Exploitation in Split: University students tricked by Montmontaža – Plinovodovod

Croatian students struggling for their wages.

Submitted by Iskra on December 6, 2012

A group of about 40 university students from Split employed through the Student Employment Service spent their summer working as temporary workers on the construction of the Skradin-Šibenik gas line have yet to receive their wages. The contractor, Montmontaža – Plinovodovod, owes them a sum of about 218 000 kuna. After their story was made public through the media, they were contacted by the Split Solidarity Network and solidarity actions have been announced in both Split and Zagreb. They have released the following statement:

40 students from Split spent their summer working at Plinovodovod-Montmontaža on a student contract on the construction of the Skradin-Šibenik gas pipeline.

Work conditions were extreme: we worked for 13 hours in the scorching heat (temperatures reached 40 °C on some days), with only 3 litres of water for about 15 people and no protection whatsoever. Despite all that, we did the job, hoping that the money we earned would helps us pay our tuition fees, etc. However, no payment has been made to this day. The Student Employment Service gave up on the whole case, regretting only the loss of its 17% commission. This was done on the basis of a clause in our contracts which states that the Student Center holds no responsibility in case of unpaid wages. At the same time, the company's management and our employer have been constantly ignoring our demands, despite the fact that salaries were paid through sister companies to workers with a permanent contract.

Perhaps we are but a small fraction of the 70 000 people working without a salary, but this must in no way mean that we accept the situation as it is. Perhaps 40 people and 200 000 kuna mean nothing to the owners (like Zdenko Lalić), fans of the well-known scenario of driving one form into financial blockade by transferring the money to sister companies and thus leaving the workers stranded, but to us, our salaries are what make studying and living a normal life possible. For this reason, we appeal to every person in a similar situation and to those considerate enough to support our demands to joins us and help us fight for our rights. It saddens us that we are forced to go through this as only 20-year-olds. It saddens us that the general public remains silent while so many people are going through the same.

Solidarity actions were held at noon on December 3 in Zagreb and Split.
Protest e-mails can also be sent to Montmontaža – Plinovodovodi
[email protected]
[email protected]