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Bosnia-Herzegovina: Seven workers injured at GIKIL after explosion

16 August, 2018While workers were repairing amoniac and tar containing boiler, an explosion happened on 3 August 2018 at the coke producing company GIKIL (Global Ispat Koksna Industrija d.o.o.) in the city of Lukavac with a result seven workers were seriously wounded. GIKIL is a partnership between Global Steel Holdings (GSHL) and Coke and Chemical Conglomerate (KHK) owned by the Government of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Most of the suffered workers are members of an IndustriALL Global Union’s affiliate Independent Trade Union of Chemistry and Non-Metals Workers of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Union representatives visited the injured workers and offered support and solidarity.

According to the reports provided by the workers in shock, it was a miracle that they managed to survive the terrible accident as tar from the boiler as well as water poured over them from high above their heads. The reasons are still to be investigated, but very bad health and safety working conditions have definitely caused the accident.

Due to cost reducing measures, the company has recently increased the number of tasks per worker and per shift, even at some instances, two jobs were merged into one. Often, these jobs were very delicate and dangerous, demanding constant control over compressors, where a minor mistake could result in a fatal explosion.

In reply to the imposed changes, the union urged the company raising the issue of deteriorated working conditions and asking to arrange jobs in a better way, however the company failed to reply.

Following its leadership committee meeting, the union announced its demands at a press conference:

  • Addressing cantonal and federal labour inspection to get their report on the accident, demand to investigate the cause of the accident and make those guilty accountable.
  • Due to extremely poor health and safety conditions at GIKIL d.o.o., urging cantonal and federal prime ministers for a meeting to discuss urgent and considerable improvements of working conditions at the company, including reduction of number of tasks per worker;
  • Demanding urgent investment into modernisation of each job and protection of health and lives of GIKIL workers as well as environment.

The union denounced the Government of Tuzla canton, as one of the company founders, as well as members of the supervisory board and management of the company, who paid no attention to the poor conditions and danger faced by GIKIL workers.

Valter Sanches, General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union, addressed the Prime Minister of Tuzla Canton, demanding “to vastly improve health and safety conditions at GIKIL Lukavac.”

Sanches also demanded “a thorough investigation of the accident. The outcome of the investigation must result in immediate corrective measures and overall improvement of health and safety conditions at GIKIL Lukavac, in strict accordance with European standards. In addition, GIKIL Lukavac should reduce the number of tasks per worker.”