By Medina Malagic – Sarajevo
In the past nearly two months, B&H has been hit by a wave of continuing protests. Another one began this morning, when around 25 employees of the company Vitezit arrived to Sarajevo after travelling all day and night on foot.
Upon their arrival in Sarajevo this morning, they began their strike in front of the building of the FB&H. They said that they are in Sarajevo to demand their basic rights, which includes the resolution of employment status, to solve the issue of pensions and to have those who are still able to work to return to the company.
They arrived to Sarajevo exhausted, and some even had to go to the hospital for treatment. The risk that they took to get to Sarajevo on foot from Vitez, which is nearly 80 kilometers away, is testament to the extent of the frustration they feel, as well as the lack of alternatives, since they claim that they have already requested a meeting with the Prime Minister of the FB&H NerminNiksic, but the Prime Minister has not responded to their requests.
While protests by disenfranchised employees in B&H is not uncommon, since the former workers of privatized companies in Tuzla who initiated protests nearly two months ago had been protesting for years in front of the cantonal government, this is the first time in B&H since the end of the conflict that protests are occurring en masse. Protestors are using different tactics, remaining resolute in their demands, and what they all share in common is their shouting for basic human rights. Political leaders are being put under immense pressure, and every protest that emerges represents additional pressure. The protests are not waning, and despite the fewer number of people who have been protesting in front of the B&H Presidency, the protests continue every day by a group that is the most persistent and vocal.
Now, employees of company Vitezit have warned that they would go on a hunger strike if their demands are not met and they have brought tents and are already camped out in front of the building of the FB&H government.