Specialized welders working on the Turkish Stream gas pipeline in Serbia are earning between 4,000 and 7,000 Euro a month, Belgrade daily Blic said on Monday adding that those salaries have attracted some welders back home from well-paid jobs abroad.
“The welders working on the 50,000 tons of pipes for the 403 kilometers of gas pipeline through Serbia were working on foreign construction sites until recently,” Blic said. The Gastrans company which is building the pipeline offered those specialized licensed welders much better conditions than they had in the European Union – welders whose work is checked by X-ray get paid 7,000 Euro a month and get free room and board. The daily said that several dozen of them came home for across Europe, attracted by the pay.
A welder identifed as Jovan N. told the daily that he left the country after the Termoelektro company closed down. “Sadly, Serbia has gone from a country of skilled workers to a country of managers and it’s almost impossible to find a skilled welder. I left Serbia to work on gas pipelines in the Netherlands and Denmark for a salary of some 5,500 Euro,” he said, adding that he learned of the job openings at the Turkish Stream pipeline from the Italian company where he worked.
Certified engineer Ranko Sekic told the daily that the high salaries were a way to bring in the workers the company needs to build the pipeline. “Most of the experts that could be working on this project left Serbia long ago,” he said and added that this should be a lesson to the authorities to train specialists.