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Bosnia & Herzegovina: BHRT Workers to Go on Strike

After an extraordinary meeting of the BHRT trade union, which represents workers at the Bosnian national broadcaster, it was decided to begin the procedure of organising a strike and to immediately launch criminal charges against the general manager of BHRT, through the legal representatives of the union.

The Management Board of BHRT sent a statement to employees yesterday, informing them they will receive part of the June salary by the end of this week  depending on the amount of funds collected by August 18th. They claim that the rest of the salary will be paid as soon as possible.

They pointed out that the total amount of television licence fees collected through BH Telecom decreased significantly in 2017, which made settling a number of obligations concerning BHRT employees, including two net wages.

“The situation should be stabilised and improved after the new method of charging BHRT charges through a deal with Elektroprivreda BiH ends on September 1”, declared the Management Board. This deal will see customers pay their television licence through their electricity bills. However, this only applies to a small area of the country.

The BHRT trade union issued this statement after their extraordinary meeting:

“We continue to request for a replacement of the CEO because in the meantime nothing has changed in our relationship to this issue. The signing of an agreement with Elektroprivreda, no matter who has interpreted it, is not the merit of the general manager. We repeat the demand for announcing the amount of management’s receipts, The management is obliged to do so at a time when we ask the public for support for the survival of the company. We consider it unacceptable that this team, primarily those in the direct production sector of the program, live on the verge of existence. We urge them to clarify who is in the interest of people who have an obligation to point out all social events and processes, and thus to anomalies and negative phenomena, are professionally represented by BH Telecom.”

BHRT workers have not received their last two salaries packages, and for months they have not been able to certify health booklets, nor are they paid pension and disability insurance. The broadcaster has been dealing with large amounts of debt in the past few years, which almost lead to its shutdown in June 2016. After their contract with BH Telecom expired, members of the Bosnian Parliament failed to find time to solve this problem at parliamentary sessions. Due to this difficult situation, many workers went on annual leave and the number of workers was reduced.

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Eurovision participation was also affected. The country withdrew from the contest between 2013 and 2015 due to financial problems. They returned in 2016 after securing sponsorship for all participation costs but withdrew again from last year’s contest. As previously reported, it is unlikely that the country will participate in the 2018 contest.

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Bosnia & Herzegovina debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1993, at the time the country was at war with Yugoslavia, with the singers having to leave Sarajevo under the cover of darkness to make it to Millstreet, Ireland. The countries best result in the Eurovision Song Contest came in 2006 when Hari Mata Hari made it to the final in Athens and finished 3rd with 229 points, the country received eight sets of 12 points, more than any other country. Bosnia last participated in 2016 where Dalal & Deen feat. Ana Rucner & Jala finished 11th in their semi final and failed to reach the final.


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