Around three hundred workers employed in Turkish factory Kaizen in Smederevo started a strike yesterday demanding to receive promised reimbursments for overtime labour.
According to podunavlje.info local portal, the workers claim that around three hundred of them work in the factory and that they all receive a bare minimum wage beside the fact that they often work overtime, as well as on Saturdays, which the management usually only announces on Fridays. They also claim that warehouse clerks work all seven days of the week.
The norms set by their employer are impossible to fulfil, while union organising is forbidden due to which the workers don’t even have a strike committee at this moment.
Nevertheless, the workers have made a brave decision to make this risky move.
The Trade Union Organization Sloga gave support to the workers and invited them to reach out to the Union in order to get necessary assistence in protecting their interests and making the strike lawful.
This could be the D-day for the workers on strike. The company demands that they show up at work today, promising that they will have their overtime work paid. It is yet to be seen whether the management – not having realised the gravity of the workers’ request – only made another empty promise, as it seems it has often been doing.
The textile company Kaizen, part of a Turkish company Kardem, started production in Smederevo two years ago when it announced that it would employ around eight hundred people in a year, which it did not.
Let us remind you that overall labour conditions in textile industry in Serbia are devastating, salaries are low and mobbing is common – which is confirmed by Clean Clothes Campaign research carried out in Serbia last year.
Mašina editorial staff fully supports the brave Kaizen workers.
Translation from Serbian: Ivana Anđelković