Vucic: FAP will not be shut down, solution by March 1

Vucic: FAP will not be shut down, solution by March 1

Serbia's First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Thursday evening that the Priboj-based manufacturer of trucks and buses (FAP) will not be shut down, but rather restructured, adding that by March 1 a strategic partner will be found and workers will receive a minimum pay.

FAP workers ended on Thursday a three-day blockade of the railway station in Priboj, southwestern Serbia, on the rail line between Belgrade and Bar (Montenegro), where they protested over long overdue salaries, expired health cards and lack of work.

"The state cannot tolerate a halt in railway traffic, which cost us RSD 25 million for only three days," Vucic told workers after a meeting with the FAP management, representatives of the strike committee, and Rolf-Juergen Seyerle, CEO at Mercedes Benz Serbia.

By 2015, FAP is expected to be profitable, the first deputy prime minister said, announcing the forming of a working group with the aim of finding a solution for the factory.

According to Vucic, all problems will have to be resolved by March 1, instead of June 1 as previously planned.

Vucic said for Radio-Television of Serbia that authorities are trying to find a strategic partner for FAP that will set up a sustainable business.

As Tanjug learns unofficially, Mercedes officials are expected to assess whether that German car maker could utilize FAP's capacities in any way.

FAP is the only manufacturer of heavy duty vehicles, which was founded in 1953.