fight against precarious work and wage inequalities is a top priority

On 27 June, trade unions and 2,000 workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’s subsidiary in Kragujevac (Serbia) made the strong decision to hold a strike as their call for opening negotiations to solve their increasingly difficult employment conditions remained unanswered (See our press release). IndustriAll European Trade Union and IndustriALL Global Union have stood in full solidarity with FCA Serbija workers and their affiliated trade unions SSMS (the independent metal workers unions of Serbia) and GS IER “Nezavinost” (the sectoral trade union in industry, energy and mining sectors) in their fight for decent wages and working conditions. Trade unions from all across Europe (Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain) and beyond (through FCA-CNHInd Global Union network) expressed their support to colleagues in the Serbian plant and urged the group management at FCA headquarters in Italy to ensure workers’ rights are complied with and proper social dialogue opened with the unions.

Finally, after repeated calls from the unions and instruction from the National Labour Inspectorate to comply with the Serbian law on strike which FCA local management violated, negotiations between Fiat management and Serbian trade unions began on 19 July with the mediation of Serbian Prime Minister (whose government owns one third of the FCA Serbia company). IndustriAll European Trade Union and IndustriALL Global Union welcome the fact that social dialogue finally took place on Serbian trade unions’ demands which allowed for the conduct of negotiations and yielded some first important results for FCA Srbija workers:

  • A 9.54% wage increase was agreed over the next six months, and the principle of adjusting wages to offset planned inflation rate was endorsed
  • The annual bonus will be paid as originally agreed. Discussion on introducing an efficiency bonus as it exists in other countries (such as Italy or Poland) will be launched in early 2018
  • Public transport compensation will be doubled for those working outside of standard working (and public transport) hours
  • A commission composed of trade unions and technical experts from FCA headquarters will be set up as of September 2017 to assess the work organisation in order to tackle work overload

While the agreement thus reached provide first answers to some of workers’ most urgent claims, it also lays the foundations for further talks and proper social dialogue which is to continue in the coming months with the negotiations of a new three-year collective agreement.

‘We salute the spirit of struggle and determination of our Serbian affiliates during and at the end of this dispute, and note the importance of international solidarity to achieve this result. We expect this signed agreement to create the foundation for proper social dialogue’, said Valter Sanches, General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union. ‘FCA Srbija must now commit to working with the unions to satisfy the legitimate demands and expectations of the workers. Once again, our solidarity and support has been and will be with our sisters and brothers in Serbia in their fight for better working and living conditions’.

‘The fight against precarious work and wage inequalities is a top priority for industriAll Europe. We can no longer accept that workers doing the same jobs for the same company across Europe receive notably different levels of wages and working conditions. We thus welcome the agreement reached at FCA Srbija which represents a first step in the right direction. We will pay careful attention in ensuring that the planned further talks help to achieve a decent living for all FCA Srbija workers‘, Luc Triangle, General Secretary of industriAll European Trade Union, declared.