What is the position of workers in Serbia?

According to the research results conducted by the Centre for Emancipation Policies, workers’ strikes in Serbia are rare, because despite the poor working conditions, they are afraid of being fired if they go on strike.

Workers in Serbia work very long hours, especially those in the automotive industry, and if they get sick from hard work, they are fined for using sick leave.

“They don’t live, they are barely surviving,” said Marko Todorović from the APTIV Leskovac Independent Trade Union.

The average contracted salary is about 50,000 dinars. The Centre for Emancipation Policies conducted research in ten factories in Serbia. They say that when bonuses, meal allowances and overtime are paid, the average monthly salary doesn’t exceed 70,000 dinars.

Statistics show that workers rather choose to exhaust themselves by working overtime just to earn a few extra dinars. “In all ten factories (in which we conducted the research), the workers said that the meal allowance is not enough to cover their food costs during the working day,” says Bojana Tamindžija from the Centre for Emancipation Policies.

Furthermore, their safety at work is jeopardized and they often suffer discrimination and abuse.  Research data also shows that factory employees are often uninformed about their rights.

“Even when they are informed, they feel helpless and lose faith and hope that they will be able to do something about their rights,” said lawyer Tanja Marković.

All this, they add, is due to distrust in institutions, labour inspectors and courts and also because they usually have to ask their colleagues to be witnesses, with most of them refusing to do so out of fear.

“It is precisely these low wages that are holding back solidarity, everyone is out for themselves, to earn enough for bare necessities”, assessed Todorović.

Low wages thus represent a cog in the wheels on the road to union solidarity.

“We notice that in companies where trade unions are strong and active, people are generally more satisfied with their position,” said Vladimir Simović from the Centre for Emancipation Policies.

(Novi Magazin, 11.06.2024)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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