Union Boss Eats His Finger

  user8 12:28 28 Apr 2009

A Serbian union official has chopped off his finger and eaten it in a protest over wages to show how desperate he and other workers are.

"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.

"It hurt like hell," he added.

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

Mr Bulatovic decided to act after his deputy, a single mother of three, said she would chop off her finger.

"I could not allow her to do that," he explained.

State-owned Raska Holding was a major textile producer in the late 80s with a workforce of 4,000.

But it suffered during the collapse of the former Yugoslavia in the 90s.

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 at the factory have not been paid for years, only collecting social benefits, like free medical care.

Last year, about two dozen workers went on a 19-day hunger strike.

They want the company's debt to be swapped for state-held equity and a welfare programme for those nearing retirement.

Mr Bulatovic said his comrades will not back down from their demands.

However, he said they will postpone planned self-mutilations at least until unions have held talks with government officials.

  bluto1 21:41 04 May 2009

Real hunger might have had him eat anything softer.
Try this for size. I actually hate Trade Unionism. I lived through the 2nd World War as a youngster and joined the R.A.F as soon as I could.
I left at the age of 40 and sought work. My first job was working in a carpet making factory and I was soon asked to join the union. I asked for a rule book and about 6 months later one was given to me in great ceremony in the canteen. I read through it and found that a regular deduction was to made from a members wages and paid to the local Labour MP. I found that there was an opt out and exercised it and submitted my application.
On payday the next week the union had deducted this levy and back dated it to the day I joined the firm, not the union. I went to a solicitor, took his views, on paper, to the Union Rep and said that If the union did not return every single penny in cash by the time my shift ended that I'd have no alternative to taking them to court. To cut it short I received my money delivered to my house. I did not pursue joining that union. I thought it was corrupt and said so at the time.

  laurie53 08:16 05 May 2009

As I've said before, I spent forty years in the forces.

The day I started work in civvy street I joined a union.

I'm still a (retired) member.

When I used to get a justified`H&S complaint my first question always was "What does your union rep. say?"

It was not unknown for me to ask a union rep to take something up if I knew that that management would not take much notice of me.

There were, and `are, undoubtedly abuses, but over their lives they've done more good than harm, and there's still a place, and a necessity, for them in the 21st century.

  Stuartli 18:29 05 May 2009

Yes, when they first came into being, unions were needed and very much so.

Over the years there came a level of parity between the majority of unions and employers but, eventually, the unions became far too powerful and actually created more problems than they solved.

I well recall my late father then a works manager) telling me in the 1960s that unions' restrictive practices would eventually ruin businesses and he was proved right.

You only have to consider the rise and then fall, for instance, of the National Graphical Association and the National Union of Mineworkers to appreciate the eventual outcome.

  egapup 19:27 05 May 2009

I think what Thatcher done to the mine workers was far worse then anything the union could have done.

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