Third day of strike in Fiat

The workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Serbia (FCA) started their third day of general strike on the factory premises with the production lines still idle. They have been idle since Tuesday and currently no Fiats 500L, the most important export product in Serbia, are being produced.

In 2008, Fiat opened its Serbian factory with champagne flowing and congratulations all around following the Serbian government and the company signing a joint venture agreement worth 1.2 billion EUR. Back then, it was announced that Serbia would get one of the most modern car factories around that would soon become the biggest exporter in Serbia.

The factory was equipped with the latest equipment and its capacity was set at 300,000 cars annually.

President of FCA’s trade union, Zoran Markovic was quoted back then as saying that the workers got the best possible working conditions including a kindergarten on the factory’s premises. “Other working conditions like versatile food, health protection and the company’s corporate responsibility are all on a very high level”, Markovic said.

As announced, Fiat’s factory in Kragujevac soon became the biggest Serbian exporter which annually exported over a billion euros worth of cars. In the first fourth months of this year, the company’s export was worth 382 million EUR. Fiat 500L soon became a Serbian brand, while FCA’s share in the Serbian GDP reached 3%.

However, the production increase and the factory’s success were not reflected in the workers’ salaries which, in certain divisions, have not been changed once in the last six years. For instance, workers with university diplomas have the basic salary between 40,000 and 50,000 while production workers have even less.

According to Markovic, Fiat’s workers have been frustrated with the company for months and it has finally escalated in the strike. Due to the global crisis on the automobile market and a reduced production, the Kragujevac factory laid off 1,000 workers last year and abolished the third shift. Also, a new work organization was put in place which is now more burdensome to the remaining workers.

Last year, the factory produced 85,000 cars, and, regardless of 1,000 workers leaving the factory, the production plan for this year has not changed.

(Newsweek, 29.06.2017)


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