What does the future look like for PKB (Belgrade Agricultural Combine), which was acquired by Al Dahra in 2018? The contract the state signed with the Arab company expires in November and employees say the situation in the company is “not good”.
They warn that workers have low salaries, that the collective job agreement has not been signed and that the promises of state officials that the company will prosper after privatization were not fulfilled.
The inscription “The largest milk producer in Serbia” is the first thing that catches the eye when you enter the PKB grounds. Much more conspicuous, however, is the video that appeared on social networks showing the condition of the cows at the PKB estate.
Freedom and Justice Party’s vice president Dejan Bulatović says animal malnutrition is just one of the problems.
“Some managers at PKB, who strongly disagree with such treatment of animals, have sent me a video clip. These animals are literally dying, they cannot move, they are lying in their faeces… It really is a disaster – they are poorly fed, they are milked four times a day and sometimes 30 cows die in a single day,” he warns.
Aside from the animals, the employees are also in trouble because, as they say, they don’t have normal working conditions. Although they were promised by the state authorities in 2018 that salaries would get better because PKB would prosper from Al Dahra’s investments, the opposite happened. In the meantime, two farms closed down – says Zoran Brkic, head of Al Dahra Serbia’s independent trade union.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but it certainly does not look good. The workers are not happy with their wages and they can barely care for their families. I’m afraid that the situation has reached a boiling point. I don’t know where all of this is going. Out of all agricultural companies, we have the smallest wages and we haven’t even signed a collective job agreement as yet,” Brkic warns.
The N1 reporters tried to contact Al Dahra and the Serbian Agriculture Minister, Branislav Nedimovic, but none of them returned the calls.
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