Bosnian coal miners stop work, protest lower wages


SARAJEVO, November 23 (Reuters) – Thousands of miners on Tuesday halted work at Bosnia’s seven coal mines in support of their colleagues protesting in Sarajevo over what they called government labor violations and of remuneration.

The seven coal mines are owned by the state-owned Elektroprivreda BiH (EPBiH) and employ around 7,200 workers.

The government of the Autonomous Bosnian-Croatian Federation, owner of EPBiH, plans to restructure indebted coal mines as part of its plan to gradually transition from coal to renewable energy sources, and reduce the number 5,200 employees. Read more

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The restructuring plan, including the retirement of 419 miners this year, was approved by both parties in May.

But now the EPBiH has imposed new labor rules that violate the collective agreement, reducing the basic salary of miners to 570 Bosnian mark (291 euros) from 850 marka, Sinan Husic, chairman of the miners’ union, told Reuters. of the Federation.

No one from the government or EPBiH was immediately available for comment.

Several thousand minors, who were transported by bus to Sarajevo from all over Bosnia, whistled, waved flags and shouted “thieves, thieves”.

Union representatives refused to speak to the government and EPBiH officials, but insisted they come out and address the protesters.

But when Federation Industry and Energy Minister Nermin Dzindic attempted to speak to the protesters, surrounded by special police officers, he was booed and quickly left.

“One of the main reasons is that they want to reduce our base salary, to pay us according to production, which is unrealistic,” said Admir Fejzic, a miner at Kreka’s largest coal mine in northern Bosnia.

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Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Alex Richardson

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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