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Foreign investor factories in Serbia: Layoffs amid state support

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In the southern regions of Serbia, numerous workers find themselves facing unemployment as factories owned by foreign investors, beneficiaries of substantial financial support from the state, are downsizing their workforce citing a current lack of labor demand.

While reports in the public domain mention hundreds of layoffs, some factories attribute these actions to reduced workload, while others claim decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, as reported by Juzne Vesti.

According to Predrag Stojanović from the Independent Union of Metalworkers in Jura, contracts for workers employed for specific periods are not being extended at Jura in Leskovac and Jura in Niš due to current work shortages. Meanwhile, at Aptiv in Leskovac, contracts are reportedly not renewed for non-permanent employees, leading many to leave voluntarily due to dissatisfaction with working conditions.

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Marko Todorović from the Independent Trade Union at Aptiv highlights that amidst reduced work, employees are frequently on paid leave, and efforts are underway to navigate this period until new projects materialize, such as the anticipated project for Volkswagen.

Workers at companies like Leoni, Johnson, Elrad, and Gruner are also affected by non-renewal of contracts. While Gruner in Vlasotinac confirms layoffs without specifying numbers, they aim to optimize their workforce to align with customer needs. Elrad acknowledges layoffs due to decreased orders, while Leoni states they have open positions but may not renew fixed-term contracts for various reasons unrelated to excess staff.

Regarding state support, records from the State Aid Control Commission show significant subsidies granted to these companies in exchange for job creation and above-average wages. For instance, Aptiv in Leskovac received substantial aid for opening their plant, with an obligation to employ 2,000 people.

The situation reflects a complex interplay between economic factors, labor dynamics, and government incentives, leaving many workers uncertain about their future job security despite significant state support to these industries.

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