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EFBWW and BWI call for urgent EU action on Vietnamese workers’ case in Serbia


The EFBWW and BWI condemn the cruel and shocking way in which more than 500 Vietnamese workers are being treated in Serbia by the China Energy Engineering Group Tianjin Electric Power Construction Co. LTD, a contractor of the Chinese company Linglong International Europe Ltd.

The European authorities need to take urgent action.

EFBWW general secretary, Tom Deleu: “We are witnessing severe human and labour rights violations in a candidate country to the EU. These issues cannot remain unanswered by the EU institutions. The EU cannot look the other way. The case shows that the protection of workers’ and trade union rights must become a fundamental pillar of the EU’s accession and neighbourhood policies. Violations must be sanctioned with all instruments available.”

The Vietnamese workers:

  • ·       Are lodged in unacceptable accommodations without proper sanitation.
  • ·       Are exposed to dangerous health and safety conditions.
  • ·       Have beds without mattresses, but planks covered with thin quilts.
  • ·       Work 9 hours a day, 26 days a month.
  • ·       Do not get paid their monthly wage if, for any reason, they work a day less.
  • ·       Do not receive salary slips.
  • ·       Can be fired if they engage in trade union activities.
  • ·       Had to hand over their passports to the employer.
  • ·       Do not have proper heating, electricity and drinking water.
  • ·       Do not have hot water for showering. Clothes are washed by hand with cold water and dried on ropes where they store other things, because they do not have closets.
  • ·       Were told that it would not be possible to be vaccinated against Covid-19. When someone falls ill, he is isolated in an improvised hospital room where he stays until he recovers - without paid compensation.

The inventory of abuse is extensive. The EU cannot look the other way.

BWI general secretary, Ambet Yuson: “Impunity in these and similar cases may create a common practice where workers are exposed to inhumane conditions.”

Full press release here