Post of Serbia workers protest in Novi Sad: “there is no surrender, we’ll be victorious”

Photo: András Juhász / Mašina

Postmen protested today in front of the main post office in Novi Sad. Post of Serbia workers don’t give up on their demand for better material position and fight against the increasing pressure exerted by management and the authorities.

Practically all of Novi Sad is in work stoppage, all postmen, couriers, drivers… Vojvodina has stopped, Belgrade has stopped, Serbia has stopped, there is no surrender, we’ll be victorious!

That was the message of the postal workers gathered at today’s protest outside the main post office in Novi Sad.

After the postmen rejected the government’s wage increase proposition on December 8th and decided not to accept salaries below the national average, the Post of Serbia and the authorities began to exert various forms of pressure on employees of the Serbian Post.

The speakers at today’s protest stated that three hundred postal workers were suspended in Novi Sad. The suspensions came after postmen refused to sign work orders. The Post of Serbia acted likewise in Zrenjanin, which we wrote about earlier.

They informed their co-workers that the management’s new offer is to lift the suspensions if the workers discontinue the stoppage. The postmen loudly rejected this offer and unanimously agreed not to give up their original demand for a better material position.

Photo: András Juhász / Mašina

The speakers at the protest also stated that it was understandable why some colleagues were afraid, and urged those who did not suspend work to do so.

We are here because of all the employees of the Post of Serbia, and their children. People, let’s stick together. We urge the colleagues who didn’t join the stoppage not to work against themselves, the speaker said.

Today’s protest was also supported by the Common Action “The Roof Over Our Heads” of Novi Sad. They explained why:

We believe that housing policy is not separate from other segments of society, and we believe that labor rights are also important for what we stand for. When postmen strike, the whole system may be in trouble and then various issues of public importance can be re-examined, said Luka Rudić of Common Action “The Roof Over Our Heads”.

After the speeches, the postal workers sang the song: “U svetu postoji jedno carstvo” (“There is an empire somewhere, in which friendship reigns”). In the context of the postmen’s fight, this song has a dual meaning. On the one hand, the refrain emphasizes the importance of camaraderie, that is, community and solidarity. On the other hand, it became the anthem of this strike after information emerged that Branko Kockica (the leading actor in Yugoslav children’s TV series featuring the song) was on the payroll of the Post of Serbia based on political connections, while not being a real employee of the company.

A.J.

Translation from Serbian: Iskra Krstić

This article was originally published in Serbian on Dec 12, 2019.

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