No breakthrough, railroad still blocked

10 December
LAPOVO — Workers from a construction company in Lapovo, central Serbia, continue to block the Belgrade-Niš railroad for the fourth day.

The GIK Prvi Maj protestors are still camping on the tracks demanding payment of eleven overdue wages, news agencies are reporting, and are determined to continue with the blockade until their demands have been met.

Earlier reports mentioned that the owner of the privatized company owed them thirteen wages.

They also want new jobs for the company, and payment of their pension insurance to be made.

The workers and their union representatives yesterday met with Deputy PM and Economy Minister Mlađan Dinkić, but their meeting did not resolve the situation.

The union said that the meeting went “in a fair manner and without false promises being made”, and that Dinkić assured the workers that he would advocate a solution to the problem.

Dinkić for his part said that he “completely understands” the protesters, but that “even so, further endangering of their lives and blockade of the railroad traffic cannot be allowed”.

He said after the meeting that the state cannot pay debts of private employers, but that it should ensure that “the law applies equally to all”.

Dinkić also stated that the company owner saw to his obligations after the privatization, “so the state’s powers to intervene are limited”.

However, the minister noted that the owner “has big assets and can pay his debt to the workers”.

Yesterday, Serbian Railways reacted by saying that the damages incurred by this public enterprise would have to be paid by the GIK Prvi Maj owner.

The Lapovo station, which has been blocked for four days, sits on the international rail Corridor 10.

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