By on October 16, 2015


The union representing workers at the Fiat 500L factory in Kragujevac, Serbia has a big job ahead of it. Workers are demanding raises, bonuses, and a steady work schedule. In its most recent newsletter, the union listed those demands once again, but instead of news of a pay negotiation the union told workers they’ve negotiated a chicken discount at a local butcher.

Samostalni Sindikat FAS has represented workers at the 500L factory since their collective bargaining agreement was signed in 2010. At the time, the union was able to negotiate fair wages and additional benefits for workers, including a 31,000 RSD ($294 USD) monthly average salary. Workers were happy as many were unemployed after Yugo production was shut down in 2008, and the wage was considered fair at the time.

Since 2010, FCA Serbia has become the biggest exporter in the country. The cost of living has also gone up since 2010 and workers have demanded raises along with confirmation of a second model for the factory. A new model would give the workers a sense of stability. Not only has a second model not been announced, the factory has been shut down multiple times in the past 6 months due to slow sales of the 500L.

In attempts to stay on the good side of its members, the union has aimed for small, stop-gap benefits. One such benefit is a gift of 10,000 RSD ($95 USD) to workers who have a child to help with baby supplies.

With no news on the real demands, the fringe benefit in this month’s newsletter is a chicken discount from a local butcher. Sitting directly across the page from the wage demands, we find out that the workers can get chicken drumsticks at a discounted rate equivalent to $2.51 per kilogram ($1.14 per pound).

[Image Credit:  Eli Duke/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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46 Comments on “Fiat Serbia Workers Demand Higher Wages, Get Chicken Discount...”

  • avatar

    NSFW image: Borat as union negotiator placing Sergio in headlock.

  • avatar

    The image has live chickens in it. I almost thought the incentive was for livestock purchases. Maybe FCA doesn’t feel pressured to negotiate because they don’t see a future for the factory, and the lack of new models and investments are a sign of that.

  • avatar

    Nice front tag bracket on the Dodge Omni.

  • avatar

    Free-roaming chickens like these learn that there are plenty of crispy insects available for the taking on the radiators and bumpers of parked cars. I have seen magpies at a rest stop that had learned this trick, too.

  • avatar

    FCA will be offering male chickens to employees, who will be instructed to receive them by donkey.

  • avatar


    I replayed the article to a friend where he lives; over in the place of where they make the 500-Large! His’ own cousin is working across the motorway, around the store for bitchering. While in his own shop there are bi-cycle being create, fix, mending (whoops, two words a same, ha ha! ) he sometimes take the “breaking smoker” and stroll over, so to have a chat with their workers who are visit to their shoppe for their chicken discounted. It appeared to My Frend – he say “Grango, their working proudly, like such as Workers Party way of the 80’s you know (remind me to tell a Yugo tale, its’ voracious). And yet, all they are to get is handed slip of paper say – “oh discount, enjoy your poultice, ok?”

    Needless to say, My Frend told me they are going to plan a small-stage repercussion of work stoppage. To me, I think it will turn out well for I know the 500-Large is in the demand. All over the media here, big sale on successful of car! Wow.

    Anyway, “back to back” To The Future” I work, ha ha. I borrow this of VHS- can’t wait to make referendum of it!

    Take precaution,


  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    You don’t write for Sasha Baron Cohen?

  • avatar

    Is there a tax on those chickens? Oops. I mentioned chicken and tax in the same sentence. At least they weren’t building pickups ;)

  • avatar

    A dollar fourteen a pound for drumsticks stinks on ice when you make three hundred a month.

    • 0 avatar

      No kidding. Drumsticks are under #1/pound in the US. No wonder the Serbian guy down the street is always sending money back home.

      That monthly salary is especially garbage because the average rent in Serbia is basically half of that. I guess it’s the same as someone making $10/hour paying $800/month in rent. Seems like it’s better to be working poor here though.

      • 0 avatar

        Food is expensive and rent is high and many survive with a combination of working and funds from relatives abroad.

        Renting a room in Kragujevac runs about $90 a month
        A Studio apartment is around $130 a month
        A 1 bedroom apartment runs $170 a month

        Those rates are for the suburban areas and downtown rates are about 30% higher

        • 0 avatar

          My Serbian neighbor is a Physicians Assistant (so is his wife). Therefore, he has the means to send money. He also recently moved his mother from Serbia to his house. I think part of him feels bad that he was able to leave Serbia, get an education, marry an American, and be successful here while much of his family still lives on $200-$300 a month. He makes basically double that in a day.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Why would you feel bad about marrying an American?

            I do know some very nice American females.

            Why put them down????

            Are Serbian women better??

          • 0 avatar

            I didn’t put them down Al. I don’t know how you could get that from what I wrote. None of the things I mentioned were negative. My wife is American, so…

            Leaving Serbia for a better life = good
            Getting a Masters degree = good
            Marrying an American and becoming a US citizen = good
            Being successful in the US = good

            Slo loves his life and where he lives, but often talks about how he was lucky to get out and feels guilty that he was able to have this life while so many people he grew up with, or is related to, are struggling to get by in his homeland.

  • avatar

    the omni is a nicer looking vehicle than the corolla.

    • 0 avatar

      Better space utilization too, and the Omni was a pretty nice ride at freeway speeds too. Unfortunately, they folded like an accordion in a crash.

      • 0 avatar
        Felis Concolor

        Among small cars, Omnis were the big ones; I can’t recall any Tercel, Sentra or GLC of that era which could also seat 4 adults in comfort, and the 2.2 was an outstanding workhorse engine.

        Ah, Kauai: the license plate stumped me, as F is a Honolulu County prefix and I did not become entirely familiar with that island’s roads and neighborhoods.

        I’m still angry the idiots in charge replaced the Kamehameha plate with that generic rainbow.

  • avatar

    I missed something here :

    They want raises but are making and selling so few vehicles the factory has to occasionally close ? .

    Eh ? .


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Maybe the UAW could do their Serbian brothers a solid and hook them into the Tier system.

  • avatar

    I used to laugh at the so-called backwardness of those countries unable to join us in the first world. Now, I understand that something as “absurd” as a chicken discount can be a big deal in some places. While we rarely give a thought to our basic survival, it is a daily worry to the vast majority of humanity on this planet.

    • 0 avatar

      “While we rarely give a thought to our basic survival, it is a daily worry to the vast majority of humanity on this planet.”

      Let’s keep it that way. At least until they learn to f*ck responsibly.

      • 0 avatar

        There’s the conundrum. Everywhere the birth rate is high and prosperity comes, the birth rate drops as income rises. Well, almost everywhere: it doesn’t work in most of Africa, where dictators steal everything they can get their hands on. Africa had less than 500 million people in 1980, and has 1.1 billion now.

  • avatar

    I had an opportunity to spend some time driving a 500L with a 6 speed manual. It was pleasant to drive and my impression is that it is a “good solid car”. Probably, if more of them were available in the “non-trekking” non-cladded version and probably if the things were marketed as a wagon, or similar, rather than a youth oriented urban utility vehicle, the 500L would be more popular with American families who are looking for an economical small car. I was unable to buy one for myself because the regions’s only local Fiat dealership disappeared (went bankrupt, maybe). I wonder if the fate of the local dealership is representative of what will happen to the brand in the USA.

    • 0 avatar

      I keep hearing about Fiat(/Alfa) dealerships closing down. There were 230 of them that were promised Alfas, but only 80 of the best ones got the 4C, and over half were losing money. Sergio forced the Dealers to build new showrooms art their expense, and didn’t get the product to sell.

  • avatar

    “No, no. We said more bucks, not clucks!”

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    This could work here with chicken and tacos too.

  • avatar

    Winner winner, chicken dinner!

  • avatar

    …cue the surprise about 500L build quality in 3…2…

  • avatar

    Needed: More Popes.

  • avatar

    While most of you are being oh so clever with the Borat jokes, fact is that you should be horrified that there people in this world lining up for jobs that pay $300/month. While you are yucking it up, the 1% in America are seeing to it that most of you will be working jobs that pay $300 per month.

    • 0 avatar

      Serbians were much better off as part of Yugoslavia, if not yet up to Western European economic standards. Yugoslavia broke up violently, in no small part due to the intransigence of Serbian politicians, and Serbians are still paying for that.

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