Collective agreement with Fiat: Union accused of betrayal

The independent trade union has signed a new collective bargaining agreement with Serbia’s Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, but has come under fire from another union which claims the deal harms workers’ interests.

The union, representing workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in Serbia who recently went on strike demanding better salaries and working conditions, signed a new collective agreement on Tuesday, which will run for three years and involves them waiving their right to take industrial action.

But the second-largest union representing Fiat workers, Nezavisnost, said that the deal was unacceptable and announced that it might file a lawsuit against the leader of the independent trade union, Zoran Markovic.

“The workers are more than displeased because Zoran Markovic named the terms – a salary increase and bonuses for 2017 and 2018. Now it turns out that [under the new agreement] we will only negotiate about the bonuses, and nobody is guaranteeing we will get them,” the leadership of Nezavisnost said in a statement.

“We are considering filing charges against Markovic because this is a classic case of fraud,” it added.

Nezavisnost argued that the deal offers less than what was on the table before the strike, which started on June 23 and continued until July 18, when negotiations began.

But Markovic argued that it was the only offer on the table.

“The union assembly voted to accept the offer, since at this point there is no alternative,” the independent trade union said.

The agreement envisages that each year in February, salaries will be adjusted to compensate for the expected annual inflation that year.

For 2017, workers will receive 2.2 per cent increase from August, while in 2018 they will receive a 4.5 per cent raise.

When they went on strike, the workers at the Fiat factory were demanding an increase from around 316 to 416 euros a month. They also called for the fairer distribution of work and the hiring of more workers.

However, Fiat officials refused to negotiate with them as long as the strike was ongoing.

The deal was brokered by Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, who mediated in the negotiations after convincing the union representatives to halt the strike.

The agreement also envisages that the workers will not go on strike for the next three years.

Representatives of the independent trade union and Fiat’s management signed the deal on Tuesday in the presence of Brnabic and Economy Minister Goran Knezevic.

Brnabic said that in September, a commission on which the company and workers will be represented will start conducting monthly check-ups to determine if staff are being overworked at the factory.

The commission will send reports to the company’s headquarters in Turin, as well as to the Serbian government.

Following the signing, no questions were allowed at the press conference.

By Filip Rudic

(Balkan Insight, 25.07.2017)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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