- Category: Content
- Published on 04 October 2012
- Written by Dzelal Hodzic
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Written by: Dzelal Hodzic
The essence of existence of a union is to protect workers’ rights. In the Republic of Macedonia, there are four syndicate confederations: SSM, KSS, UNASM and KSOM.
These confederations consist of branch syndicate unions. None of these four union confederations had a public reaction that would protect workers from the recent rise of prices, increases that seriously weaken the workers’ pocket that is already thin.
Except if they consider as an appropriate reaction their short press releases without any essence whatsoever, which would have been funny if the whole situation wasn’t that tragic.
Do the workers need this type of unions who are silent to the price increases, or if they don’t need them, then, who needs them?
SSM is the largest syndicate organization in the country. They include 18 syndicate organizations. Taking this into account, they have the major responsibility of true reaction (except with the press-releases without essence). While SSM was responding as they thought they should, a civic initiative called “AMAN” appeared and called the people to the streets to protest peacefully until the reduction of the prices of electricity, steam and gas happens.
During the protests “AMAN” got public support only from UPOZ , a branch syndicate of SSM, and the Independent Syndicate of Journalists and Media workers. The trade union confederations SSM, KSS, UNASM, KSOM still do not come out with a stance: do they support the protests of ”AMAN” against the price increases or not? Is their silence perhaps a sign of approval of the price increases?
This provokes my interest to see can they be even more silent to the rising requirement of the public for their response. So, in this context, I will ask the following questions to a part of the SSM branch unions. Does Zivko Mitrevski , president of SSM and a president of the branch syndicate of the foresters also, believe that these increases do not touch the foresters? Does the president of the branch union of workers in textile, leather and shoe industry, Angjelko Angjelkovski, think that the textile workers, which are among the lowest paid workers, can survive this expensiveness? Does Pece Ristevski, president of the mining branch syndicate union, consider that the miners can afford paying their huge heating bills? Does the president of the branch syndicate union of construction workers, Pavel Trendafilov, consider that construction workers’ salaries are high enough to sustain these price increases?
Whose interests are being protected by Robert Simonovski, president of the energy and economy syndicate, the interests of EVN or of EVN employees? Does Mirjana Hadzi Skendeva, president of the branch union of trading workers, believe that merchants are satisfied with the new prices of gas and electricity?
Who knows, after the unions did not react even when the Helsinki Committee publicly expressed doubt on the legality of the recent price increases approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission, perhaps these questions will encourage them to come up with clear and loud stance. Or maybe they will follow the position of the Union of Independent Syndicates of Serbia, who urged the citizens to massive protests, if their government does not return the prices of major food products and energy like they were before within two weeks.
After all this, one can conclude that the existence of a syndicate who fails to protect workers’ rights has no point! Therefore I will call upon the unions to stop being silent for the price increases and to the violation of workers’ rights. I will call upon the syndicates to be syndicates.
(The author is an activist, part of the civil initiative AMAN. The text was firstly published on the website a1on.mk. We re-publish it on AKTIV with small proofreading intervention, and with author’s consent)