Croatia Airlines Crews to Strike Next Week?

Total Croatia News

The reason for the strike is a new collective bargaining agreement which has not been agreed.

Pilots, stewardess and mechanics employed by Croatia Airlines have informed the company’s board of directors that they would start a strike next Tuesday, 8 August. The strike will continue until their demands are met; they want the collective bargaining agreement which they proposed on 6 April to be signed, reports Večernji List on 2 August 2017.

The previous collective agreement in Croatia Airlines was valid until 31 December last year, and the two sides have so far been unable to agree on a new one. The arbitration process was unsuccessful which means that legal conditions for a strike to be organized have been met.

The trade union (ORCA) says they it did everything it could to settle a dispute over a collective agreement before the start of the tourist season but claims that the company management is responsible for the strike because it did not agree to negotiate a new collective agreement. Instead, it wants the old contract to be extended. This is unacceptable to the trade unions, because the conditions in the 2013 collective agreement, which was concluded during the restructuring of Croatia Airlines, were below the acceptable standard, according to the trade union.

ORCA explains that one of the most important items in the collective bargaining agreement which they have proposed to the management is the working time regulation. They argue that there are frequent changes to work schedules, which means that the flight staff and mechanics do not have enough time to rest. They also claim there are not enough flight crews to organise all the flights, and they also demand that members of teams which have fixed-term contracts should get permanent jobs.

Regarding salaries, ORCA wants them to be returned to the levels before the cuts implemented in 2013, which would mean that the cabin staff would receive an increase in their basic salaries by 10 percent. ORCA says it is sorry for passengers who will have problems due to the strike but adds that the company’s management will be responsible.

The management says it will ask a court to ban the strike and adds that it is not certain whether the strike will have the support among the employees. Croatia Airlines adds that the trade unions submitted in their proposed collective agreement about 150 individual requests, which would cost the company about 50 million kunas every year. For example, the union is asking for flight staff to be paid a supplement of 10 euros for each flight.

Croatia Airlines also states that, in June this year, the average pilots’ salary was 28,138 kunas net – 34,825 kunas for captains and 21,825 for first officers. They also say that the average wage of flight attendants in June was 11,287 kunas net. The highest pilot’s salary was 55,334 kunas and for the cabin crew 15,574 kunas net. As for changes in the work schedule, the company says it is not true that it changes frequently, but just once in two months. It also claims that ORCA was offered to extend to the old collective agreement until October this year when negotiations about the new one would start.

During a strike, one-third of all the flights have to continue, and the company claims that it has already agreed to hire aircraft and crews from other airlines and that there would not be any problems in flight operations. It also points out that, during the 2013 strike, 85 percent of the flights were performed regularly and the rest with delays. However, that strike still caused millions of kunas in financial damages for the company.

Translated from Večernji List.


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