International Arbitration for Non-payment of increased work bonus to employees who had signed a reduced-duty contract

On 20th of March 2018, an International Arbitration was held in Sarajevo between the Office of the High Representative of the United Nations in Bosnia & Herzegovina and members of its staff. The OHR is an ad hoc International Organization created by the parties of the General Framework Agreement for Peace, commonly known as the Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the war between Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia in 1995.

 

The European Court of Arbitration was set up by British ex-judge Sir Michael Burton (President), Professor Konstantinos Kremalis and lawyer Mario Fusani (Arbitrators).

The subject of the dispute was the non-payment of increased work bonus to employees who had signed a reduced-duty contract, but in practice performed increased duties of security personnel, etc. The applicable law was the OHR's internal rules and policies, natural law, the case law of the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation (ILOAT) as well as the rules on unification of private and, in particular, commercial law (UNIDROIT), while all national substantive laws were excluded.

Ultimately, the legal arguments of the OHR’s representatives, based on Anglo-Saxon law principles, namely freedom of contract and the gravity of signature of natural persons, prevailed.

International Arbitration for Individual and Collective Labor Disputes is a relatively new field of legal practice, as in existing international organizations labor disputes are usually “resolved” with internal appeals from the department of human resources.