Jugoremedija is a pharmeceutical factory in Zrenjanin, Serbia that striking employees occupied from December 2003 to September 2004, subsequently winning in court a right to self-management. The workers protested the state's illegal changes in the early 2000s to the factory's ownership structure, which gave the private capitalist Jovica Stefanovic some 68% ownership of the factory and reduced the workers' share down from 58% to 32%. Stefanovic's public relations team complained the workers' occupation was “a rebellion, a state of anarchy”. His private army tried several times to remove the workers.
The 'personal security' inflicted severe injuries on a number of strikers. They even used trained dogs. One woman was badly injured, two women had dislocated arms and one worker received a blow to the head. In an incredible scene, women workers lay down in front of the security vans, and defended their factory.
Throughout the summer of 2004, Stefanovic's private army tried several times to take over the factory, but the workers, with breathtaking courage, kicked them out. Sometimes using their body to block the military vehicles.
In September 2004, Stefanovic's army and state police finally succeeded in evicting the workers, who were illegally fired and charged with disturbing the peace. However, in the summer of 2006, Serbian courts ruled that the state's ownership structure changes were illegal and restored the workers' 58 percent ownership in the factory. The workers announced plans to “begin work in our democratically run factory under worker control.”
In 2004, the workers joined with other factories and formed the Union of Workers and Shareholders of Serbia, which opposed privatization and called for a new state constitution allowing people to practice participatory governance through constituent assemblies.
- Andrej Grubacic, Don't Mourn, Balkanize!: Essays After Yugoslavia (Oakland: PM Press, 2010) 185-188.