Bankrupt Mine Workers Block Roads in Montenegro

23 Jun 15

Bankrupt Mine Workers Block Roads in Montenegro

While the government seeks a buyer for the bankrupt Bauxite Mines company in Niksic, miners have blocked roads in protest over their unpaid wages.

Dusica Tomovic


As the Montenegrin government on Tuesday prepares a new tender for the sale of the bankrupt Bauxite Mines in the town of Niksic, hundreds of miners have protested over unpaid wages by blocking roads

The government is hoping to find a strategic foreign partner to revive what was once the largest manufacturer in the country, employing thousands of workers.

While awaiting the outcome of the fourth tender, miners last week launched their protest against the decision of the bancruptcy management to reject an offer of 4.4 million euro from the local Neksan company as insufficient.

The main road in western region has been blocked since Thursday when police clashed with about 200 miners heading towards Niksic on their machinery. Over 5,000 residents of 12 villages in the area have been cut off from Niksic.

After months of failed negotiations, government officials and Bauxite Mines union leaders met on Monday trying to calm the situation.

The government has now promised to hold a special session on Thursday to discuss welfare issues and bridging the gap with the workers.

Union leader Borisav Bojanovic said that the government had promised to do what it could but the Commercial Court was currently a key issue.

The producer, sold to the Central European Aluminum company in 2005, technically employs 314 workers but due to financial troubles operations have been on hold since 2011.

In 2013, the Commercial Court declared the company bankrupt on the grounds that it was 1.5 million euros in debt. Under the Montenegrin regulation, only the court can approve the sale.

“Any decision by the workers on removing the blockade on the road depends on the talks. We expect the President of the Commercial Court to understand this situation because, according to all indicators, he has been the key problem,” Bojanovic said. [meaning what? what do they want him to do???]

On Thursday, parliament will also discuss the protest, after 27 MPs initiated an extraordinary session to consider the current situation in the Bauxite Mines.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)