Chinese company Hesteel Group, the owner of the Smederevo Ironworks, wants the Serbian government to make amendments to the Labour Law that would facilitate easier layoffs.
Citing diplomatic sources, the Danas daily reports that Hesteel wants tougher regulation on the expense of workers’ rights, i.e. for the company management to give workers more obligations and to be able to fire those workers that refuse to accept additional work. The current Labour Law does not allow for this.
The official Brussels is not in favour of this initiative because it is of the opinion that that would solidify Hesteel’s already privileged position in Serbia.
President of the Sloga Trade Union Association, Zeljko Veselinovic has confirmed that Hesteel has been lobbying with the government to change the relevant regulation.
“Both Hesteel and other foreign companies in Serbia are putting a lot of pressure on the government, wanting for the current Labour Law to change so that they would gain additional benefits at the expense of the workers’ rights. This is, of course, wrong and against the best interests of employees. The government should not succumb to this pressure from Hesteel or anybody else for that matter”, Veselinovic adds.
The Danas daily goes on to say that the EU suspects of Hesteel receiving various state benefits and subsidies, including having to pay a discounted electricity price. The report compiled by the EU General Trade Directorate did not include Serbia on the list of the countries accused of having dumping prices of steel and perpetuating unfair competition. The European Commission is supposed to make a final decision about this issue on 7th October.
This post is also available in: Italiano