Specialized welders working on the leg of the TurkStream gas pipeline in Serbia are earning between 4,000 and 7,000 euro a month.
Such salaries have made some welders come back home and leave their well-paid jobs abroad.
The welders working on the 50,000 tonnes of pipes for the 403 kilometres of the gas pipeline through Serbia were working on foreign construction sites until recently. The Gastrans Company, which is building the pipeline, offered specialized licensed welders much better conditions than they had in the European Union – namely, welders whose work is checked by X-ray get paid 7,000 euro a month and they also get free room and board.
A welder whose name is Jovan N. said that he left his previous company Termoelektro after it closed down:
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“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 a month,” he said, adding that he learned of the job on the TurkStream pipeline from the Italian company where he worked.
He adds that such a high wage was not the only reason why he was working on TurkStream.
“The challenge is the technology applied by Gazprom to the piping systems here, which is one of the latest in the world. This experience also qualifies me for other jobs in Europe.”
Certified engineer Ranko Scekic explained that the high salaries were a way to bring in the workers the company needed to build the pipeline. “Most of the experts that could be working on this project left Serbia long ago,” he said and added that that should be a lesson for the authorities to invest more in training specialized workers.
Scekic adds:”We use special technology (on TurkStream) that cannot be used by people working in a welding shop, but only by those who can use and apply state-of-the-art welding technology and can meet the high standards of this pipeline.”
This post is also available in: Italiano