VIDEO: Decent wages and equal treatment were demanded by the employees of the Ministry of Culture at a protest in front of the Government

Protest of culture employees/Photo: Sloboden pechat/Dragan Mitreski

With whistles and shouts, the employees of the Ministry of Culture came out to protest in front of the Government this morning, with a request for an increase in their salaries as well, after an increase was placed on the accounts of their colleagues from the Ministry of Finance. Without a collective agreement, these employees in cultural institutions and in the Ministry will not receive higher salaries than their colleagues from the public administration.

- The state must not have double criteria for employees in the same category, in the same group, who are under the same law. The Ministry of Finance, cheating the system, passed a law on budgets that provided for salary increases only for a certain category of employees who are in the same category as the colleagues who are protesting today. We demand the same for all employees, said Trpe Deanoski, president of UPOZ.

The employees of the Ministry of Culture, the Film Agency and the Cultural Heritage Administration came out to protest in front of the Government today. In the previous days, they protested in front of the Ministry of Finance and persistently demanded a meeting with Minister Fatmir Besimi, who did not find time to listen to them, after he raised the salaries in his sector under the pretext that employees were leaving because of too low salaries in the public sector.

- We demand a minimum 30 percent raise for all employees from the three union organizations of the UPOZ union or the signing of a Collective Agreement as the colleagues from the Culture Union have done, that is, in the culture activity, says Deanoski.

Cultural workers remained on the margins with the lowest salaries from 18.000 to 30.000 denars, that is, the highest salary in this sector, according to Deanoski, is 33.000 denars, and the responsibility that these people have is much greater than the rest of the employees in the public sector. The payment of such monthly incomes, these employees consider to be undignified, so they demand equal treatment of all civil servants.

-More than 70 percent in the Ministry, that is, 90 percent of the Administration for the Protection of Cultural Heritage receive below the average salary, that is, on average about 25.000 denars. What we are asking for is the consent of the Ministry of Finance to sign a Collective Agreement at the level of the employer and thereby realize our rights based on an average increase of 30 percent, analogous to the salary increase for employees in the Ministry of Finance, said Irina Dimovska , member of the executive board of the union at the Ministry of Culture.

She emphasizes that the Ministry of Culture administers the work of a total of 68 national institutions in the field of culture and 49 local institutions.

- Newly every year we conduct contests to which more than 5.000 users apply. At least half of them are the subject of an agreement, we conclude agreements with them, we follow them further. So the scope of the work of the employees of this Ministry of Culture is extensive. That's why we appreciate that we deserve equal treatment with others. This is how we are put in an unequal position in relation to our colleagues from the Ministry of Finance, the Parliament, and we will remain until our demands are met, says Dimovska.

The employees in the cultural sector believe that their request is dignified and with the Collective Agreement finally valorizing the work of all employed professionals in the Ministry of Culture in a ratio as in other ministries where there is a salary increase.

- We think that the state, the institutions of the system will be able to accept our request in order to be treated equally by all civil servants in all ministries, the president of the trade union organization at the Ministry of Culture, Branko Kostovski, is decisive.

But the whistles and appeals of the cultural administrators did not reach the Minister of Finance Fatmir Besimi, and today neither did his colleagues from the RSM Government.

-Negotiations have been very difficult lately, because there seems to be no social dialogue and social partnership. Here is the sixth day of protests, the Ministry of Finance does not receive us, I think it will not receive us and will have to radicalize the protests. Today we are in front of the government, the vice prime minister, the prime minister or anyone who can talk to him about these issues may receive us, but for now, even though we send them requests for a meeting, we do not have a positive answer, said Deanoski.

They are determined to continue the protests until the final fulfillment of their demands.


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