[Marxism] Serb eats own finger in wage protest

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Apr 28 15:44:49 MDT 2009


Serb eats own finger in wage protest

10:54 PM PDT, April 27, 2009

Belgrade, Serbia — A Serbian union official who chopped off his finger 
and ate it in a protest over wages that in some cases have not been paid 
in years said Monday that he did it to show how desperate he and other 
workers were.

"We, the workers, have nothing to eat. We had to seek some sort of 
alternative food and I gave them an example," Zoran Bulatovic said.

Bulatovic, a union leader at the Raska Holding textile factory in Novi 
Pazar in southwestern Serbia, used a hacksaw to cut off most of his 
left-hand little finger Friday.

Bulatovic said he decided to act after his deputy, "a single mother of 
three, was the first to say she would cut off her finger. I could not 
allow her to do that."

State-owned Raska Holding was a major textile producer in the late 1980s 
with a workforce of 4,000. It suffered during the collapse of the former 
Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and a loss of markets and mismanagement during 
a decade of wars and sanctions led to massive job cuts, leaving the 
company with just 100 workers.

Some employees have not been paid for years, collecting only social 
benefits, such as medical care.

About two dozen workers went on a 19-day hunger strike last year. They 
want the company's debt to be swapped for state-held equity and a social 
security program for those nearing retirement.

Bulatovic said his comrades would postpone planned self-mutilations at 
least until talks with government officials in Belgrade, expected today.

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