The only motor oil refinery in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), which is owned by Russia, is losing millions and is facing lawsuits from former workers.
The accumulated loss of the Refinery in Modrica at the end of September of this year amounted to more than 109 million BAM (about 55 million euros), according to the financial report published on the website of the Banja Luka Stock Exchange.
According to the Trade Union, 186 people currently work in the refinery, and there were 540 at the time of privatization in 2007. Since then, the refinery has been majority owned by the Russian company ”NeftGazinKor”, which is engaged in the production and trade of oil and oil derivatives.
Problems started with privatization
”The entire municipality of Modrica lived off the refinery. It seems to me that there were 900 of us when I started working. Everyone was helped, and funds wre given for sports and local communities. Since privatization, everything has gone from bad to worse and the refinery can no longer help anyone,” says 55-year-old Djordje Vidakovic.
He is one of the eight workers who sued the refinery in February of this year due to the termination of the employment contract.
”They gave us tests, I guess to see if we know how to work. This actually meant that we were forcing each other out of work. We didn’t agree, we signed and handed in blank papers. They fired everyone and hired three people who had never been in that position,” Vidakovic adds.
Jovica Milankovic was dismissed from work a year ago as well, after more than 20 years of work at the refinery. Today, he is at the employment office and is among the workers who sued the company.
”On the papers, it says that we were fired due to economic reasons. Other people are now sitting in our workplaces. The refinery is a ”milk cow” and there is money. The world used to enter it with a smile, but now it’s like going to a funeral,”Milankovic stated.
Dismissal of workers without warning
Until April of this year, Milijana Sabljic was employed in the personnel department of the Modrica refinery. She says that she was fired without prior discussions or warning from the management.
”The new systematization just came to my hands and I saw that my job position was not available. They assigned it to a man who had graduated from the seminary, and they did not offer me any alternative,” she said, Radio Slobodna Evropa reports.