Uljanik Loses Another Contract

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, October 1, 2018 – Canada’s Algoma Central Corporation last Friday unilaterally terminated a contract for a bulk cargo vessel that was to have been built by the Uljanik Group, the Pula-based shipbuilding group said on Monday.

The contract was terminated due to the shipyard’s inability to honour its contractual obligations, the shipyard said, noting that construction work on the vessel had not begun.

In early September, Uljanik’s clients terminated contracts for four other vessels.

Union leader of the Istria, Kvarner and Dalmatia (SIKD) union Marina Cvitić said on Monday that the events surrounding the Uljanik shipbuilding company point to the worst possible scenario that the shipyard will not survive, while shop-steward at the shipyard, Rajko Kutlača condemned all those who were trying to pass the buck for the shipyard’s future on to workers.

“All attempts so far surrounding Uljanik point to the worst scenario and that is the scenario in which the Pula-based shipyard can’t survive because the main stakeholders in the restructuring programme and that is the government, Uljanik and strategic partners, are far from a final agreement that would enable a solution,” Cvitić told a press conference.

She underscored that the fact that unions in Uljanik had not yet been given a reply to three letters sent to Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Economy Minister Darko Horvat, indicates that shipbuilding obviously is not one of the government’s strategic activities or industries.

“We consider that it is impermissible that the management and local government are thinking about asking workers what they want at the Uljanik locality. Ideas like that are delusional and hypocritical. Instead of taking responsibility for everything they have done until now and for the future of Uljanik, they want to pass the buck on to workers for what might happen in the future, which is absolutely irresponsible,” Cvitić added.

If the idea for workers to voice their opinion should be implemented, this union will call on workers to boycott that initiative, she said.

She underscored that they can’t help but come to the conclusion that this is an attempt to drag the unions and workers to be part of their dirty games and set the basis “to realise plans made up long ago in which there won’t be any shipyards.”

Cvitić underscored that due to the lack of a clear and unambiguous stance by the government, the impression is that it is necessary to “choose a lesser of two evils and that the restructuring plan with Kermas be accepted as the other alternative is bankruptcy.”

“Bankruptcy will occur but only if stakeholders in this restructuring programme, that is the government, management and strategic partner with the assistance of local government, want that. That is blackmail and that won’t be in workers’ interests. Workers won’t participate in all those plans and we condemn all those who are recommending that option,” Cvitić underlined, adding that she has information that funding has been secured for just half the amount of September wages for workers.

During the recent protest marchers in Pula by Uljanik workers and Pula citizens, when workers didn’t receive their July wages, they clearly expressed their wish for Uljanik and shipbuilding to survive, Kutlača added. He said that the problem in the Uljanik and 3. Maj shipyards depends only on the government to state whether it wants shipbuilding or whether it will opt only for tourism and retail.

“The solution cannot be found at that local level because it requires huge amounts of funds that local government simply doesn’t have. Workers are at breaking point and we demand a meeting with the prime minister and not with assistant ministers…to clearly say whether they support the survival of shipbuilding or not,” Kutlača concluded.


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