Two thirds of Serbs barely make ends meet

Two thirds of Serbs barely make ends meet

The most of people in Serbia, both those employed and unemployed as well as pensioners have no reason to celebrate International Worker’s Day, said Zoran Stojiljkovic, the president of the “Independence” trade union.

“Living in the world where the rulers are the corporative capital and governments as its servants has brought us back into situation in which ‘three eights’- trade unions’ 19th century demand for eight hours work, eight hours rest and eight hours leisure – almost looks like romantic fairy tale”, Stojiljkovic said in the interview for Danas daily. Nowadays, people are, just like in the 1880s, far from decent jobs – which means legally settled, safe and fairly paid, he added.

In his words, the world is getting more and more unequal, while Serbia has become “pathetic champion” among the European countries – when it comes to the degree of inequality.

“One quarter of the citizens live in the poverty zone, while two thirds barely make ends meet. Throughout the world the economy of knowledge and information, as well as lifelong learning is required; but what we have here is shrinking the number of those who can afford quality education.  In the age of digitalization of labor and society we maintain the wide circle of those functionally illiterate – which will be digital slaves in the future”, Stojiljkovic underlined.

According to Stojiljkovic, both Serbia and the world should pay equal attention to economic development, social justice and solidarity, and environmental sustainability.

“However, it seems that the government is interested only in keeping inflation and monetary stability under control; the insecure, vulnerable employment is in the very end of their priorities. The average salary is 400 euros which is barely enough to survive; but 70 percent of those employed have even lower salaries – if they are regularly paid at all”.

“In Serbia, ‘favorable business climate’ is falsely considered as acquiring cheap and disadvantaged workforce; or as giving advantages and subsidies to foreign investors, the benefits which are not accessible to Serbian business people… The examples of Fiat Chrysler and Air Serbia (Etihad Airways) show that numerous foreign investors enjoy in the extraterritorial zone in which they are not obliged to abide national rules”, Zoran Stojiljkovic concluded./IBNA