The Federation of Trade Unions of Macedonia organized the biggest workers' protest on May 1 under the motto WORKERS ARE THE STATE.
A large number of workers, trade unionists, unions, citizens, pensioners, and young people came to the streets and loudly said that without the workers there is no state.
Some of the participants in the protest also talked about increasing the working week for the workers who will be hired for corridors 8 and 10-d, saying that they will not allow a return to the 19th century. They told the participants that instead of taking pictures with helmets and vests, they should go out and see if they can work for 60 hours in the sun.
The membership protest, supported by citizens, started in front of the SSM headquarters, continued to the Parliament, and ended in front of the Government. They told the deputies and the executive power that "an increase of 2,000 denars a year and 2,000 denars a day is not the same" and that "Workers are the state" - as was the slogan of today's protest on Labor Day.
"Long live May 1, long live the Macedonian worker, even though those behind us don't want to respect us. The Macedonian worker with a 2,000 denar salary increase cannot last the month, and someone with 78 percent can spend the month leisurely and nicely. That's why I say from here, we as workers do not give up. As for them, so for us, let them reduce the salaries and we will not demand. But the intention is to increase the salaries of all workers because we see the kind of time we live in and how much that money is needed. They can shop in markets and stores and lie to us that the prices are reduced, but we are there every day and that does not happen. That's why I call on the Macedonian worker, pensioner, people, to come out and unite and say "no" to those who don't think of us, who only see themselves," said the president of SSM, Darko Dimovski.
The president of SSM, Darko Dimovski told the government that the officials "raised their salaries by 78 percent, and they convince us that 2,000 denars is enough for the Macedonian worker to survive".
- With two thousand denars the worker cannot last the month, while some spend the month leisurely and nicely with 78 percent. We, the workers, do not give up - both for them and for us. Let them reduce those salaries and we will not ask. But the intention is to increase the salaries of all workers because we see the kind of time we live in and how much that money is needed. They shop around and lie to us that the prices are reduced, but we are there every day and that does not happen. I call on the Macedonian worker, pensioner, people, to come out and unite and say "no" to those who do not think of us and only look out for themselves, said Dimovski.
He said that they are not raising the workers' voices only today, but the struggle continues tomorrow.
- We have work meetings where we will clearly state the General Collective Agreement: K-15 for all, 78 percent increase for all, said the union leader.
Vice President of the SSM for the Public Sector and President of the UPOZ Union, Trpe Dejanovski, asked for which labor the representatives of the Government increased their salaries by 800 euros during the highest inflation.
– And what did we get from that? For thirty-two years we have seen them paying per diems and travel expenses, and for 32 years the Macedonian worker has received nothing. Two thousand denars increase per year, two thousand denars increase per day is not the same, 2,500 euro salary and minimum wage are not the same. Union minimum basket of 51 thousand denars, so who can survive? Who receives those salaries in Macedonia? We have to get even, we can't accept anything but the same salary calculation that they take. They cheated the entire legal system with the decision of the Constitutional Court, they raised salaries during the biggest inflation that has hit our country since independence. We cannot survive for a month, and they justify themselves and justify the decision of the Constitutional Court that it was possible for them but it was not possible for us. As workers, we must be united, and unique. Believe me, they are afraid of us. Every day we have to go out to protests to get ours said Trpe Deanoski.
He said that the workers should be united and united and come out every day to protest to get what they want.
Today's protest, he said, must be just the beginning of a great union spring. There must be unity to fight for workers' rights because everyone is leaving the country.
- This must be the beginning of a great trade union spring, we must be united because there will be no one to heal and defend them, no one to educate our children, and no one to write laws and solutions. Everyone left this suffering Macedonia of ours, they went to build other people's economies. They will introduce and import workers from abroad, and what do we lack? Everywhere the Macedonian worker is appreciated as the best quality worker, only we do not cost them. Well, it can't be anymore, said the president of UPOZ.
And they told the MPs that instead of people, "more and more people are elected by non-people" and that the workers remember everything they do and don't do for them.
We came to tell you clearly and loudly that we will not work 60 hours a week, don't take pictures of me with helmets and vests, here they are, come with us to the front lines and we will work together. Come and see that it is not possible to work in this sun, as you think from your comfortable armchairs. How are you not ashamed of the bread you bring home from the sweat of this worker now that he is sending you those messages, said the Vice-President of SSM for the private sector and President of SGIP, Ivan Peshevski.
The president of the Construction, Industry and Design Union (SGIP), Ivan Peshevski, said that MPs should not forget that "from our sweat, they eat their bread and feed their families".
In front of the legislature, he left a construction helmet and urged the deputies to work 60 hours because, he said, "we fought for 40."
- For us, there was not even an 8 percent salary increase. We don't forget the Bill for the 60-hour work week either. If they think that we are slaves and will die on the construction sites, I invite them to build with us, Pesevski urged.
Igor Gerasov from the Union of Industry, Energy and Mining (SIER) added that with the sixty-hour work week, they are regressing the rights that were chosen 137 years ago by the American workers.
- In the 19th century, on this day, our colleagues in America organized precisely for this, to reduce the working time to 40 hours per week. We will not allow in the 21st century, after 150 years, to return the Macedonian worker to the 19th century. If necessary, we will be in front of the Government and the Parliament every day, Gerasov said.
Let all these representatives understand that we will not allow all our youth to go abroad on the backs of Macedonian workers in the coming period. Believe that today May 1 is the beginning of the next period, they are not aware of what labor union hell awaits them in the next period. Together we are stronger here, emphasized Igor Gjerasov, President of SIER and Vice President of SSM Free Economic Zones.