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Bosnian Serb Teachers, Police Protest Pay Cuts

Bosnian public workers march in Banja Luka on November 30.
Thousands of teachers and police officers have demonstrated across Bosnia-Herzegovina's Serbian entity against a 10 percent pay cut planned for public workers next year.

It is the first major protest in years against government spending cuts.

The government has drafted an austerity budget for 2013 of $1.3 billion, a 7 percent rise on the current year's spending only because of the costs of its growing foreign debt.

The budget, set to be debated next week by the parliament, cuts the public-sector wage bill by almost $38 million, a move that labor unions say is unacceptable.

Some 40,000 public-sector employees joined a one-hour strike on November 30.

The average monthly salary of teachers and policemen in Srpska Republika ranges between $500 and $700.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP