Desperate worker sets himself on fire

Mile Cavic fullfilled his ominous promise (photo:Standard)

Belgrade - Mile Cavic (49), one of the workers of  "Veterinary institution Glutin" who protested over unpaid wages, fulfilled the terrible promise and set himself on fire this Thursday, exactly at 10:30 in front of the government building. The tragedy was avoided due to the fast reaction of his colleagues that took away his remaining gasoline and his jacket that has caught fire. None of them knows the faith of another worker Milos Kovacevic, who also said he would commit suicide, because his cell phone is closed.

- You don't let me set myself on fire, but you can not stop me to throw myself off a bridge - Cavic shouted, trying to escape the grip of three colleagues who were trying to restrain him.
- I can not go back home, I have nothing to go back to. This morning I borrowed some money for the bread, I can no longer live like that.

Cavic has worked as a driver for 31 years in the biggest Serbian company engaged in the collection and destruction of animal waste from slaughterhouses. He lives with his disabled mother age 74, in a small house built on credit, which he is no longer able to pay. When, after his attempt of self-immolation, a police patrol appeared and asked him for his documents, together with his ID card he shoved a bunch of bills to their hands.

- They are shutting my electricity, water, telephone - desperately repeated Cavic.
- My mother is ill, an I can not even call an ambulance. People, they drove me into a corner, I have no other options... Why no one wants to receive and hear us out?

- We'll all end up like this - whispered a female worker Sava Gajic.

Ambulance, which arrived, gave Cavic first aid on the spot, because he refused to go to the ER. He agreed to take a sedative, and after some time in the company of colleague, with a police vehicle he was taken to the investigating judge.

- People, last night the government negotiator called me and promised to see us today and get the problem solved and now they won't let me get into the government building - trade unionist Desimir Rodic addressed the gathered in anguish.

- The police told me that from this day we are no longer allowed to gather in front of the government, otherwise we will be arrested. But we must not give up, the Government is our founder, they must eventually receive us.

Disappointed workers listened in silence, gathered in groups around the lowered banners, pots and bleached bovine bones. Around noon, the worker who has escorted Cavic to the police station, returned.

- The judge questioned him, and then they took him to "Laza Lazarevic"(a mental institution) - said Rasikić Mile.

- We are hungry, and they make us crazy!

Around two in the afternoon in front of the government building, Cavic reappeared.

- The psychiatrist asked me why I tried to kill myself. I showed him the bills and asked him what choice do I have. They gave me an injection and let me, because I promised them I would wait another 48 hours for our delegation to be received. If, untill then, no one receives us, I will kill myself.

Fire has already claimed one employee

During last year's protests of workers of "Veterinary institution Glutin" another worker, Juras  had threatened to kill himself in front of the TV cameras.

- Immediately after the strike we prevented him from hanging himself - says the director Rajko Čuturilo.

- Unfortunately, soon after, he was found on fire in his room. The investigation found that he was previously drenched with gasoline. It is not known whether he killed himself, or if it was his wife who ignited the fire.

Original article in Serbian:

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