By: Bojana Jankovic
Lapovo, Nov.19, 2009 (Serbia Today) - On Tuesday morning, long before the sunrise, a group of 120 laid off workers from the privatized construction conglomerate Prvi Mai (May 1st) blocked the Belgrade – Nis railroad. Located in Lapovo, a small town located in the Sumadija district of Central Serbia, Prvi Maj was a producer of construction materials, including finished concrete and gravel.
Union President Novica Markovic said that the workers have decided to block the railroad track all day if talks do not begin with government officials for solving the problem.
The company was sold in 2006 for RSD 82 million ( EUR 880,000) and the majority owner is Novi Sad-based Autovojvodina. Problems have persisted as the new owners have not taken definitive steps to resolve outstanding wages and other benefits that are owed to the idled workers.
In July this year workers obtained promises from the government that the unpaid wages, taxes, and contributions to pension and health insurance would be paid. These promises have yet to materialize, reported Serbian new service B92.
“We sent a letter to the government on November 10 with a demand to fulfill the agreement immediately, which was reached in July for the payment of wages, benefits and the start of production,” said Markovic.
This is the fourth time that Prvi Maj workers have blocked the railroad, since protests started earlier this year in April.