Since its arrival in Serbia and the fact that the Serbian government gave it 130 hectares of the most fertile farmland in Vojvodina worth 7.5 million euros and another 76 million euros in state subsidies, the Chinese tyre factory, Linglong, has been operating in a questionable manner.
Apart from starting construction without any prior environmental impact studies, no one is allowed to enter the construction site of the future factory and the workers brought in from China work in almost inhuman conditions. In the future, they will be replaced by Serbian workers who have already had to sign employment contracts in which they accept strict penalties if they reveal their salaries to anyone.
According to ‘N1’, Article 4 of the employment contract states that ‘if an employee discloses information about their earnings, every time such behaviour is detected, the worker will be obliged to pay 20% of their salary as compensation. Providing the worker discloses information about their earnings twice in a row, the fine will be 50% of their salary, as compensation for damages’.
The contract does not specify whether the ban on sharing information about the employee’s salary also applies to their family and friends, but it is added that those workers who violate this on two occasions will be “subjected to strict supervision for one month”.
Lawyer Veljko Milić says that neither control nor supervision of employees is in accordance with the relevant laws of the Republic of Serbia and that no employer is allowed do that.
“These internal regulations serve more to intimidate the workforce and don’t have a legal basis. Companies can make their own labour regulations, but when and if there is a court procedure, the law is not on their side if they don’t comply with it,” says Milić.
In addition to these violations, Linglong was accused of knowingly polluting the environment, as the factory’s wastewater, treated in a septic tank, was allegedly mixed with cooling water from the production facilities and then discharged into the Luoshan River in China.
In addition to these accusations, Linglong is also accused of stealing a competitor’s patent in 2010. According to the Texas Tribune, American inventor Jordan Fishman, who had designed mining tyres, discovered that his patented designs had been stolen by two international tyre distributors, one of which was Linglong from China. The case eventually ended up in a US court, where Linglong and another distributor had to pay $26 million in compensation for the theft.
This post is also available in: Italiano