The ETUCE Bureau confirmed its unwavering solidarity with the Independent Trade Union of Primary Education Workers of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ITUPEWBH) following a fact-finding mission on 13-15 February 2019.

In the wake of this mission, the Office of the Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) had circulated a letter to the ILO, ITUC, the EU-Delegation to the FBiH and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in BiH, containing false information about the statement of the European Director which she gave at the press conference during the ETUCE mission in Sarajevo in February 2019.

The ETUCE Bureau deplored particularly that the government had circulated the letter addressed to the European Director without the basic courtesy of sending the letter directly to her in the first instance.

Criticising the attempts of the Government of the FBiH to discredit ETUCE and the support to its member organisations in BiH, the ETUCE Bureau replying to the letter from the government, underlined that at the press conference in Sarajevo, the European Director had declared ETUCE’s strong commitment to support an independent trade union movement in BiH without governmental interference as well as a meaningful and effective social dialogue. In addition to this, the European Director expressed ETUCE’s astonishment that the Economic and Social Council of the FBiH (ESC) had not met for the last 15 months. Concluding from this statement a direct and biased accusation of the Government was an interpretation of the statement made. The ETUCE Bureau requested the Office to rectify the information that it had circulated.

Susan Flocken added, “ETUCE’s engagement for a strong, meaningful and effective social dialogue in Bosnia and Herzegovina remains unbroken. Social dialogue is an important instrument to further improve the education system and working conditions of education staff. The provision of quality education by virtue of continuous and direct involvement of those who represent the profession and, thus, the recognition of independent education social partners is a must. In light of threats, false accusations and obstacles for the autonomous and independent functioning of trade union movement in the country, ETUCE continues supporting its member organisations in BiH and demands the ending the persecution of trade unionists in BiH. ETUCE continues monitoring the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to support social partners”.

Furthermore, considering the Conclusions 2018 of the European Committee of Social Rights the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina does not conform to Article 6 -Right to bargain collectively, Paragraph 1 -Joint consultation (page 23) of the European Social Charter [...] which states that “it has not been established that joint consultation is sufficiently promoted” [...], ETUCE calls on the Government of the FBiH to comply with the chapters of the European Social Charter that it ratified on 7 October 2008.