In Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his government move decisively to fight against the tradition of self-sacrificing work, after a study has shown that one-fifth of Japanese are in danger of dying from too much work.
Suicidal dedication to work, which has been considered a virtue in Japan for centuries, now assumed such proportions that the government of Shinzo Abe published a white book with statistical data on the number of workers who died because of too much work.
Agency Kyodo reported that 23 percent of Japanese companies confirmed that their workers monthly gather 80 and more hours of overtime – even a whopping 300, and not overtime by generally accepted standards, but the one after which dramatically increases the risk of death. Furthermore, 2.159 people committed suicide because of too much work during the past fiscal year, and 93 tried to kill themselves. However, it is believed that the actual numbers are much higher than the official ones.
And on the same continent, only a thousand kilometers away, the situation is completely different.
Do you remember what has happened to the workers of one of the largest manufacturers of electronics and parts for computers in the world? Almost everyone knows about “iPhone” by Apple, “PlayStation” by Sony, but only a few people know that mobile phones are not assembled by Apple, but the Taiwanese company Foxconn, which has long been criticized for inhumane working conditions.
How poor the treatment of the workers is, show results of the research conducted by the organization Sakom from Hong Kong, which advocates for the right of workers. According to Debby Chan from Sakom, the research conducted in 2011 showed that workers had to achieve very ambitious goals, and “if they do not achieve production goals, they have to give up meals and are allowed to eat only when the shift ends”.
In Serbia, again, a large company from Asia acts in similar way towards its employees according to the news reports. In April this year a strike was held for 15 minutes, the time the machines in the “Jura” factory in Leskovac were not operating, due to worker dissatisfaction, and with question why government is not responding to physical and mental abuse they experience while working for the company.
Although they exist, reports of mobbing and harassment of workers in Jura have never been processed, which means that the government in Serbia is informed about the events, but does not react to them, wrote at the time Serbian daily “Danas”.
President of the workers union “Sloga” Zeljko Veselinovic said at the time that their battle with Jura has lasted for five years, because the investor from South Korea has by far the worst attitude towards the workers in Serbia.
“They beat them with iron bars, women were sexually harassed, although not raped. They were banned from going to the toilet and were advised to wear diapers. When someone gets sick, an ambulance is called to the factory, and if the worker is not taken to the hospital, he is obliged to return to work after he was given first aid,” said Veselinovic.
So it seems like that in Japan mobbing practically does not exist. In Serbia employers are setting Japanese tempo of work to their workers.
Stories such as Jura and Foxconn would probably never have seen the light of the day if they weren’t big companies. What is more worrying is that similar methods are used by local employers, managers and owners of small and medium-sized enterprises, treating workers as worthless slaves (“Do you know how many of them waits for your job, you are not indispensable, you must work as I say”) and paying just enough so the workers do not feel completely like slaves.
Unemployment in Serbia is high, wages are far less than the government’s official average values, bills have to paid and one have to eat.
Economists have calculated that it takes more than two salaries for a family of four to SURVIVE, not to live, and that is a big difference. Therefore it is not surprising that companies in Serbia can do to their workers what they want.
Despite the existing law on mobbing, insight into public records shows that the number of reports and procedures is at incomprehensibly low level, if you take into account that only on social networks you can almost daily see an article of someone who has just been a victim of mobbing, but it is clearly easier to write about it on the social network than to sue the employer. And we will like the post and say – “I would tell him to f**k himself if I were you”. And you are. And you will not do so, because you are afraid of getting fired.
Serbia WILL bow
Term MOBBING includes all types of harassment in the workplace. Mobbing is a not a new phenomenon and has existed as long as humanity exist and the desire of individuals for power.
Sexual harassment, ignoring, ridiculing, threats, depriving of the earnings… are only some of the forms of abuse. By its structure, mobbing is an attack on the honor and reputation, contains defamatory, insults and violation of basic human rights. Mobbing is form of behavior in the workplace, in which one or more persons periodically or permanently psychologically humiliate another person with the aim of undermining reputation, honor, human dignity and integrity until the elimination from the work place.
Mobbing causes many health issues, changes in mental and emotional sphere, changes in physical-health plan and changes in behavior.
As our law on mobbing says, depending on the seriousness of the offense, employers who are registered as legal entities will pay fines from 100,000 to 800,000 dinars (app. 6,500 euros), while the employers who are registered as individuals have to pay from 10,000 to 400,000 dinars (app. 3,000 euros). Lawsuit against those who abuse can be submitted maximum six months after the last conflict. During the procedure, the victim and all witnesses are protected against being fired, reassignment from the workplace and have the right to full pay.
And about lawsuits in Serbia – well, there are almost none. According to the lawyer Irena Drca, although according to statistical data the number of victims of abuse at work is on the rise due to a number of factors – globalization, high competition on the market, the uncertainty of jobs but also the inflexibility of employees, etc., paradox is the fact that the number of prosecutions of mobbing cases is minor. The reasons for this fact are numerous, from the ones on the side of the employees (lack of information, etc.) to the side of authorities and institutions responsible for dealing with specific situation.
General rule is: Sue the state or someone supported by the state in any way – you will probably lose because of the “independent judiciary”. Suing a small employer, well, big chance is that you will win. The law still has to be respected. Sometimes.
Meanwhile employers can learn how to better swerve lawsuits for mobbing at seminars, such as the one in the picture below.
It is obvious that everyone rush for the money on the account of “those who can always be replaced with someone from the bureau” and in doing so they do not care that mobbing affects not only the person against whom it is committed, but their whole family. One corpse more-less, who cares.
Tell the Doc, where it hurts? Is it lower back?
A woman, healthy, in her 30s, mother of two young children, employed at a Belgrade company on the other bank of Sava, a company that boasts it is an authorized service partner in Serbia for the most tech giants. By looking at forums on the Internet, one wonders how it still exists with the quality of services they provide. But let’s get back to the story.
Although initially everything was idyllic – at least the woman thought so, as the time went by, the health of the mother of two children began rapidly collapsing.
It began as Depression, and then a few months later another diagnosis was added – Gastritis, then Laryngitis, to eventually come to a diagnosis of Personality disorder. In all that time children have not seen her at home because she worked from dawn till dusk, and when she comes home she has no patience for them. The husband began “looking on the side” because the person he was sleeping with is not the one he married, and so on… And all this in this “service” company in less than two years of work. It is important to say that she also worked from home when she was on sick leave.
And as the top of perversion, the director of the firm, while the woman was still on sick leave, at the staff meeting announce that she quit her job (although she did not), that her husband attacked her boss (although he did not) and a pack of lies just to blacken her even more before the colleagues. She is frequently on sick leave, he is a director, so he can do it. No matter that she “earned” all the diagnosis and every sickness right in that company. That’s irrelevant.
An average Serbian marriage lasts about 13 years and three months, according to the data of the National Institute of Statistics and Online survey conducted in Europe showed that the No.1 reason for divorce is exactly the lack of commitment.
And that’s how mobbing leads to the total collapse of the family as a pillar of society. For 300 euros monthly you earn 4 diagnosis, possible divorce, depressed children… Of those 300 euros, subtract some 100 for food at work and transportation – remains 200. So for 200 euros per month to have your life fall apart – great.
The worst thing is the fear of getting fired which does not go away – how to find another job, will you find another job, when, which will it be … Forget it all and keep silent, maybe they are right, there is always someone who will come to work instead of me, maybe I am really not worth enough to them to keep me, maybe I didn’t work hard enough… And this type of thinking leads you to have 19 percent of chance to earn another diagnosis – type 2 diabetes, according to data published in the scientific journal “Canadian Medical Association Journal”.
And while you suffer and eventually become more and more crippled, some conceited almighty (and probably uneducated, “came-through-connections” – usual stuff in Serbia) director drives new BMW bought to him by the company, and boasts on social networks with pictures from places that some travel agencies haven’t heard of.
That is why this woman from the beginning of the paragraph folded the sheet and decided to sue. Done. No more. And she is right, because unlike some others she has the b*lls. She did earn all those diagnosis, but at least she will not have to bow any more and earn new ones. And the rest of you who are scared, go to doctor regularly for check-up.
What happened with the lawsuit, that will be the topic of the some following article.
This is Balkan
For the purposes of this article I sent a question to companies (or their PR agencies) in the world such as HP, Dell, Epson, Acer and almost all companies in Serbia. The questions were very clear:
If Your company would become aware that a company You are cooperating with is involved in any way in a case of mobbing at the highest instance (i.e. CEO) or to the largest extent (example of Foxconn) would You cease cooperation with it?
– Many companies are boasting with “Environmental protection” business, ecological preservation and such, but not one company so far has said (except for Richard Branson – Virgin) that health and welfare of the employees comes first, as in their company as in the companies they cooperate with. What do You think, why is this so?
– Do you believe that companies, if of course there is an alternative, should cease cooperation with companies which are performing mobbing over their employees, and in that way contribute to reducing this phenomenon?
Responses astonished me. At least of those who deigned to answer – because most them DID NOT, and by those I mean the companies from Serbia. As example I will take the response from the PR of HP company:
“Thank you for your email. Unfortunately we will not be able to participate at this time. Kind regards, Emmanuel”
Acer politely directed me to their representative in Serbia, but we have not received an answer. The company, where the above-mentioned case of the mother of two took place, did not deign to answer questions.
I can not help but conclude that in the fight for higher profits most companies in the world tolerate, not to say even encourage mobbing. All this would not have been so bad if they had Japanese doing outsourcing for them, as they are obviously used to work until they die in the workplace. No, they threaten the workers in the world same as our employers, only in slightly different way: If we do not meet the norm (which is probably beyond any common sense), the bosses will decide to move production to China (or Vietnam, or…) and we will all lose our jobs. So, everything is the same but said in a different way. And then we have the case of Foxconn, Jura, and billion other cases in some companies in Serbia, but everyone remain silent. Well, we can always say:
It is the same everywhere, so shut up, take your pills and continue work. God forbid that someone rebel.
And while politicians skillfully “maneuver” with Kosovo, EU, Croatia, Bosnia, the people suffer mobbing keep discusses which politician is right, watch reality shows that have negative influence on intelligence on the TV, and similar stuff.
It is important that the consumption of tranquilizers in Serbia is still among the highest in the world, and our nation is dying out exponentially.
P.S. Now that you’ve read this, you can go back to the discussion on Kosovo or evil Croats, Serbs or some other villains. Thank you for the time you spent reading this.