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Serbia: trade union struggle contributes to ending discrimination against female public servants

published 20 October 2015 updated 21 October 2015

In a decision being applauded by the Teachers’ Union of Serbia, the country’s constitutional court has overturned a law limiting employees in the public sector that specifically targeted and discriminated women.

On the 8 October the discriminatory article 20 of the law on maximum of employees in public sector was revoked by the Constitutional Court of Serbia.

The change means that all women age 60 years and 6 months working in the sectors of education, health sector and public administration, will no longer be forced to retire early on the basis of the law, and will be able to continue working until they reach 65.

“For the education sector, this means that at least 3,500 of women teachers in Serbia will continue their teaching activity and have the opportunity for further improvement to deliver quality education to students,” said the President of the Teachers Union of Serbia (TUS) Branislav Pavlovi?.

The court’s decision came only four days before the discriminatory law was due to be implemented, preventing “unrecoverable damage” for many women employed in whole public sector avoided, stressed Pavlovi?.

The pressure exerted by the TUS, and later increased by other unions, with support from Education International (EI) via a protest letter sent to the Serbian public authorities, led the national Ombudsman and the Commissioner for Equality to bring the case in front of the Constitutional Court for the discriminatory law article to be rescinded.