Fiat could quietly leave Serbia

Most of Fiat’s workers, who have been on strike since 27th June, have refused the proposals from both the trade unions and the Serbian government to stop the protest.

Half of the workers in the first shift voted in favour of the negotiations with the company starting before Fiat actually has its say about the workers’ demands, while all the workers from the second shift were against it.

According to the Nezavisnost independent trade union, two thirds of the workers, out of a total of 2,000, has made a decision to continue with the strike regardless of being told of the consequences if they did so.

The continuation of the strike means that Fiat could quietly leave Serbia which, in turn, means a loss of over 6,000 direct or indirect jobs. “We have tried to explain this to the workers, we appealed to them to be socially responsible, but most strikers were in favour of continuing the protest”, said Zoran Markovic, the head of the independent trade union at Fiat at a press conference held late last night. He also said that he would ask the government to give them another 24 hours so that he could talk to the workers and point to them all the consequences that could ensue if the Italian company decided to leave Serbia.

President of the Nezavisnost trade union, Zoran Stanic has confirmed that most of the workers said “no” to stopping the strike and embarking on negotiations with Fiat’s management and with Serbian PM, Ana Brnabic as mediator.

“The workers have spoken their mind. We have nothing against having one more public meeting with them, or a sort of a democratic referendum where the workers would vote again about the government’s proposal to put the strike on hold until they hear from Fiat. It is quite possible that the workers would express what they think of this in the next 24 hours”, Stanic added.

After the meeting at the Ministry of Economy in Belgrade, the trade union representatives came back to Kragujevac late afternoon with the government’s proposal for the workers to stop the strike on Friday so that the negotiations with Fiat’s management could commence.

The negotiations would take place during weekend, and on Sunday evening, the workers would discuss the proposals from Fiat Chrysler Automobili’s management. If they reject the proposals, the strike could continue on the first working day of the following week. However, most of the strikers voted in favour of not stopping the strike until Fiat’s management says what they think of the workers’ demands.

Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic said that he had spoken three times with Alfredo Altavilla, the Chief Operating Officer Europe, Africa and Middle East at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Group, and that he believed that the strike would end soon.

“I have spoken three times with Alfredo Altavilla, while Prime Minister Ana Brnabic also spoke to him last night. I believe that the strike would end soon. Problems have always been resolved through negotiations”, said Vucic in yesterday’s interview for ANSA, as reported by the Italian website .

To remind, the workers their basic salary of 38,000 to go up to 50,000 dinars, and a different work organization that would not be such a burden on workers who now perform several different duties at once. They also want to be disbursed with the efficiency bonus for 2016 and for the company to cover their commuting costs when they can’t use public transportation to get to the factory, i.e. from 10 pm to 5 am. Also, Fiat’s suppliers, which employ around 1,500 workers, have also stopped production due to the strike.

(Politika, RTS, 12.07.2017)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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