The Linglong company said on Thursday that the Vietnamese workers building its tire factory outside the northern Serbian city of Zrenjanin were not its employees.
A press release said that the Vietnamese were hired by a subcontractor, the Belgrade branch of the Chinese company TEPC. It added that there were no Linglong employees living in the camp that the media have been reporting on over the past few days.
N1 has learned that the Vietnamese workers building the Linglong factory in the city of Zrenjanin were moved to new living quarters in the town of Ecka on Thursday.
“We want to stress that our company advocates full respect and a humane and dignified approach to all employees and we are informing you that we will organize meetings with representatives of all our subcontractors to inform them which values we want to see implemented. The subcontractor was told that the Vietnamese workers should be transferred to better accomodation and have been told that their passports will be returned to them,” it said.
A recent N1 report showed that the Vietnamese workers building the Linglong factory in Zrenjanin were living in bad conditions, prompting the Labor Ministry to inspect the site. The Astra NGO filed charges of human trafficking and activists from a second NGO managed to get the worker who alerted the media to his plight out of the camp with the help of other workers who fought security guards.
The Labor Ministry released a statement only to pro-regime media saying that the workers had been moved late on Wednesday evening but N1 went to the Zrenjanin Industrial Zone and found that they were still in the same camp. The Ministry has not responded to multiple requests for a comment.