Time: 9:11 p.m. CEST
Photography, videography and story by Aleksandra Dukovska
Bajram Kjamili and about 300 workers of the “Jugohrom” factory of village Jegunovce in Tetovo arrived in Skopje with organized transport to protest. The workers requested opening of their factory, temporarily closed upon environmental concerns.
The workers stopped the traffic close to the courthouse area in Skopje for about 40 minutes.
In the cold weather in Skopje, Kjamili, other workers and representatives of the unions requested of the State inspectorate for environment opening of their factory.
Video of “Jugohrom” workers protest in Skopje on November 24, 2016.
“Jugohrom” factory management closed the factory again this fall upon unfulfilled request of the Ministry of environment for the necessary filters in the factory premises.
But, for the workers who also breathe the same polluted air, their factory is not the main polluter in the area. Aside the pollution, their worries are for their salaries in the period of the factory temporarily closure.
Kjamili warned on the economic concerns for about 700 workers, who are on temporary leave after the factory closes its work during the winter because of the absence of the filters. He called the inspectors to review the ban on the factory work.
“We started to work,” Kjamili said, explaining that they are also working on the building of filters. You can see if you come to the factory, Kjamili said, and to see that we started to build “platform.”
Kjamili said they are asking of the government to continue with their work, while building the filters.
“We cannot forget 700 workers,” Kjamili warned and said that, “700 workers feed other five family members.”
The workers, together with the representatives of the Union walked out to the offices of the State inspectorate, passing by the new and old buildings in the center of Skopje.
When arrived at the State Inspectorate, representatives of the Union entered the offices to deliver their request.
The meeting, with some of the state employees ended without results and representatives of the unions only informed the workers that in the absence of the institution director and general inspector, the public administration workers in the Inspectorate promised they would only pass the workers requests.
Pece Atanasovski explained that “we were able to do is to turn in our requests” and asked “to speed up the procedure.” “Jugohrom” factory appealed the Inspectorate decision for the factory closure.
In the cold, breathing polluted air in Skopje, Bajram Ameti, representative of the factory union, explained that they are calling the management to speed up the building of the filters.
“I am sure that we are going to end all things about the filters,” Ameti said, optimistically.
The workers slowly walked toward the vans to return in Tetovo, disappointed with the developments, and some argued with the representative of the union saying that they would coming each day until the final solution.
Later, the Minister for environment, Bashkim Ameti talked to the press separately of today’s protests of Jugohrom workers, and encouraged the management of the factory to acknowledge the request of the workers while the process of building the filters endures. Ameti also called the management to speed up the process of building the filters.