A documentary film about Vietnamese workers engaged to work at the construction site of the Chinese Linglong tire factory in Zrenjanin called “Hell in the Land of Banat”, produced by the Independent Journalists Association of Vojvodina (NDNV), will have its premiere on May 1, International Labour Day, in the Zrenjanin Social Forum.
The events that marked the year 2021 at the Linglong factory are told in the film by those who directly participated in them, reports Beta news agency.
Around 500 migrant workers from Vietnam were being exploited at a Chinese-run company in Serbia, local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) reported a year and a half ago. The workers, who were hired to construct a tire factory in Zrenjanin, a city in the northern province of Vojvodina, are allegedly doing so under conditions that could endanger their lives, according to the NGOs. When work is over, they reportedly go to cramped dormitories, where they allegedly face even more issues such as lack of food, water and clothes.
The workers, whose passports have also allegedly been taken, were recruited for 12-month contracts by Vietnamese employment agency Song Hy Gia Lai Company Ltd., which demanded $2,200 to $4,000 from each applicant in exchange for their services. However, their contracts were written in English, which only one of the workers understands.
Under the contract, each worker is required to work nine hours a day for 26 days a month. This means they work 234 hours a month, which violates provisions under Serbia’s Labor Law. Anyone who misses at least one day of work will not be paid for an entire month. Failure to work on time also results in a denial of daily wage.
The film was made under the auspices of the Next stop, Zrenjanin: Linglong and the Ways of Modern Slavery project, and it was funded by the Small Media Grants Program, which is financed by the US Embassy in Belgrade and administered by the Independent Journalists Association of Serbia (NUNS).
(Al Jazeera Balkans, Yahoo News, 27.04.2023)
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