Serbian army soldiers protest against low wages

November 27, 2016 10:30 pm
Serbian army soldiers have for the first time staged a protest in the capital, Belgrade, to express their anger over low wages and poor working conditions.
Nearly 1,000 people, including members of the Serbian army, police officers and army pensioners, took part in the protest that was held in front of the defense ministry building in central Belgrade on Sunday, the state-run Tanjug agency said.
The protesters carried banners that read, “ Trade Union” and “Police Trade Union of – always with its people.”
“If a Serbian solider cannot feed his family throughout the whole month while spending more than 250 days annually in the field, then this is a problem,” said Head of the Military Trade Union of Serbia Novica Antic during the protest.
According to the union, more than 75 percent of employees in the Serbian armed forces receive monthly wages lower than Serbia’s national average, which was 370 euros ($389) in October.
Antic said 1,000 people left the military this year due to low salaries and poor working conditions.
In a letter to President Tomislav Nikolic, the demonstrators also urged Nikolic, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces, to protect the soldiers.
The protest organizers vowed to continue demonstrations until the Serbian president and the Ministry of Defense meet some of their demands.
Defense Minister Zoran Djordjevic, who was against the protest, said only about 200 members of the army participated in Sunday’s demonstration, adding that he was “proud of Serbia’s army members for not joining the call of politically-motivated union leaders.”
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