Bosnia and Herzegovina: Forestry workers protect rights amid COVID crisis

26 March 2020 09:08

The Independent Trade Union of Forestry, Wood and Paper Processing of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Forestry workers trade union) has taken a two-pronged approach to protect its members from COVID-19. First, the union has taken measures to maintain contacts with company level shop stewards and union members. Second, the union has called on employers’ associations to provide concrete proposals and other urgent measures that could be implemented to address the pandemic, in partnership with the government and trade unions.

The BWI affiliate also called on its members in company level trade union committees, as well as shop stewards, to formally write to their respective employers reminding them to observe workers’ rights in the workplaces and respect the workers’ desire to exercise their rights in accordance with the law. The union also instructed its members to get the commitment of employers in providing them regular financial updates. It also requested union representatives to monitor and share information regarding employers’ efforts to coordinate with the government for support, and if possible, close ranks with them.  

Moreover, the union stressed that union representatives should urge their members to be responsible for their own health and be mindful of others as well; and adhere to the measures and recommendations issued by institutions to protect public health and safety. 

It was reported that the forestry workers’ union and the Commerce Workers Union proposed measures to employers’ associations on how to protect the health, safety and livelihood of workers during the pandemic. Some of these are: tax payment and social contribution exemptions, full payment of wages, salary increase for workers who work at least 10 percent and non-termination of employment contracts.