Bosnia: Walking Workers Return to Tuzla, After One of Their Demands Are Met

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As we reported on Friday workers of Tuzla companies “Aida”, “Dita”,“Livnice” and “Konjuh”, which started the massive February protests in Bosnia and Herzegovina, were on the third day of their journey en route to the border city of Orašje, where they hoped to cross the border and enter Croatia and the European Union in hopes of gaining asylum there.

 

The companies that the workers were employed at for years deducted workers pay for retirement, healthcare and social security yet neglected to turn the money over to the state so the workers are now unable to collect the benefits that they worked for.

Since they had lost all hope of the government ever solving their problems, around 300 of them had left Tuzla on foot without enough money to travel by bus, with hopes of gaining asylum in the European Union where they could live off of their work.

Today the workers of the four ruined companies have returned home after the Tuzla Canton government promised social care for them, which was one of three workers demands. 

Bad weather and refusal of border police to let them enter Croatia without valid passports has forced workers to return home. Several of them required medical attention due to exhaustion and extreme cold.

Mayor of Tuzla Jasmin Imamović has sent buses which transported workers. Upon arriving in Tuzla they gathered in front of government building of Tuzla Canton, which was burned in February protests, hosting a small protest and chanting “thieves, thieves!” and “you will be beaten up!”.

“We are not giving up”

The president of Workers Union of “Konjuh” Mevludin Trakić said that they are not giving up from all of their demands.

Protests in front of Canton building that was burned in February (Foto: avaz.ba)

Protests in front of Canton building that was burned in February (Foto: avaz.ba)

President of Workers Union of “Dita” said that their fight was successful.

“This was a success. People of Bosnia and Herzegovina will feel our fight. New government will take charge soon, and they will have to think hard about what to do.”

Workers have agreed to meet in the coming days to discuss their next moves. They said that in two months all of them will have passports and will, if the current situation doesn’t change, try to cross the border again.

They are demanding from the government to recognize their years of accrued retirement funds, to start production in their companies and to give them social care while the process of reviving companies is in progress.

Last February, these workers started peaceful protests, but on 6th February police used force to disperse them. The next day, in most parts of the country people went on to the streets burning several government buildings and clashing with police, in what was the biggest and most violent protests in post-war history of BiH.

This story was originally published on Revolution-News.com.


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