This is the second day that coal miners in Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) entity are protesting over working conditions and announced changes in regulations that would result in salary cuts, and many locals, as well as some public figures, have expressed support for their demands.
Hundreds of coal miners gathered on Tuesday in front of the seat of the FBiH Government and said they will not leave until their demands are met. Some of them have spent the night at the site and locals have been bringing them food and joining them.
The miners halted production in all seven coal mines in FBiH.
Their demands include setting the minimum wage to 500 euro, bridging the years of service, and full implementation of their collective work agreement.
“My family keeps calling me constantly, they ask if I am cold. We are not giving up, we have blankets, we covered ourselves, but we will not back down,” said one of the miners, Jasmin Smajlovic, a father of two.
The miners say announced changes in working regulations would result in the miners getting their base salaries reduced to 570 Bosnian Marks and would represent a violation of their work agreement.
“We can barely even survive on our current salaries, not to mention if we would get 570 BAM,” Smajlovic said.
The popular Bosnian band Dubioza Kolektiv joined the miners as well on Wednesday.
Dubioza kolektiv na protestima sa rudarima pic.twitter.com/IypDmk8Gal
— TV N1 Sarajevo (@N1infoSA) November 24, 2021
Meanwhile, FBiH Prime Minister Fadil Novalic met with the FBiH Mining and Energy Minister Nermin Dzindic and the director of the public company Elektroprivreda, which owns the seven coal mines, Admir Andelija, to discuss the situation.
According to a statement from Novalic’s office, he demanded that salaries for production workers in the mines are not reduced in any case.