The Stellantis Group has remained firm in its stance of laying off more than 1,500 workers from the Fiat plant in Kragujevac, giving them a severance pay of 4,000 euros, and sending the remaining 2,016 to Stellantis’ factories abroad for two years. The workers vehemently oppose this decision and have announced a roadblock if the state does not help them.
The workers are finishing the detailed version of their proposals for the social programme, which will be forwarded to the prime minister and the government of Serbia.
Their goal, they say, is for all employees to have more opportunities. “What we are being subjected to now is classic blackmail. We do not agree to work abroad for two years, because such an option does not exist anywhere in the laws of our country. Our proposal will be to employ us in factories up to 50 kilometres away from Kragujevac, which is in accordance with the relevant regulation. We will also demand more dignified severance pay for people who want to leave, instead of the 4,000 euros offered, which is an insult,” said Igor Andjic, a worker who also took part in government talks on Monday.
His colleague Zoran Miljković recalls that Fiat “sent its workers home to Turin for 14 months” as the factory prepared for the transition to electric car production and paid them appropriate salaries. He also announced that this format of problem resolution would be one of the proposals in the social program.
“We have decided not to put up roadblocks because we want this problem to be solved to the workers’ satisfaction. Before long we will have precise proposals of what we think is an acceptable social programme, and if Fiat does reject it, it can leave Serbia,” Igor Andjic continued. He added that “Fiat is a big noose around the state’s neck, which, despite its willingness to help, can do nothing in the face of this foreign investor”.
The final solution for the situation in Fiat was supposed to be announced in late May but was postponed until June 10. This sends a signal to workers that the state, despite owning part of the company, is unable to deal with Stellantis’ decisions.
Current decisions are unacceptable to the workers, and neither the trade unions nor the employees who took part in the negotiations can guarantee how long they will be able to hold back the workers’ anger, which they say is close to erupting.
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