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Bosnia health workers protest for rights, wages amidst pandemic

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The union of health workers in the Herzegovina-Neretva region also set up a large tent in front of the regional government building and said they would camp there until the government has met their requests.

Reuters

PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 07:30 PM IST

Hundreds of health workers took to the streets of the southern Bosnian town of Mostar on Monday in protest over a long-delayed collective bargaining deal, threatening a hunger strike amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The union of health workers in the Herzegovina-Neretva region also set up a large tent in front of the regional government building and said they would camp there until the government has met their requests.

The government has been delaying the signing of a collective bargaining deal with health workers for 18 months and the workers have been on strike since December.

The workers, who have been under heavy burden during the coronavirus pandemic which claimed 4,576 lives in Bosnia as of Monday, request better work conditions and higher wages. The government says their requests are not realistic.

On Monday, the protesters called on government officials to talk to them and requested the resignation of the regional health minister.

“I think this is a unique case in Europe of how the health workers have been treated,” union president Dalibor Vukovic told N1 television.

“Nobody has talked to us for the past 18 months… Unless they remain indifferent, we shall start a hunger strike.”

Hundreds of citizens joined the protest walk in support, donning masks but failing to keep physical distance.

(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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