Prime Minister of the Republic of Srpska Zeljka Cvijanovic spoke yesterday in Banja Luka with the President of the Association of Trade Unions of the Republic of Srpska, Ranka Misic and members of the Presidency of the Trade Unions Association.
Prime Minister Cvijanovic said that the joint goal of the Government and the Trade Unions of Republic of Srpska was a strong and wealthy Republic of Srpska and well-paid workers.
“It is important that the minimum wages in the Republic of Srpska has increased to BAM 440 and our goal is to increase the minimum wage in the next year to BAM 500”, the Prime Minister said and added that it was important that the salaries in both public and private sectors were increased which would be the goal to strive for in the next year.
“There are grounds for such expectations since in the last six to seven months the number of employees has increased. The coverage of imports by exports has increased from 71 to 75 percent and our economy is competitive. The debt in the gross domestic product accounts 41 percent with the goal being 38 percent and we are certainly heading in the right direction”, Prime Minister said and stressed that the salary regulations system was very demanding work.
The Prime Minister further stated that it was urgent to eliminate the abuses related to the payment of salaries and to that end the work of inspections should be strengthened although they are doing much better than in the previous period.
The Prime Minister of Republic of Srpska expressed regret that the general collective agreement in the Republic of Srpska has not yet been concluded.
“It is hard to explain that the problem of the leave allowance cannot be overcome. We will insist on this issue during the talks with employers and the trade unions because this right is addressed in many areas”, the Prime Minister said and added that there were no debts for other allowances such as transportation, birth of the child, death of a family member, jubilee fees, etc.
Prime Minister Cvijanovic stated that the Government of Srpska and the Unions have common commitment to constantly increase the number of workers.
“The Government has given up BAM 60 million of budgetary funds to be benefit of the workers’ salaries. Workers must tell us whether their rights are abused and whether some of the wages are received in envelopes while the joint task of the media, institutions and the trade unions is to raise awareness and to point to shortcomings”, Prime Minister Cvijanovic said.
President of the Trade Unions Association Ranka Misic emphasized that although the first step in the salary increase was made such a trend should be continued.
“The first step is made, but we need well-paid workers, because otherwise the business community will be left without them. The salary increase will have full meaning when we continue this business”. Ms. Mišić added.
She stated that it was necessary to sign a general collective agreement.
“We have no problem with the Government but with a part of the business community. The question on which we have stopped is a leave allowance. I think we have enough arguments that we can agree on its amount because the general collective agreement is important as a mechanism for suppressing the grey economy”, Mišić pointed out.
According to Ms. Misic certain issues from the Memorandum of Cooperation signed by the Trade Unions and the Government were brought to an end but the issue of salary system must be opened and the problem of misuse of the institute of the lowest wages should be solved.
“We asked for negotiations to continue on equalization of coefficients and salaries of the teaching staff. From January 1 next year, we expect workers in education to receive higher salaries”, Ms. Mišić said and added she expected to see changes to the collective agreement pertaining local self-government as well as amendments to the Labor Law to be made next year.
At the meeting, it was agreed to allocate 5.6 million KM from the Social Welfare Program for the Workers.
The meeting was attended by Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Srpska, Dane Malešević and Minister of Justice Anton Kasipović.