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13 Jan 2023

Sonja Gocanin, RFERL

Serbia: Workers at Chinese-owned copper mine protest demanding higher wages & improved working conditions

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Workers At Chinese-Owned Mine In Serbia Protest For Better Wages, Working Conditions, 13 January 2023

...Several hundred workers at Zijin Bor Copper, located in the town of Bor, participated in the protest, calling for the Chinese company to respect the laws of Serbia and its Serbian workers.

Protester Srecko Karadzic told RFE/RL that he took part because of working conditions and because wages have not kept up with inflation. "Insufficient respect for workers, insufficient respect for wages and standards,” he said. “Everything is more expensive, and wages are the same."

Goran Nikolic, who also works at Zijin, told RFE/RL that the workers are intimidated and said there are lists of workers who protest. These workers are then transferred to other workplaces, making others afraid, he said.
Zijin did not respond to RFE/RL’s questions about the demands of the workers and the claims about the existence of lists of protesting workers. The company said in a statement last month that salaries are increased when there is an opportunity for it. It also released information about wages indicating the average salary at the mine is commensurate with the average salary in Serbia.
Negotiations between the management of Zijin and the trade unions on a collective agreement, which establishes the rights of workers and trade unions, have been ongoing since the beginning of 2021.
One of the sticking points is management’s adoption of the Labor Rulebook without the consent of the trade unions...