Kreka Coal Mine in Tuzla is in an extremely difficult position. The miners state that the situation has never been worse, and they are forced to threaten the management with a strike now and then. Promised investments have not been realized, production is declining, and young workers are resigning.
The Kreka Mine is one of the largest collectives in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) with the largest coal production in our country. However, there are many problems in two surface mines and a lignite mine that now are unable to meet the production plan.
Kreka is located in the concern of Elektroprivreda BiH, and the announced restructuring of the mine and the systematization of jobs are assessed by the miners as inhumane and unfair. Among other things, because of that, together with other chambers from the FBiH, they will hold a protest march on May 1st this year in Sarajevo. Along with the frequent strikes, they consider this one of the ways to solve the accumulated issues.
“The situation in Rudnik Kreka has never been worse. The lack of realization of the investment phase worth 158 million BAM has led to the fact that miners cannot achieve a production result that would be adequate to respect the branch collective agreement. We are currently achieving approximately 80 percent of the total plan. These days, the daily production is between four and a half and five thousand tons of coal, while it should be a thousand tons higher,” said Zuhdija Tokic, president of the Kreka Coal Mine Trade Union.
Strikes as a way of fight for wages
In the Mramor lignite mine, coal is mined by hand using the 100-year-old method, and two surface mines, Djurdjevik and Sikulje, are also desperate for new equipment. Tokic notes that the worst situation is in Dubrave, where rubber conveyors are in a catastrophic condition.
“We would not be able to function without the help of Elektroprivreda BiH, and every month the miners announce a strike to ensure compliance with the branch collective agreement. Last Friday afternoon there was a drama in the mine, the salary was paid at the last minute and it stopped the announced strike for Monday. We are aware that in this situation where there is no clear and precise investment in equipment that will offer more humane working conditions, there is no more room for improvisation, ” the interlocutor continued.
Currently, the miners are worried because of the announcement of the restructuring of the mine, which also envisages the systematization of jobs. In Kreka, 2.100 employees are now employed for an indefinite period, while 49 people are employed in production with contracts for a definite period. According to Tokic, the planned systematization directly endangers 500 jobs. He also points out that the miners will not allow “cutting over the knees”.
“We must be told precisely how the restructuring is intended. We are aware that it is no longer possible with the current way of working, but we will not allow inhumane dismissal of workers, sending people to the bureau without a fixed length of service. It is necessary to perform qualification, additional service accrual, incentive severance pay, etc. for those people who can not be allocated to the existing systematization. What is currently offered to us is unacceptable, miners are waiting with fear and anxiety that someone from the FBiH Government or Elektroprivreda BiH will shape their fate overnight and we as a union we do not want to participate in that, ” warns Tokic.
There will be no one to go down into the pit
The union also states that in three years, Kreka will be left without 500 workers who will meet the conditions for retirement, and without adequate work organization, there will be a problem since there will be no one to go down into the pits.
“Even now, we have come to a situation where almost every month a dozen young people, who can work, resign and leave the mine. When you come to the mines nowadays, you only hear from them that they cannot wait for retirement, incentive severance pay, and similar things. Due to the stories about possible bankruptcy that are evident these days and were placed by Elektroprivreda BiH, the fear is even greater “, Tokic adds, Klix