The European Parliament’s Resolution Appealing to Serbian Authorities to Investigate the Case of Vietnamese Workers at the Linglong Factory in Zrenjanin

At the session held on December 16, 2021, members of the European Parliament (EP) adopted a Resolution in which the Republic of Serbia is called upon to investigate reports on the treatment of Vietnamese workers at the Linglong factory in Zrenjanin.

In the Resolution text concerning this case, the Parliament expressed its deep concern over the alleged forced labor, violation of human rights and human trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation of about 500 Vietnamese workers on the construction site of the Linglong factory in Zrenjanin. In addition, the Serbian authorities were urged to “carefully investigate the case” and ensure respect for basic human rights, especially the rights of workers, to submit findings of their investigations to the European Union, and to hold the perpetrators accountable.

The Serbian authorities are appealed to provide free and unhindered access to the Linglong factory in Zrenjanin and accommodation facilities for Vietnamese workers to non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, EU officials and other officials from international organizations.

586 parliamentarians voted for this Resolution, 53 against, and 44 abstained.

We remind you that immediately after the publication in the media of information about the position of workers employed on the construction site of the new Linglong factory in Zrenjanin, A 11 – Initiative for Economic and Social Rights and ASTRA – Anti-Trafficking Action visited the workers in order to get to know their position more closely. Based on the contact with the workers, it was concluded that, in addition to their labor rights being seriously violated, their health being threatened, potentially even their lives are at risk taking into account the working and accommodation conditions; a large number of established facts indicate the possibility that the workers are victims of human trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation, and the aforementioned organizations already sent a request on the 15th of November asking for an urgent reaction of the competent authorities in this respect.

Subsequently, A 11 Initiative filed criminal charges, reports to the Municipal Police and an initiative to the Protector of Citizens in the hope that an adequate resolution of the issue of over four hundred workers from Vietnam engaged in the construction of the Linglong tire factory in Zrenjanin will be found.

To date, there have been no official response from the relevant authorities.

The full text of the European Parliament Resolution is available here, and the EP communication here.

Photo by Sara Nikolić