After many years, the public institution Health Centre of Canton Sarajevo decided to get uniforms for its employees. Apparently, a commendable move, because medical workers and staff will no longer have to fend for themselves for work clothes. However, the joy was short-lived.
The requested material specification, as well as the appearance of the uniforms, according to the opinion of the Health Workers’ Union KS – Basic trade union organisation of the CS Health Centre, does not meet the standards and needs at all, and even represents a “health threat to the safety of the employees of JUDZKS, as well as the citizens of CS”.
Written by: S. KARAICA/Fokus.ba
This was stated in the letter addressed to the general director Abel Baltić, directors and head nurses/technicians of individual organizational units of JUDZKS, as well as heads of departments and responsible nurses/technicians, as well as the membership of the Union.
At the end of the year, the public institution Health Centre CS concluded a contract on the procurement of uniforms for employees with the company Greensoft doo from Zenica. The criterion for awarding the contract was the lowest price, and the accepted offer was 341,450 KM without VAT (399,496 KM with VAT).
The tender was announced on August 5, 2022, and the estimated value of the contract was 341,880 KM, or 430 KM more than the one offered by Greensoft. Although in the original notice, it was stated that the agreement was not reserved, on the same day a correction was published which defined that “The contract is reserved only for candidates, that is, bidders who employ, in relation to the total number of employees, more than 50 per cent of persons with disabilities, and who cannot perform tasks under normal conditions”. Everything is in accordance with the law, but still risky.
– The Law on Public Procurement, as support for persons with disabilities, enabled reserved contracts, that is, contracts intended for bidders who employ, in relation to the total number of employees, more than 50 per cent of persons with disabilities, and who cannot perform work under normal conditions. Although we do not have specific data on the number of abuses, there is certainly a risk of abuse of reserved contracts – Slobodan Golubović, the editor of the PratimoTendere.ba portal, told Fokus.
The deadline for receiving bids was September 6, but another correction was published on October 14, extending this deadline to October 24.
Two bidders applied for the tender, the already mentioned Greensoft doo Zenica and Inkos export-import doo Kakanj, whose offer was about 150,000 KM lower and amounted to 245,232 KM. However, this second offer, as it was said, did not meet the minimum formal-legal and technical conditions from the tender documentation.
The subject of procurement were blouses and trousers with shirts for doctors, 860 pieces each, then blouses, trousers and shirts for nurses/technicians, 1,180 pieces each, and uniforms for drivers, hygienists, porters, and technical services.
What is particularly controversial for employees is the composition of the material from which these work clothes will be made. Namely, the specification required that only T-shirts have a composition of 100 per cent cotton, and everything else is as much as 65 per cent polyester and only 35 per cent cotton.
TRACES OF COTTON
In the letter of the Union, which Fokus obtained, and the authenticity of which was confirmed by the senders, it was stated that “they will not enter into the method of selecting suppliers”, but in accordance with the FBiH Occupational Safety Law and the Law on the FBiH Employees’ Council “we have a legal basis for expressing dissatisfaction and opposition to this decision of the JUDZKS, which we also consider a health threat to the safety of the employees of the JUDZKS, as well as the citizens of KS”.
– We hope that everyone who participates in the procurement process of these uniforms is aware and clear that they must be made of material that withstands the temperatures of sterilisation and destruction of microorganisms, given that it is a potentially infectious material, that they must be breathable and prevent excessive sweating because our jobs are not static, but are performed with dynamic movements – it is stated in the letter of the Union.
Also, it was requested, among other things, that the supplier be asked for a fabric that would meet the safety minimums proposed in their address (anti-static fabric, shrink-resistant, Anti Pill, breathable, anti-bacteria-material, 100% cotton density: 108 x 58).
Based on these employee complaints, we investigated the tenders for the procurement of uniforms from some other health institutions in order to compare the specifications. Indeed, we have made sure that, for example, the Clinical Center of the University of Sarajevo procures uniforms for its doctors and nurses/technicians from fabric that is made of 100 per cent high-quality combed cotton.
We asked the management of the Health Centre CS for a comment on the Union’s opinion and an explanation as to why the Procurement Notice was amended twice. In the reply signed by director Abel Baltić, it was stated that immediately after the publication of the Notice, a technical error was noticed, that is, “in the application of the portal of the Public Procurement Agency, it was not marked that it was a reserved contract”.
– Given that the public procurement plan for 2022 foresees the procedure in accordance with Article 9 of the Law on Public Procurement as a reserved contract, and that the tender documentation also indicates that it is a reserved contract, that is why the change was made. Furthermore, the extension of the deadline for the submission of bids and the public opening was also the reason that an appeal was submitted to the tender documentation, which was forwarded to the Office for reviewing appeals, and after the Office’s decision, a new appointment had to be scheduled – the answer states.
In connection with the objections of the Trade Union, the Health Centre told us that the bidder submitted a laboratory analysis report to Bosnainspekt doo Sarajevo, “which stated that the offered material is composed of 65 per cent cotton, 35 per cent polyester in the tender documentation and is acceptable for making uniforms for employees, and ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 certificates were also delivered”.
However, the question arises as to why a sample of material whose composition is completely different from that which will be used for making uniforms was submitted for analysis and how the laboratory could write that it corresponds to the tender documentation when this is not the case. Was the permutation deliberate or accidental? Let us remind you that the tender documentation requested the material twill 65 per cent polyester and 35 per cent cotton.
Also, in contrast to the tender published by KCUS and what, according to insiders, is a standard procedure, PI Health Centre did not require bidders to submit a sample with a material declaration along with the bid. In addition, Fokus sources claim that the value of the work is unrealistic and is many times higher than the market price, but due to the reserved contract, a large part of the bidders had to give up participation in this public procurement.
The tender documentation also states that bidders must be registered to perform activities that are the subject of public procurement. In the Register of Business Entities (bizreg.ba) there is no activity information for Greensoft, while on the Public Procurement Portal, it is stated that its main activity is “laundry production”.
DIRECTOR FROM THE PEOPLE AND JUSTICE LIST
And a few more words about the company that won the job at the tender. In 2019, Greensoft doo Zenica had one employed person and 19,000 KM in income, from which they received less than a thousand KM. A year later, the company had 13 employees and a total income of 217,607 KM, and a comprehensive profit of about 3,300 KM. During 2021, the number of employees increased to 14, revenues to about 234,000 and profit to 13,000 KM. If we compare it with the value of the tender, it is clear that Greensoft will earn a little less money for this work than for three years of operation.
The founder of the company from Zenica is Pharmacy&Bio doo for production, sales and services in Sarajevo, and the director is Refik Šarić. However, in the text published in June 2020 on the Greensoft website, Hatidža Šarić-Tufekčić is mentioned as the director.
– We produce all types of medical work uniforms and equipment for clinics and hospitals. In addition, we produce cloth diapers for babies, sanitary napkins for women, tufters for nursing mothers and other programs for babies such as: bedding, pillows for nursing mothers and pregnant women, anti-colic pillows, and we are currently also producing masks” – said Šarić-Tufekčić, who is a Turkologist by profession.
She added that before starting the business, she worked as a translator for some time, but she wanted to work for herself, to have working hours adapted to her family and obligations in addition to work.
We do not know when and why the management structure was changed.
However, we know that Hatidža Šarić-Tufekčić is a member of People and Justice and that she was on the candidate list of this party in the 2022 elections for the Zenica-Doboj Canton Assembly.
She received 323 votes, and in her spare time, she takes photos with the party’s president, Elmedin Konaković.
Vijest CS Dom zdravlja (Health Centre) acquired uniforms that are “a threat to the safety of employees” se prvi put pojavila na sljedećem linku: Fokus.ba.