International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

World Bank Analysis to Guide Serbian Layoffs




A forthcoming World Bank analysis of Serbia's public sector is likely to provide a basis for the government to determine further public-sector job cuts.

Mario Reljanovic, from the Union University in Belgrade, told BIRN on Thursday (27.08.2015) that a forthcoming World Bank analysis was likely to establish the criteria for announced layoffs in the public sector.

“We did not have any criteria so far. The World Bank analysis may finally determine the potential criteria, so we can see what the surpluses are and where there are possibilities for dismissing workers,” Reljanovic told BIRN.

As agreed with the IMF, Serbia must reduce budget allocations for public-sector wages by 1.5 per cent of its GDP.

Parliament adopted a law to downsize the public sector on July 31, which means that around 9,000 workers will be laid off by the end of 2015. Most work in education, justice and healthcare.

Srdjan Svircev, a World Bank public-sector expert, said the analysis will include ministries, departments, agencies and some public institutions such as the Office for Human and Minority Rights and the Commissariat for Refugees.

“The purpose is to make a list of functions to determine where there is overlapping of work in order to rationalize it. The analysis should be complete by the end of September,” Svircev said.

Over the next three years, the Serbian government plans to reduce spending on its employees from 11.8 per cent of GDP annually to 8 per cent.

That involves reducing the number of employees by around 5 per cent over the next two years, and cutting around 70,000 jobs by the end of the downsizing process in 2018.

The law on downsizing the public sector has drawn many complaints.

On August 4, four independent regulatory bodies urged President Tomislav Nikolic to send the law back to parliament, arguing that it is unconstitutional.

Some experts have also criticized the lack of clear criteria on downsizing.

The Association of Judges, the Prosecutors' Association and the Union of Serbian Judiciary on July 31 jointly warned that the law could have harmful consequences for ordinary citizens.

They said that reducing jobs in the judiciary could be “fatal” to the normal functioning of the courts and the prosecution.

Sasa Dragojlo






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