By Medina Malagić – Sarajevo
On Tuesday, 21 May around 2,000 employees in the primary and secondary education system in Sarajevo Canton will hold a protest rally and will have the support of the Sarajevo Cantonal Committee of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions, Trade Union of Sarajevo Canton and Police Union of Sarajevo Canton
They will gather tomorrow to express their dissatisfaction with the Sarajevo Canton government and to demand the following: Respect of the law and collective agreements, respect the principle of equality and a standard wage policy, elimination of discrimination towards employees in education and payment of salaries worthy of their profession and the regular payment of wages.
Faruk Beslić, President of the Union of Secondary and Higher Education of Sarajevo Canton implored the government to stop the discrimination and injustice.
‘’The issue is not about money any longer. It is about the dignity of our profession. This is a difficult job and we are honest people. We want discrimination and injustice to stop. We have suffered this discrimination for years’’, said Beslić.
He said that the 2,000 employees that will gather tomorrow to hold a protest rally represent 1/3 of the 6,000 employees in the union.
The Union accuses the government of Sarajevo Canton of creating a deficit of 120 million KM and is demanding for those responsible to be held accountable for their actions.
According to the Saudin Sivro, the President of the Independent Union of Secondary Education, “The Minister of Finance was in the last session of government when the deficit was made. In the last several years we had three Prime Ministers. They are the ones who should explain who spent that money. Tomorrow we will begin things from a deadlock”.
Saudin Sivro ensured that they would not cause any disturbances at tomorrow’s rally. He reiterated that children are not guilty for this situation, and that they are not taking the children or the citizens of Sarajevo as hostages. The purpose of tomorrow’s protest is for employees in the union to express what they feel and what they think.
“We want a better future for education, for the children and for our honorable profession. We are not alone any longer. This gathering has garnered the support of the police. Until now, no one has said that they do not approve of the way in which we will express our satisfaction’’, said Sivro.
The protest rally will be supported by the Union of the Police of Sarajevo Canton, and a number of members of this Union will join the Union of Employees of Primary and Secondary Education for tomorrow’s protest.
Regarding the next possible steps, Sivro said that they are ready to organize massive protests along with the cooperation and participation of other unions, citizens of Sarajevo and the nonprofit sector.
The Union warned that a strike is also possible if the protests do not produce the desired outcome. They would go on general strike with the support of other unions. This would lead to bigger problems, and President of the Union of Secondary and Higher Education of Sarajevo Canton Beslić said that if this happens, the school year will ”not finish normally”. Students would not be able to register for high school and university.
Beslić also stressed that they are asking the government of Sarajevo Canton to submit a report to the prosecution organs that would reveal who spent a large sum of money from the budget and created the large deficit.
He said that it is a shame that the time has come that employees have no choice but to ask for their rights on the street, and is an indicator of how much the goverment respects the employees.
The protest rally is scheduled start at 11:00 and last until 13:00.