Jadrolinija Workers in Split Dissatisfied with Working Conditions, Announce Big Strike

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Jadrolinija workers announced a strike due to the very poor working conditions, low wages and violations of worker’s rights. What’s worse, they have complained about this situation for years, but to no avail.

The extremely bad working conditions of Jadrolinija seafarers and workers on land, and the violation of the fundamental provisions of the Labour Act and the Maritime Labour Convention resulted in a peaceful protest, organised by the Independent Union of Seafarers of Croatian Passengers Ships (Nezavisni Sindikat Pomoraca Putničkih Brodova Hrvatske) yesterday at St. Duje pier, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

Recent pay cuts, mismatched salary weighting coefficients of the first officers on board and administrative workers, poor working conditions and many other factors is what has resulted in Jadrolinija workers becoming so desperate and distressed. What’s more, the largest Croatian shipping company hasn’t seen an increase in salaries in the last ten years.

Is the Management Board responsible for the current situation?

Nedjeljko Bulić from the Independent Seafarer’s Union claims that the Management Board is responsible for the current situation, which has been left to go stagnant for years.

“The management, which has been in power for the last four years, hasn’t done anything in regard to this issue. For the last two years, they’ve been ignoring us and not responding to our calls and inquiries. We recently had a meeting where they promised us an increase in salaries, provided that we get all the ferry lines, the Board members remain the same and that we don’t ask for more rights in the collective agreement. Of course, we did not like it. This Board doesn’t support the workers, so we have a number of things that we could point out as discriminating towards the union and the works council,” said Bulić, adding that there is no communication with the works’ councils because Alen Klanac, the chairman of the Board of Jadrolinija, does not respect the union nor the council.

“We have sought assistance from all sides, contacted ministries and the Government, filed criminal and misdemeanor charges for the non-compliance with the Labour Act, the MLC Convention and the national collective agreement, which the management does not respect,” Bulić said, before explaining that the negotiations for this agreement have been in progress for almost seven years, and that there are no signs of possible changes in sight.


Violation of worker’ rights

Bulić also claims that workers do not have a collective agreement at all, which the management promised would be done on several occasions. Workers find it inconceivable and unacceptable that they’ve recently started working multiple shifts, which is in total violation of the provisions of the Maritime Labour Convention and the Labour Act.

“A large number of ship workers in charge of the cooking and cleaning duties on board and many administrative workers are working under fixed-term contracts, which are continually extended instead of being offered a permanent employment contract. This is absolutely unacceptable, given that this is the most in-demand sailor’s job, of which there is a shortage. People on some ships work 19 hours, which is also unacceptable, because, according to the Labour Act, it is forbidden to work for more than 14 hours,” said Bulić, adding that the situation on the ships is very bad.


Low wages and poor working conditions

This also applies to seafarers who complain about accommodation, which is in a very poor condition. What’s more, the lowest salary of Jadrolinija workers, such as a waiter on a boat, is 2350 kunas.

“Two years ago, we protested in Rijeka, and you can see that it failed to break the deadlock. Therefore, we are demanding the dismissal of the Management”, said Bulić firmly. If the management is not replaced, and if the relevant state authorities don’t make any changes, the union workers are ready to go on strike.

“Unless the salaries increase, until a new collective agreement is signed, until an old wage protocol is cancelled and other sources of our dissatisfaction are improved on, we will go on a strike” he added. Numerous workers who are also dissatisfied with the current situation have joined the peaceful protest organised a few days ago. Their greatest concern is the deprivation of workers’ substantive rights.

“Things urgently need to change. The low wages and the working conditions are really terrible. We are expected to work by the 15-15 rule, that is 15 days on board, and the other 15 days we go home and rest. I work 30-30,” complained the first deck officer on one of the Jadrolinija ships, who understandably wanted to remain anonymous. His salary varies between 6,500 and 7,000 kunas. His colleague, also a sailor, who works for a mere 4,000 kunas a month, also expressed his dissatisfaction regarding the low wages and the poor working conditions.

“The state of the cabin where me and my colleague sleep is awful and appalling. The two of us can barely fit in the cabin, and we have to share the toilet with two other colleagues. During working hours, until we get to the cabin, we have to use the passengers’ toilet. And there are only two toilets available for about three hundred passengers,” the employee added.



Translated from Slobodna Dalmacija



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