The main postal center in Zemun is again blocked after workers suspended work last night. Postal workers arriving from several cities organized a protest the previous evening in front of the Zemun GPC to express dissatisfaction with the management and authorities who did not respect the pay increase arrangements.
Self-organized workers of Post of Serbia have launched a new strike in their company as they are dissatisfied with the management’s proposal in regards with the increase of salaries.
Representatives of the workers’ negotiating group have been trying to get an offer from the management for several months, all in vain. After being given a seven-day deadline to state their position on the matter, the Post’s management has proposed a linear model of 10% pay increases for all employees. The workers did not accept this offer and instead decided to hold a previously planned protest.
Vladimir Đokić, a Post worker and one of the members of the workers’ negotiation team, commented the course of negotiations for Mašina:
Postal service prices have been increased since August this year to raise funds for wage increases intended for the financially disadvantaged workers. However, they [the management] suggest a 10% linear increase. We are absolutely against it. It doesn’t make sense to increase the salaries of those who earn 28 thousand dinars (238 €) and those who earn 160 thousand dinars (1362 €) by the same percentage. We propose that the most vulnerable workers receive the largest increases, and that those with the highest incomes receive the least.
As Mašina found out, in addition to GPC Zemun, work has been suspended in the main centres in Niš and Novi Sad. In Zrenjanin, the work of the post office is almost completely blocked, since the counter clerks joined the shutdown. The post offices did not work in Šid, Smederevska Palanka, Šabac, Lazarevac, some post offices in the centre of Belgrade, in Savski Venac, New Belgrade and Zemun municipalities. However, as we learn from our sources, since the strike is self-organized, new units and departments of certain post offices are constantly joining.
Although the strike has only just begun, the leadership, taught by previous experience, immediately started pressuring the dissatisfied workers. As we found out, administrations of all post offices received a memo asking them to keep records of workers who refuse to carry out their tasks.
A self-organized strike in the Post of Serbia was also conducted during March this year. It also included a number of shutdowns which disrupted the functioning of the Post. The government appointed Nebojša Stefanović, minister of internal affairs, as a negotiator with the workers and an agreement was reached on March 30th. A working group formed according to this agreement (in which workers’ representatives took part) was supposed to submit a proposal of a wage increase plan to the government by the end of November. The working group failed to deliver.
Following the launch of the most recent strike, government officials have scheduled an emergency meeting of the negotiating team for Wednesday. However, that meeting has been postponed to Friday. The workers will decide on the further course of the strike after being informed of the results of the abovementioned meeting.
Translation from Serbian: Iskra Krstić
This article was originally published in Serbian on Dec 3, 2019.