practice of courts in Republic of Serbia, which had toleration of violation of labour rights by NIS Gazprom Neft AD NOVI SAD (hereinafter: NIS) as a consequence, finally came to an end!
Courts in Republic of Serbia finally took unified stand that the norm in which an employee abdicates form all of its future demands from NIS company is contrary to the the Constitution of Republic of Serbia and State’s other obligatory norms.
In 2010, 2011,2012 and 2013 the Agreement for termination of working relation between NIS and its employees that wanted to leave the company included the norm that presented the employee’s statement that it won’t seek for any future, due or potential demands from the employer. Numerous of these agreements were signed, especially after the employer released the decision that termination of working relation in the company will no longer be possible by the favorable conditions form Social program of the company, neglecting the fact that Social program was a part of privatization documents and integral part of sales-purchase contract with NIS and that if the party disrespected norms of Social program, the contract could be terminated.
Although, the Agreement constituted certain rights for the employee, for example severance pay, however the limiting norm concealed other rights from working relation that employees have and which they can not abdicate from, such as share in companies profit and other bonuses.
Therefore, the other problem was that before determining nullity of the limiting norm, former employees, who singed this Agreement could not seek for the rest of their rights before court because the norm with which they abdicate those rights was in force. That is also one of the reasons why these court decisions and its unified standing is of major importance, since only after determining nullity of disputable norm former employees whose rights to were harmed can seek for just remuneration for their work.
Coming to this stage in process, however, was not as simple as it seems, considering the clarity of imperative norms in question. Therefore, in order to finally succeed in its claim, a party had to constantly insist before the court that claiming that the norm is void can not be mistaken with claiming for rescission of that norm, so that conditions for these two completely different institutes also differ.
Finally, courts in Novi Sad, Nis, Belgrade and other territorial jurisdictions in Serbia confirmed in their judgements that this limiting norm is in fact contrary to imperative norms, precisely contrary to Article 60 of Constitution and Article 104,105 and 106 of Labor Law.