The EU leads dialogue on a better future for workers and businesses in BiH

Lars-Gunnar Wigemark; Photo: EU delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina

SARAJEVO – Under the auspices of the project “Support to Social Partners in Social Dialogue” funded by the European Union (EU) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the Union of Employers’ Associations of the Republika Srpska (RS) held a “Business Future” conference in Banja Luka on Tuesday, December 5.

Through the participation in the work of three panel discussions: “Business Today and Tomorrow”, “By Harmony to Productivity” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” RS employers and interested citizens had the opportunity to share their opinions on how they see the future of business.

The central theme of the Business – Today and Tomorrow panel focused on the impact of wage policies on business. The employers pointed out that business is burdened with high taxes and para-fiscal charges. It was also emphasized that the traditional way of thinking in unsuccessful economies, the one that underestimates the work and the entrepreneurship, is still common in their current environment.

The second panel provided an opportunity for human resources experts to share their experiences in finding and retaining high-quality workforce. The issue of the labour shortage in BiH is an issue that requires better communication between employers, workers and government, as well as with the education system, which must educate people who will have certain competences, and not just theoretical knowledge, said human resources experts.

The last panel “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” focused on the dilemma of young people that revolves around the question to stay or to go. On this occasion, the experiences of young people who have decided to become entrepreneurs and develop their own businesses in RS were shared.

The participants were addressed by Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative to BiH, who emphasized that BiH needed comprehensive social dialogue to explain in detail the goals and expected results of the reform process.

“BiH is faced with continuous population exodus and the lack of mobility in the labour market,” Wigemark said, adding that, from his own experience, he is familiar with how important stability and predictability are for business.

It was also pointed out during the conference that today, many studies show that technology is being adopted at an exponential rate, replacing middle-level skills that were once considered uniquely human and placing the world of work in a state of flux.

“Business people should not talk to politicians in order to obtain appropriate privileges or preferential status for themselves or their businesses. Instead, you should have equal business conditions for the entire economy,” concluded Wigemark.

At the conference, employers concluded that BiH and employers would not be spared the dynamic processes, such as digitization, the growth of the digital economy and technological advances. Coupled with profound changes in the organisation of work, globalisation, demographic change, environmental challenges, as well as new ways of organising the production of goods and the delivery of services, these provide a myriad of opportunities to BiH society while at the same time presenting considerable challenges.