Uljanik shipyard’s top manager steps down, workers demand unpaid wages

Uljanik shipyard’s top manager steps down, workers demand unpaid wages

Following the resignation of the chair of the Uljanik shipyard Supervisory Board, Renata Kasnjar-Putar, last week, and a week after the Pula-based shipyard’s (Croatia’s largest) workers went on strike requesting payment of delayed salaries as well as a management change, on August 28 the president of the shipyard’s management board, Gianni Rossanda, filed his own resignation.

According to intellinews.com, “Rossanda previously spoke of his resignation plans as the strike escalated. However in his resignation letter distributed to Croatian media, he claims that he was waiting because he didn’t want to block the system.”

“Although I have publicly announced in the last few weeks my resignation from Uljanik, where I have worked from my student days, at the same time as the new supervisory board and the new managment are elected, I did not want to block the functioning of this complex system from which all workers rightfully expect a solution to the current problem as well as a long-term solution for all shipyard issues.

During the past years, months and weeks, I worked days and nights with all ministries, trade unions, shipowners and business partners, and especially in the preparation of the restructuring programme, and I have personally become a means of diverting attention from the important problems of the shipyards in Pula [where Uljanik is located] and Rijeka.”

On Tuesday, over 3 000 Uljanik workers took to the streets of Pula demanding to receive the wages the shipyard’s owners owe them.

The fact that some 1 000 employees reached Zagreb and held talks with high officials and the premier of Croatia, Andrej Plenković on Monday did not ease things. The top staff promised them they would pay them by the end of the month but gave them nothing in hand. Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts Minister, Darko Horvat, also present at the meeting, spoke of “funds to pay July and August salaries” that “could be secured by the end of the week”, as Reuters reported.

Horvat spoke to the press saying that, “After that we’ll focus on restructuring as this is the last chance to help Uljanik become sustainable.”

On August 22, 4 500 workers had staged a strike over the late payments and had gathered in front of the Uljanik’s main entrance…. / IBNA

Main Photo: Uljanik workers during a recent protest