We are writing as members and partners of the Clean Clothes Campaign global network to stand in solidarity with striking workers of the Falc East factory and TU Sloga in Knjaževac, Serbia.
Taking into account the gap between wages workers receive and the real cost of living in Serbia, we believe that Falc East workers are asking for the minimum in order to survive the crisis they are facing.
Falc East factory in Knjaževac is one of the subsidiary companies of Falc Spa, Italy, which produces footwear for several luxury European brands. According to reports, the factory in Knjaževac produces one million pairs of shoes a year generating huge profit for the company, while workers have to survive on poverty wages.
In fact, around 80% of workers in the Falc East factory receive a minimum wage, which means that their monthly salary is close to the statistical poverty line for Serbia as defined by the European Union - SILC poverty threshold. The minimum wage in Serbia is 340 EUR per month which is about one third of what should be the living wage for 2021 as calculated by the European Floor Wage.
When Falc East workers ask for 10% of net wage increase, a modest increase of incentives and a meal ticket increase of less than 50 cents, they are demanding not more than the bare minimum.
We are organisations within Clean Clothes Campaign, a global network of over 230 trade unions, labour rights organisations and NGOs dedicated to improving working conditions and empowering workers in the global garment and sportswear industries. Together with TU Sloga and workers from Falc East we will consider necessary further actions to support their struggle to be paid a decent wage.
Solidarity with Falc East workers!
Buy Responsible Foundation, Poland
Campagna Abiti Puliti, Italy
Centre for the Politics of Emancipation, Serbia
Center for Policies, Initiatives and Researches PLATFORMA, Moldova
Clean Clothes Campaign, Turkey
Collective for Social Interventions, Bulgaria
Gender Alliance for Development Center, Albania
Glasen Tekstilec, Macedonia
Globalization Monitor, Hong Kong
Helsinki citizens’ Assembly Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Hong Kong Retail, Commerce and Clothing Industry General Union, Hong Kong
Hong Kong Women Workers' Association, Hong Kong
Institute for Critique and Social Emancipation, Albania
Korean House of International Solidarity, South Korea
Kilusang Mayo Uno, Philippines
Labour Action China, Hong Kong
Labour Behind the Label, United Kingdom
Mai Bine, Romania
NaZemi, Czech Republic
Novi Sindikat, Croatia
Open Gate, North Macedonia
Pro Ethical Trade, Finland
Public Eye, Switzerland
Regional Industrial Trade Union, Croatia
Schone Kleren Campagne, Netherlands
Workers Hub for Change, Malaysia
Zora, Association for Social, Cultural and Creative Development, Bosnia and Herzegovina