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22 Feb 13

Strikes Force Out Belgrade Theatre Chief

The director of the Theatre on Terazije, a city-owned company known for producing musicals, has resigned under pressure from striking employees.

Nemanja Cabric
BIRN Belgrade
Mihajlo Vukobratovic: Youtube print screen

Mihajlo Vukobratovic, director of the theatre for 12 years, has quit after the Independent Union and the Union of Musical Artists demanded his resignation amid a second strike by actors on Wednesday, February 20.

 "There are several reasons for this decision, and the key one is that I do not wish to participate in the demolition of all the things we achieved together in 12 years," he said.

Vukobratovic said that some employees “suddenly started making claims” that he was trying to divide people working at the theatre.

Strikers claimed that of 151 people employed at the theatre, 81 belonged to the two unions that oppose Vukobratovic.

On the other hand, the management told Tanjug News Agency that there were only 141 employees, and that 71 of them were not members of any union, so the strikers were not a majority.

"I am resigning because I wish everything the best for this company. I believe that employees are not as divided as the two unions claim, and that most members of the artistic company have supported me for all these years," Vukobratovic said.  

Although Vukobratovic had already announced his resignation to the Strike Board, a strike went ahead before the performance of the show Glavo Luda, last Wednesday, on February 13.

Strikers repeated claims that the manager had brought their social and economic position into danger, as well as their health.

They said bonuses due for working overtime and for working state holidays went unpaid, as did funds for the maintenance of musical instruments.

Strikers also accused Vukobratovic of performing his job negligently, blaming him for a 13 million dinars (130,000 euro) fraud performed by an employee in accounts.

Strikers have sought Vukobratovic’s resignation since 2011, asking the city, its founder, to focus more attention on the theatre's future.

The manager of Belgrade's Atelje 212 theatre, Kokan Mladenovic, resigned in November 2012 following strikes by actors.

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