Civil Servants Sued Government over Pay Difference

Employees from several government agencies have filed private lawsuits with the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina against the state in which they demanded to be reimbursed for pay difference in the past 2.5 years.

The lawsuits read that the BiH Council of Ministers has illegally decreased the base pay for the employees in the state institutions for 27 KM a months, starting July 2009.

Court of BiH officials confirmed to the reporters from the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN) in Sarajevo that the state was sue, but said they did not have data on the number of lawsuits.

Lawyers Mirsad Tatarević said that he alone was representing 500 employees and that other lawyers are representing more employees.

The court is hearing some of the lawsuits, but has not handed down a ruling so far.

The basis for the lawsuit is BiH Council of Minister’s resolution about the decrease of the salary base from 535.50 KM to 498.10 KM. The decision has been applied since July 2009.

According to the Law on Salaries and Reimbursements in BiH Institutions, the Council of Ministers may decrease the base salary if it establishes that the country is in the state of economic instability. However, the base has to be decided upon every year.

Salaries in BiH institutions are calculated by multiplying the base with the coefficient which is defined by education and skills as well as the complexity of the employee’s job. The biggest coefficient of 10 have members of the BiH Presidency, while the lowest – between 1 and 1.08 – have employees with the lowest education.

Tatarević and Damir Katica, lawyers who are representing the civil service employees, say that there was no basis for passing such a resolution, since the state of economic instability was not declared in BiH. They also added that the BiH Council of Ministers did not establish the base salary for 2010 and 2011.

Fuad Kasumović, deputy finance and treasury minister of BiH, said that the Council of Ministers has made a mistake because it has passed a resolution on the base in 2009. alone.

According to Dževad Nekić, deputy Chief Auditor of the Supreme Audit Office of BiH Institutions, said that the lawsuits have no basis because the decision did not mention until when it would be enforced, but only that it was going to be enforced with the date of publishing.

Jure Bilić, the president of the Independent Union of State and Police Officials and Employees in BiH, said that the lawsuits were filed by individual employees of the Indirect Taxation Authority in BiH, Parliamentary Assembly BiH, State Investigation and Protection Agency, Ministry of Defense, Border Police, the System of Unique Personal ID and the Agency for Work and Employment in BiH.

According to the records from the Civil Service Agency in BiH, there are between 22,000 and 23,000 people employed by the agency.

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