Danube blockade threatens Serbian diesel supplies
* Blockade may lead to Euro-diesel shortages - NIS
* Workers of shipping company demand overdue wages and benefits
BELGRADE, Sept 28 (Reuters) - A blockade of the Danube river staged by workers at a Serbian shipping company over wage arrears is threatening supplies of Euro-diesel fuel for country's market, Serbia's key oil producer and retailer said on Friday.
Employees of river shipping company Dunav Agregati this week anchored ships and barges in the middle of the navigable channel outside the town of Novi Sad, about 70 kilometres (50 miles) north of the capital Belgrade, for the second time this year.
The blockade forced authorities to halt navigation in the area and cut off an important European supply waterway, including access to a Novi Sad oil refinery run by NIS , which is owned by Russia's Gazprom.
In a statement, NIS said the blockade could threaten deliveries of Euro-diesel, a diesel fuel with a low sulphur content, to its petrol stations within Serbia and to other fuel importers.
"If the blockade does not end as soon as possible, the (NIS)company will be forced to limit deliveries of this type of fuel, not only for its own petrol stations, but also to its customers, something that will inevitably lead to shortages," NIS said.
The Danube connects Western Europe with the Black Sea and is vital to the economies of Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia and Romania through which it flows.
Dunav Agregati workers are demanding payment of wages, health and pension benefits they say are more than seven months overdue. On Thursday they pledged to maintain the blockade until their demands are met.
The Socialist-led Serbian government that came to power in July has been unable to calm rising social discontent stemming from an economic downturn and austerity measures. (Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Catherine Evans)
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