Montenegrin police have used pepper spray to stop laid-off employees of an aluminum smelter from storming the parliament building.

The former workers at Montenegro's Kombinat Aluminijuma Podgorica, or KAP, gathered Tuesday in Podgorica demanding unpaid pensions.

Several dozen marched to the parliament building but the police pushed them back. They deployed pepper spray against several men in the front, who were taken away in an ambulance.

Protest leader Nikola Rakovic says a delegation later opened talks with government officials to press home their point that the ex-workers "need their money."

The Communist-era KAP smelter was once the pride of Montenegrin industry, but mismanagement and a bungled privatization effort ruined the company.

The authorities laid off hundreds of workers before selling the company to a local businessman in 2013.