Calzedonia continues production despite the danger to its workers

Foto: Yevgenia Belorusets / Clean Clothes Campaign

„Calezedonia group“ in Serbia is continuing production of its regular assortment even though the government is increasing its restrictive measures to combat coronavirus.

Even though the company has stopped work in its production facilities in Serbia immediately after state of emergency has been declared, over the weekend management called upon its workers to resume work in order to continue production.
In their call to employed staff, the management declared that they do comply with the government’s decision on work during the state of emergency and that, accordingly, certain categories of workers such as chronically ill workers, or parents with small children do not have to come to work.

Still, a large number of employees that work in production facilities in Subotica, Kikinda, and Sombor were worried over this call that came at a time when the government was increasing its measures for fighting coronavirus. Workers are particularly worried that the trip to work and the factory itself could become points of high risk for virus transfer – which would put workers in jeopardy as well as their families.

Replying to union protests and the protests of workers from Gordon factory in Subotica – a Calzedonia’s subcontractor – they made their call a little bit clearer:

Employer will not force anyone to come to work but will provide working conditions for thosewho do want to work and who feel safe in their workspace,where all protection measures are now taken. Besides all measures already provided, it is also necessary to adhere to rules and a steel discipline that will be controlled by the employer.

We have not yet confirmed whether precautionary measures are indeed rigorous, but as we found out from an anonymous worker in Calcedonia production facility in Sombor, these measures do not inspire confidence:

All workers have been provided with masks and were disinfected at the entrance, but they were not provided with gloves and the distance between us is the same as before, nothing changed in this regard.

As Mašina found out, Calzedonia in Italy has continued production in two cities, but only on producing protective masks, as is the case with one production line in Croatia.

Despite this, as said by the representative of Confederation of the autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia, Dragan Krasić, and an anonymous worker from Sombor – Calzedonia will continue producing regular assortment – lingerie and socks – despite the COVID-19 outbreak.

Masks are workers’ donation – not the company’s

Calzedonia factories were among the first to present themselves as socially responsible and as companies that show their solidarity in crisis. Most of the news were formated as Calzedonia donated ten thousand protective masks.

But most of these news left out the fact that workers of Calzedonia were voluntarily making these protective masks – and that this was their way of showing solidarity.

Now, considering that Calzedonia pushes with the production of their regular assortment that in no way presents an essential product, the question remains weather mask donation was only a marketing strategy aimed at getting public attention and positive PR.

M.M.

Translation from Serbian: Stefan Aleksić

This article was originally published in Serbian on Mar 30, 2020.

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