Government attempt to change status of cultural workers into public servants overruled.
5.1.6 Labour laws
General labour laws apply in the same manner to the culture field as in any other sector that is funded from the government's budget. There is also (more or less) a unified system of salaries for those working in the public sector. However, in June 2007, the Syndicate of the Macedonian National Theatre announced that they would sue the Ministry of Culture because of the lower salaries in their institution compared with other Macedonian theatres.
The new Retirement Law that came into effect in September 2007 made huge changes in the general retirement policy that seriously affected the cultural sector. Changes were made to the beneficial status of some groups in the cultural sector. It especially concerns the ballet dancers in the Macedonian National Ballet, who now are required to work more years longer then before. The old law had guaranteed a beneficial status to this profession - one year was calculated as a year and a half - so the ballet dancers could retire after 20-25 years work (at the age of 40-45). Now, according to the new law, the beneficial status is still appreciated but the calculations have changed: 1 year for every third year! So the ballet dancers will have to work for nearly ten more years: female dancers until 53 years of age and male dancers until 56. The same problem applies to all the brass instrumentalists in the Macedonian music institutions.
There is also standardised collective bargaining agreements used when negotiating contracts with state run institutions. The first Collective Agreement was signed in June 2005 (as a first of its kind in the period of Transition) and it was amended in March 2006.
One of the burning issues in 2012 on the position of cultural workers was the government's decision to change their status into public servants under the Law on Public Servants. However, the Constitutional Court has overruled the articles in this Law confirming that the status of cultural workers is already regulated by the Law on Culture.
See also comparative information provided in the Compendium "Themes!" section under "Status of Artists".