Union Rep: Workers from N. Macedonia, Albania Will Reduce Wages of Native Workers | Beta Briefing

Union Rep: Workers from N. Macedonia, Albania Will Reduce Wages of Native Workers

Source: Beta
News / Region | 24.01.24 | access_time 12:53

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Zoran Mihajlovic, an official of the Association of Independent Workers’ Unions of Serbia, said on Jan. 24 that the free movement of labor among Open Balkan countries will damage Serbia the most because it will depress the wages of native workers.

“Workers from Albania and North Macedonia who decide to come to Serbia because they were unable to go to Western Europe will reduce the wages of native workers, continuing the exodus of not only experts but also of less qualified labor from Serbia to Europe,” Mihajlovic told BETA.

On Jan. 22 in Skopje, the countries of the Open Balkans initiative – Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania – signed the Protocol on the conditions for free access to the labor market and the Protocol on linking electronic identification schemas through ID numbers, which will enable the formation of a common market. As of March 1, the citizens of member countries will be able to work and live anywhere within the Open Balkan zone without acquiring residence or work permits.

Mihajlovic expressed his doubt that Serbian workers will seek employment in North Macedonia or Albania because said countries’ unemployment rates are greater than Serbia’s.

He is also worried, he said, that Serbian employers will take advantage of North Macedonian and Albanian workers, increasing incidences of abuse and unreported employment. Said labor, he added, will be attractive to foreign investors as well, which again does not benefit Serbia because the country “should be attracting foreign investors to employ native, not foreign, workers.”

Lastly, Mihajlovic pointed out that there remain many unknowns regarding how social, pension and healthcare benefits will be paid for foreign workers.

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