When a JKP „Standard“ accountant ends up working as street sweeper – a lawsuit filed against Rakic

Bojana Miletic from North Mitrovica, who worked as a bookkeeper at JKP Standard for years, was demoted to a street cleaner. In less than a year and a half, her job was changed three times, each time with a new demotion, despite Miletic being professionally qualified and claiming that she performed her job conscientiously. It is revenge of the director of the company, Goran Rakic, for refusing to participate in the party activities of the SNS and Srpska Lista, claims Miletic. Moreover, she testified that her superior, who is also the SL chief, allegedly threatened her and her family. She filed a lawsuit against Rakic and the company, accusing them of harassment and retaliation.

Miletic, mother of two girls, has been working at the public utility company „Standard“ in North Mitrovica for almost seven years now. She worked as an accountant in the company until the end of 2021.

Now, however, Miletic has been demoted to a street cleaner.

In her words, her refusal to be an activist and participate in the gatherings of the ruling party in Serbia, the SNS and Srpska Lista, ultimately resulted in her demotion.

How does an accountant end up a street sweeper?

Miletic got a job at JKP Standard almost seven years ago through the Youth Association. Before being becoming a bookkeeper, a significant part of her working hours included activism in the Serbian Progressive Party, that is, Srpska Lista, although she underlined that she was never formally a member.

„I worked in the offices of the Serbian Progressive Party, as an employee of the JKP. They often invited us younger staff members to go to the office and work. Lists of confirmed voters were made there, posters were prepared, I took part in that,“ she testified in an interview for KoSSev, noting that she felt obliged to participate in these activities as she did not have an employment contract. In the period from 2014 to 2017, she worked through the Youth Cooperative.

„That’s how I got a contract as a bookkeeper. I simply decided that I didn’t want to do that anymore, even at the cost of my job. That’s when it all began.“

Miletic received her latest employment contract as a street cleaner earlier this summer.

„My last contract arrived about 20 days after the gathering called the ‘Rally of Hope’ in Belgrade in May, even though on June 23 I got a six-month contract again, even though I have been working there for more than six years, now as a street cleaner.“

She alleged the fact that she was present in front of the municipality of Zvecan on June 20, when the citizens who have been protesting in front of the municipal building since the end of May, were visited and supported by the opposition MPs in the Serbian Parliament, Miroslav Aleksic and Aleksandar Jovanovic Cuta, also contributed to this treatment.

I was there, I was present and I think that sealed my fate

At the same time, she reminds that the employees of the JKP „Standard“, which is also the case with other Serbian institutions and public enterprises in North Mitrovica, have had a „work obligation“ to protest in front of the municipal building in Zvecan against the forcible entry of special units of the Kosovo Police since late May.

„I was also there on June 20, in order to provide support, above all to the deputies, who came to support us, the people of Kosovo. It was interpreted as it was interpreted – I’m not saying it’s wrong, because I support those people, but I don’t think that someone should be beheaded because I don’t agree with the politics of the ruling party.“

After this event, the decision to demote Miletic to the position of a street cleaner was only the tip of the iceberg.

In less than a year and a half, her job was changed a total of three times.

Bojana Miletić
First punishment

Miletic told KoSSev that in the fall of 2021, while she was still working as a bookkeeper, she was unofficially informed that she would be transferred to the position of hygienist in the city chapel in Rudare. The new chapel was under construction at the time.

„They wanted to punish me because I stopped doing party activities,“ Miletic argued, noting that she was not even informed about the changes regarding her employment.

She revealed that she worked at the chapel for only a week.

„After that, I refused to go there anymore. At that time, I lived alone with my two girls, the older one had health problems. I had to be in town, so that, if something happened to her while she was at school, I could be there in five minutes,“ she says.

Miletic specifies that she shared the reasons why she could not work in the chapel in Rudare with her superiors in writing, adding that they did not take them into account.

As a result, her salary was reduced by 20% for three months.

In late 2021, Miletic received a revised contract.

„From a bookkeeper, I became a hygienist – which meant being in the company’s premises and the chapel at the cemetery in Rudare,“ specified Miletic, adding that she agreed to this new position as she had to support her family.

„I did the best I could and knew, thinking that was the end,“ stated Miletic.

But the real trouble was yet to come.

Bojana Miletić
„You’ll see what’ll happen to you“

Miletic claims that during this period she did not see the director of JKP „Standard“, Goran Rakic, around because he „does not show up to work“.

Rakic is a high-ranking official of the Serbian Progressive Party and Srpska Lista, and a former official of local and central Kosovo institutions.

She says that she met Rakic in May 2022, at a village Saint Patron’s Day in Banjska, near Vucitrn.

„I tried to talk to him about this – what happened, why I was punished, for him to give me some sort of explanation,“ she said.

Miletic revealed that Rakic refused to talk to her, but that he allegedly said „a few words“ that she interpreted as „a direct threat to her life“.

„‘What is happening to you now in the company is nothing compared to what will happen to you,’ Goran Rakic told me. I was scared – both for myself and my children. The people around me know well how I acted for 10-15 days. I drove my children to school, picked them up from school, I never left them alone. The first thing that came to my mind was – ‘they will go after my children’. I took it really badly,“ stated KoSSev’s interlocutor.

Despite this, she says that she did not report anything to the police or any institution at the time, and her family and friends were the only ones who knew what was happening.

A quiet period followed. She says that she has not seen Rakic since then, and that she continued to perform her duties as a hygienist at the company.

That was the case until May of this year when she was handed a contract as a street cleaner by an official in the legal service – again without any explanation.

„No one ever explained this to me. Even when I asked for an explanation from my manager, he told me that I would have to talk to Goran,“ Miletic claimed.

It’s not shameful to be a street cleaner, but it’s shameful how I was given that contract

Bojana Miletic has been living under stress for months, which also affected pre-existing health problems, due to which she is reportedly unable to be a street cleaner.

„I don’t belittle the hard work of my colleagues, it’s not shameful to work as a street cleaner, I don’t shy away from it, any honest work. The way I was handed that contract is shameful. And in addition to all the health problems, I am unable to perform the duties of a cleaner, which I documented – I took my medical history to the company’s legal department.“

However, it did not bear fruit, and the decision remained unchanged.

According to her, changes in her career particularly affected her two daughters.

A photo Miletic published on a social network in revolt, showing her cleaning the street in the suit of a cleaning worker with a broom in her hand, caused an avalanche of comments.

Children can be particularly cruel, and my daughters literally ask me every day – „Mom, are you really going to sweep the streets?“

Miletic adds that she teaches her children that they should not shy away from any honest job, but she also understands that it is more difficult for her girls to understand, especially when they are surrounded by their peers.

Lawsuit against Rakic – harassment and seeking retaliation?

Almost two years after the first time she was punished and due to the refusal of the company to see her side, Miletic decided to solve the problem through the courts.

On August 10, she filed lawsuits against JKP „Standard“ as well as the director of the company, Goran Rakic, at the High Court in Leskovac.

I am suing him for harassment and retaliation, he is doing this to get back at me.

The lawsuit states that during the last few years, Miletic was „exposed to daily and continuous humiliation and violation of her rights from the employment relationship“, and that it is a matter of „very serious abuse at work“, to which she „did not contribute in any way“.

„The reasons are of a political nature and regardless of whether the defendant (cf. Goran Rakic) will admit it, only he, as the director of the company, is responsible for it. He is the inspirer and decision-maker and executor,“ the lawsuit states.

Miletic revealed that she previously tried to resolve the issue outside of courts by sending messages to Rakic, asking for a meeting.

„He just ignored them, he never answered.“

The journalists at KoSSev portal were also unable to get in touch with Rakic for a comment regarding Miletic’s allegations.

By the time the news was published, the SL chief had not answered our calls or messages.

I believe in justice, and if there is no justice, I will leave Kosovo

Miletic is now waiting for the process to start and hopes that the court will rule in her favor.

„I believe and hope that I will be returned to my workplace, but not only that, but that finally, after almost seven years of work, on the basis of a fixed-term contract, I will receive a contract for an indefinite period of time and that my professional education will finally be recognized which was promised to me when I signed the contract as an accountant with a high school diploma because there were no vacancies for a position requiring a university degree at that time,“ she says.

She emphasized that she performed her work as a bookkeeper conscientiously and that she did everything that was asked of her.

Bosses, managers, and work colleagues, if they want, can confirm this. However, I believe that none of them would dare to publicly support me

In case the court rules in favor of Rakic and „Standard“, the interlocutor of KoSSev announces that she will leave Kosovo with her family.

„I probably wouldn’t stay here. This summer I was on the verge of moving out of Kosovo,“ she added.

How can I teach my children to fight for themselves if I keep my head down?

Bojana Miletic stressed that she has the support of her friends and family in her fight:
„Not only friends, but fellow citizens meet me on the street, offer support, send private messages. They say that they support me, that many would like to do this, but that they do not dare. I am very grateful to them for that, this support means that I am not alone.“

She also alleged that some colleagues support her, albeit privately.

„They do not dare to do this, but I do. I felt obliged to speak out publicly. Who knows how many other people are suffering similar situations, but they think – ‘what can I do?’ Well, if we don’t start one of us at the time – then we won’t change anything.“

She added that did not dare to address the court until now out of fear.

„I just don’t have the right to remain silent anymore. How will I teach my children to fight for themselves tomorrow, if I bow my head down and let everything pass? I realized that this fear leads to nothing, nowhere, it just paralyzes and leads nowhere. I dared, sued and now we will see. I believe that this is such an obvious process and mobbing that I have no doubt at all that something can go wrong at the trial. I believe in justice,“ Bojana Miletic concluded in an interview with KoSSev.

Bojana Miletić

Preuzimanje i objavljivanje tekstova sa portala KoSSev nije dozvoljeno bez navođenja izvora. Hvala na poštovanju etike novinarske profesije.