Civic Associations Offer Solutions to Growing Poverty26. February 2014 - 22:11 — Dejan Georgievski
The “September 8” Initiative yesterday, February 25, 2014, presented its demands to the Government of Macedonia to cover the electricity bills for the socially vulnerable families and to relieve the poorest citizens from the obligation to pay participation of in the costs of medical care and medicines.
Within its proposed measures to reduce the growing poverty in the country, “September 8” demanded that proper accommodation is provided to children from poorest families so they can get proper education, and also demanded that poorest families get preferential access to temporary employment.
“We find it outrageous that the number of families on the welfare recipient list has dropped by 30,000 families between 2006 and 2012, while we can see with our own eyes that poverty has only grown throughout the years”, said Dželjo Hodžić from “September 8” at the conference for the media held yesterday in front of the Government of Macedonia.
Hodžić emphasized that the demands result from the meetings and debates with the citizens that “September 8” and the Macedonian Platform Against Poverty organized in many cities and towns all over Macedonia. The initiative also annouced the #5to12 protest “Dignity March” for Saturday, March 1, 2014.
One day earlier, on February 24, the left-wing movement “Solidarity” presented to the public its analysis that demonstrates that workers laid off due to receivership and bankruptcy procedures against their former employers could be helped without it being an insurmountable burden on the state Budget.
“Solidarity” agrees that the news Law on Compensation of Workers Who Lost Employment due to Bankruptcy of their Employer will provide material security to just a fraction of all workers of companies that went down and that the requirements they have to meet to qualify for compensations are defined in a way to just make an impression that their problem and plight will be resolved.
“The Government estimates that the new Law will cover about 3,000 persons. The workers themselves claim that the legal provisions are restrictive and that far less people will be able to meet the legal requirements to qualify for compensation”, “Solidarity” said in a public statement.
“Solidarity’s” own calculations (the analysis is availble, in Macedonian, on the movement’s website) show that paying compensation to all bankruptcy workers will need about €13mn per year, which is just .46% of the 2014 Budget.
The bankruptcy workers expressed their dissatisfaction with the new Law in a protest held on February 18. During the protest, there was an incident after they tried to break through the police cordon in front of the Government building. The police intervened – the intervention brought about many accusations of excessive use of force – and it briefly detained the leader of Bankruptcy Workers Association “Unit” Liljana Georgievska and Vasko Cacanovski, activist of “Lenka” Movement for Social Justice, and roughed them up. After spending some time in a police van, they were released after the intervention of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Macedonia. (Source: RadioMOF)
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