The workers of the Turkish textile company Kaizen in Smederevo have stopped their machines and their work on Friday. The day before, they warned the company that they would stop the production if they were not paid overdue salaries and overtime. As that did not happen, the machines were shut down.
“We work as slaves in 10-12 hour shifts. Sometimes it happens that we are told on Friday that we have to work on Saturday too. Also, we have not received any money for the overtime we did in the last six months”, one of the workers says.
Close to 300 production workers at Kaizen have fixed-term job contracts and work for the minimum wage which, they say, amounts to about 25,000 dinars. Many of them still haven’t been paid overtime, and after they realized that nothing would come off that, they decided to go on strike.
When the journalists contacted the company for a comment, the secretary of the company’s director said that she did not know anything about the strike and that there were no company executives available to comment.
The Kaizen textile company, which operates under another Turkish company, Kardem, started production two years ago when it was announced that it would eventually employ 800 people.
Instead, according to the workers, the company has set impossibly high standards, sometimes a shift lasts for 12 hours, Saturdays are usually a working day while warehouse staff often works on Sundays too.
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There is no trade union at the factory as the employer did not allow it. There is not even a strike committee, the workers say. After the workers went on strike, the company’s management did agree to pay out overdue salaries and overtime so that the workers can come back to work tomorrow.
This post is also available in: Italiano