We, the workers of Tuzla-based detergent factory DITA, have been fighting a wave of corrupt privatisation, exploitation and asset stripping that is destroying the industry of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
For over two years now, we have guarded our factory around the clock to prevent the removal of machinery and assets.
The process of privatisation of DITA was carried out in collaboration with corrupt politicians, judiciary and banks, which failed to carry out due diligence, and provided toxic loans to the new owners – money that never reached the factory.
Our country is suffering from lack of rule of law: criminal elites have pushed through amendments to the criminal code that mean there is no court that can try financial and trade crimes.
This legalised theft has denied us our basic human rights: we are over 40 monthly salaries in arrears, all of which left us hungry and destitute; we have been forced to watch our family members die because we could not afford medical treatment.
Now bankruptcy proceedings have begun. We are resolved to maintain the occupation of the factory and are refusing to recognise the authority of the trustee managing the bankruptcy unless the interests of the workers are protected, or new investment to reactivate the factory is found.
We are now at a critical point. Without outside support it may only be a matter of days before we are forced to build barricades and resist enforcement from special police forces.
We appeal urgently to the international Trade Union movement for moral and material support.
DITA factory workers, Tuzla, 16 April 2015
Emina Busuladžić, Head of the Strike Committee
Dževad Mehmedović, Shop Steward for the Union of Non-Metal Workers