Doctors and other medical workers in the Muslim-Croat half of Bosnia went on strike Monday, demanding better salaries and regulations in the health sector, their union said.
Some 22,000 doctors, nurses and others said they will treat only urgent cases until there is a new plan that will equalize salaries, pensions and other benefits in the entire federation is adopted.
"Health workers asked citizens for understanding and solidarity, so that we can, with joint efforts, force the federation government to finally take seriously the problems in the health sector and create a new action plan to solve them in the entire federation," the union statement said.
Medical workers in Bosnia have an average salary of EUR400 (US$540) and the salaries in each of the federation's 10 cantons differ.
"The difficult financial situation of some of the doctors in the federation has put doctors on the edge of pure existence," the union said.
Federation officials declined to comment on the strike, which will continue until an action plan is created, according to the union.
The peace agreement that ended the 1992-95 war left the country divided into a Muslim-Croat federation and a Bosnian Serb mini-state. Each have their own government, ministries and police and are linked only by joint state institutions, like the country's three-member presidency.
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