The Independent Union of Civil Servants and Employees in BiH Institutions held a protest in front of the BiH Parliament building on Monday because the state budget has not been adopted and a collective employment agreement has not been signed, which they say directly endangers the livelihood of BiH state-level public servants.
Salih Karcic, the head of the Union, said that protests are primarily being held to inform the public about what is happening in state institutions, which he argued are being “destroyed” in order to strengthen Bosnia’s two semi-autonomous entities.
“We have been sending our messages to our employer – the Council of Ministers, to our parliamentarians for the last five to seven years and held meetings, but none of it matters to them. When we come to a situation where our existence is endangered and we are not legally protected because we do not have a signed collective agreement, we have no choice but to organise as a union and go out to protest and hope that we will somehow pressure the parties to change something,” Karcic stressed.
Since BiH state-level public servants lack a collective agreement, they are legally unprotected as a union, which Karcic said is a unique case in Europe.
According to him, the about 20,000 people working for BiH Government institutions “live in fear” as not even their salaries are guaranteed at this point.
“Because if you have a signed collective agreement, you can claim your rights in court if your salary has not been paid. Since we do not have a collective agreement, they can do what they want,” he said.
“Until the collective agreement is signed, we will protest every month or month and a half and explain to the citizens that state employees and civil servants work to survive and have poor salaries,” he announced.