Stellantis offers some Serbian workers two years abroad or redundancy

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of Stellantis at the entrance of the company's factory in Hordain

BELGRADE (Reuters) – Stellantis has offered some workers at its plant in Serbia a choice between moving abroad for two years to re-train in electric car production, or taking redundancy, it said on Tuesday.

The company did not say how many of the Kragujevac plant’s 2,000 workers had been given this choice.

Last month, Serbia and Stellantis signed a 190 million euro ($200 million) deal for the carmaker to produce an electric vehicle at Kragujevac. Serbia is investing 48 million euros in the plan.

In a statement issued in Serbian, Stellantis said as part of the preparation to start production in 2024, some employees would be offered work in one of its European plants which is transferring production to electric vehicles, or to take redundancy.

“The first results are encouraging, during the first week as many as 25% of the employees expressed readiness to work abroad, and more than 100 colleagues accepted to work in other Stellantis plants in Europe,” the company said in the statement.

“Individual interviews will be conducted in the coming days.”

Sasa Djordjevic, head of the union at the plant, said it was wrong to force workers to choose between working abroad and leaving the company.

“Serbia said it would participate in the investment with 48 million euros and it is not fair to use that money to fire its citizens or move them abroad,” he said.

Djordjevic said any relocation would have to be done on a voluntary basis and based on Serbian laws.

(Reporting by Ivana Sekularac; Editing by Mark Potter)