Major Victory for Worker Recovered Factory “Jugoremedija” in Serbia

Dear comrades, allies, and supporters,

A major victory for worker’s rights and struggles in Serbia has been 
won following a 9 month factory occupation and a 2 and a half year 
strike by the workers of Jugoremedija in Zrenjanin, Serbia. On 
December 14, 2006, the Belgrade Higher Economic Court reaffirmed the  June 2006 ruling of the Zrenjanin Economic Court that the 
recapitalization of the Zrenjanin-based pharmaceutical factory 
Jugoremedija be repealed because it was carried out illegally through 
the illegitimate manoeuvres of businessman Jovica Stefanovic Nini to 
attempt to gain majority ownership. This means that the ownership of 
the workers has now been restored to their rightful 58% of the 
company shares. With this decision, Jugoremedija is set to become the  first factory amongst the “transition” countries in Eastern Europe 
undergoing neoliberal privatization to be recovered and controlled by 
its workers.

The worker – shareholders have called for a shareholders assembly for 
December 30th at the Jugoremedija premises, in order to appoint a new  board and management. But Jovica Stefanovic Nini, who remains owner  of 42% of the factory, is now obstructing the enforcement of the  Court’s decision and attempting to block the assembly by force. On  the same day that the workers sent him an invitation letter to attend  the assembly, Stefanovic rehired the same private security forces that provoked the incident in August  2004 while the workers were occupying and protecting the factory  premises, which led to the intervention of the Serbian police that  forcibly expelled the workers from their factory. Stefanovic has not  yet formally responded to the invitation to attend the assembly, but  the fully armed private army now stationed around the factory stands  as a clear answer.

The workers are determined to go through with the December 30th 
assembly. This will be the first time they enter their factory in 
over two years, after they were forcibly evicted by Serbian police 
and Stefanovic’s private army in August 2004, and then replaced by 
new employees. In June of 2006, following the lower court decision 
repealing the illegal recapitalization of Jugoremedija was reached by 
the Zrenjanin Court, Vladimir Pecikoza, a leader of the Union of 
Jugoremedija, made assurances on Serbian national television that 
there will be no revenge or retaliation taken against the workers who 
have been working for Stefanovic once the workers-shareholders take 
back their factory.

Association of Worker-Shareholders of Serbia

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