Croatia Airlines pilots issue warning


Croatia Airlines pilots have drafted an open letter addressed to the country’s Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, concerning the company’s treatment and future. The Croatian Pilots Union noted it was “gravely concerned over Croatia Airlines’ fate”, adding, “The government has shown a complete lack of interest in the company which forms the basis of the country’s connectivity with the world and is a major engine of growth for tourism and other sectors of the economy”. The head of the Union, Andre Šarinić, said that a third of all pilots and maintenance staff have left the carrier over the past few years, with more to depart in the coming period. “This is the result of indifference shown by all administrations towards the national airline”.

The Croatian government recently reversed a 2016 order to remove the national carrier from a list of strategically important companies, indicating the airline would remain in state hands for the time being. It also annulled a public call to select the company’s new chief last year, appointing an interim CEO instead and issuing a new call for applications, while removing necessary airline experience from the list of job requirements. The Union noted that such a decision has put the airline in a difficult position, since important decisions cannot be made. Furthermore, it expressed concern that the process is being deliberately manipulated by the government. Responding to the allegations, the Croatian Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković, said, “Ten days ago the government put Croatia Airlines back on the list of strategically important companies, illustrating that we have a different approach and that, together with other ministries, we will seek out the best solution for the company. I am calling for dialogue. Developments concerning the appointment of the new management are not as alarming and everything will be OK”.

Croatia Airlines pilots are currently in talks with the management over the future of their collective bargaining agreements after deferring industrial action, which was planned over the 2017 summer season, in order to allow for further negotiations to take place. The pilots also noted that despite the company's restructuring process between 2013 and 2015, the airline is performing worse in almost all metrics than before. “Croatia Airlines is selling its assets in order to improve its finances. It has sold engines, planes, its share in Pleso Prijevoz [bus company], as well as strategically important slots at Heathrow Airport. Adria Airways was in a similar situation before being handed over to 4K Invest, where the Slovenian government even paid an additional three million euros to the new owners”, the Union said in the letter. It added, “In order to open new routes, Croatia Airlines is wet-leasing expensive aircraft and crew from Spain, instead of hiring Croatian workers”.

The Union based its concerns on an analysis it published jointly with the letter, which you can view here (in Croatian).

Comments

  1. Is it just me or was that analysis written by Purger?

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    1. Wouldn't be surprised because he is close to the unions.

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    2. Yes, I think so too. He was also on TV recently talking about this.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zdyfd0Qi5pc&t=3s

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    3. Definitely he wrote the report.

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    4. table coloring, not so understandable analysis, unnecessary graphs, showing numbers in full while the source was rounded to the thousand, histeric language, daydreaming how would little peter run the company.... his product 100%

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    5. I would like to see Purger share his opinions here :)

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    6. I would say that guy gives himself a lot of importance and in reality his knowledge about the company and the industry in general is negligible.

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    7. Alen Šćuric Purger31 January 2018 at 12:23

      I made my opinion about this very clear on interviews for RTL, Nova, HTV, N1 and huge number of radio stations in last few days.

      I am not giving any importance to myself. Media, institutions, airports, air companies and Ministries are asking me for some information and analysis. I never called anyone or any institutions for interview, or if they need analysis. Never!!!

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    8. I have read the report in full. I can't find a single thing to challenge, except potentially some of the forecasts for the future of the region. So I really don't understand all this hate for Purger.

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    9. Tako je. Envy you have to earn

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    10. Purger,

      If you wrote it or not, I believe him and fully understand through what are pilots and other employees of Croatia going through.

      The crooks and incompetent managers running Balkan state airlines are all the same!

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    11. Alen Šćuric Purger31 January 2018 at 15:46

      So, true. But unlike you and me, pilots real existence is on it. Those who did not leave, does not want to, if they will not be forced to. But as we can see, they are forced by incompetence of those who gets much bigger salaries than pilots.

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    12. Absolutely agree with Purger! Keep up the good work!

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    13. Also, new flights from Split and Dubrovnik to Copenhagen and Munich

      http://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/croatia-airlines-uvodi-direktne-letove-za-dublin-muenchen-i-kopenhagen-evo-koliko-ce-kostati-karte/1022910.aspx

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    14. That was announced a while ago
      http://www.exyuaviation.com/2018/01/croatia-airlines-to-expand-network.html

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  2. I hope they don't go on strike during the summer...

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    1. They cancelled a planned strike last summer because the management promised to address the issue of the collective agreement by the end on 2017. I don't know if negotiations started but if they do go on strike than the management would be at fault. Hope it doesn't happen but in this case it is understandable in my opinion if it does.

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    2. They have started negotiations but so far there is no success.

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    3. Hope they go on strike, and I'm a Croat. That's the only way to convince the government to actually do something!

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  3. This might sound like a stupid question but with all those mechanics gone how safe is it to fly on OU?

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    1. Mechanics and pilots leave all the time and new ones are hired to replace those when needed. What is happening here at OU is effecting many counties and companies around the world. Experienced pilots (especially captains) and technicians are being offered good money throughout Asia. Mainly China and India.

      Its even having an effect here in Australia where the government has relaxed immigration laws allowing a special case for foreign pilots to work for Australian based airlines.

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    2. Mechanics are being replaced by foreign labour in Croatia unfortunately. There just isn't enough locals anymore.

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  4. If OU goes bust will the government have to pay a fine to the French?

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    1. I think that is the way its regulated in the concession agreement. But they certainly won't go bankrupt.

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    2. How will they pay their bills once the remaining Heathrow slots are sold?

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    3. They do have revenue for carrying passengers and they have other property as well if the need arises. Also, they should look at expanding their MRO business. It's a great source of revenue and profit.

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  5. All of this is happening because of Ivan Misetic.

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    1. Didn't he leave the company like 8 years ago? What does it have to do with him?

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    2. He is trying to get influence back at OU. Current CEO is his candidate and he has a lot of influence on current government. That's why the tender is being repeated (for absolutely no official reason since the first one was fine and valid).

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    3. His daughter is part of the government so no surprise.

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  6. How much do OU pilots earn?

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    1. Too much, they are disillusioned. If they don't like OUthey can go to W6 or FR

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    2. Avarage pay
      Pilots 34.825 kuna
      Copilots 21.157 kuna

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    3. Thanks. So 4500+ euros for pilots. How much do they get paid in Wizz for example?

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    4. Depends on the market where Wizz pilots are based but it's around €2.000 plus flying hours.

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    5. WOW so OU pilots have double the pay!? And they are complaining and want more? WTF? I'm sure they actually do less flying than W6 pilots.

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    6. Ridiculous.

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    7. €2.000 PLUS FLYING HOURS. So, at the end it is much more than Croatian pilots!

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    8. It is less, around €3800 per month for Wizz air pilots. They get only €40 per flying hour, or around 46 flying hours per month.

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    9. Highly doubt in 46 flying hours per month.

      I am Croatia Airlines pilot on A320 family and I am negotiating to fly for Wizz from Tuzla, Skopje, Budapest of Belgrade base. My income will be almost double and when I will spent money for communiting sill will earn much more in Wizz. Now it is about which of those 4 bases is better option for me.

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  7. I see this as an attempt by the pilots to have a better negotiating position for the new contracts.

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    1. I can understand the pilots. They are the backbone of the company and do a very good job. You cannot always give but not receive anything in return, especially after its been promised for so long.

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    2. All of what they say is true.

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    3. @9.14 Sorry but I can't understand the pilots. They are asking for 20-30% pay increase on their current wages. How do they expect the airline to survive by increasing their wages by so much.

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    4. Keep in mind that their pay has not increased since 2011!

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    5. So? The company they work for has not prospered since then either.

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    6. The company may not prosper for another 50 years. What should they do. Just sit and wait for better times to come?

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    7. It is very simple.

      Croatia Airlines "made" profit. Part of this profit should go to workers! Especially that workers had huge cuts in 2009 and 2011, and no increases since than. So better conditions were in 2008, than 2018.

      1/3 of pilots and mechanics leave company. If company will not do something even more will leave. And than? Who will fly in Croatia? Who will do services?

      Croatia Airlines pilots are not asking for conditions that their colleagues have in other companies, but at least near to that that they don't have reason to leave.

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  8. Unfortunately, I think all our dear national airlines are in the same sh*t. Adria, Croatia, Air Serbia, Montenegro Airlines. Same old same old with them.

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    1. +100
      It's just that they all have better PR than before so now they all look shiny and successful on the outside. It's unfortunate that there are so many cheerleaders here on all sides that can't see past the facade.

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    2. Agree with Anon 9:10!

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  9. Analysis is interesting. Gives you a lot to think about really.

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  10. I can understand the pilots. They are the backbone of the company and do a very good job. You cannot always give but not receive anything in return, especially after its been promised for so long.

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    1. What have they given?

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    2. Do you think that asking more than 4500 euro per month is ok?

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    3. Actually piltos are not the backbone of the company. Not saying they are not important, but they are front-end operators rather than backbone.

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  11. Unfortunate for Croatia Airlines.

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  12. "Developments concerning the appointment of the new management are not as alarming and everything will be OK”

    If you say so Oleg...

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  13. "4K će vrlo vjerojatno 2018. kupiti susjedni nam Montenegro Airlines."

    Those pilots read ex-yu aviation as well, apparently :)

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    1. I don't think this site stated 4K was going to buy MGX but it did say that a fund with airline experience has been looking at MGX. It was Purger who said that it was 4K... but who knows.

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  14. The fact the government can't find a partner for OU goes to show they know what's coming. OU no longer has much value. There is little incentive for anyone to find them attractive with all the burden they carry.

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    1. I think they might find someone like 4K. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if it's 4K itself.

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    2. Yes but OU has far more issues than JP and its workforce is less compliant and more prone to strikes

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    3. I wouldn't say the workforce is less compliant. Remember that Adria had a strike by pilots last year and each year there is a threat of strike. OU definitely has additional problems because it is a larger company but they do have access to a market with fast growing tourism which could be of interest to potential buyers.

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    4. Croatian mentality is much different than the Slovene one. Slovenes are closer to Germans so they understand much better what 4K wants from them.

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    5. In my opinion 4K would be a disaster for OU. Its just a shame that Adria was not bought by a industry based company which had some experience in aviation. Then you could make a case for Adria merging with OU but not like this.

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    6. Agree with Q400. In fact, I think 4K will turn out to be a disaster for Adria as well, just give it time and don't be fooled by a couple of new routes which will push passenger numbers up.

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  15. I understand the concerns of the employees. Everything they have worked for is being sold to show a profit while government is fixing tenders for future CEOs. We need to get OU back on track! Airline with massive potential and good position to be the leading airline in this part of Europe but it is being wasted by poor managerial skills.

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    1. Yeah... the only problem is that potential has been taken over by foreign airlines. Good luck competing with easyJet and others on the coast.

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    2. Which airline could compete with the massive influx of the foreign airlines at the coast? Therefore they are better to focus on ZAG than scatter their limited assets across the coast airports.

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    3. I think OU still has a lot it can do in Zagreb. Apart from launching new routes they need to work on making at least some of them year round and they could also put more focus on transfer passengers, especially during winter when loads are light.

      Agree with Frishki that ZAG should be their main point of focus. It is ZAG where the yields are the highest not on one weekly seasonal flights from Split to some European city.

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    4. ^Yes they have to reduce seasonality.

      Just published here that they have scheduled the Dublin route confirming yesterday's article. But again SEASONAL :(
      http://www.exyuaviation.com/2018/01/croatia-airlines-schedules-dublin.html

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    5. There are rumors in ZAG saying that French losing their patience towards OU due to its inability to grow since start of the concession.

      Not surprising at all. OU can't survive long while utilizing 1/3 of its capacity to feed LH hubs from coast, instead of its own.

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    6. That would mean ZAG will be looking at other airlines and LCCs?

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  16. So from great results and new routes one day to this the other.

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    1. That's because OU has a mask which slips from time to time and then reality as written above comes to light. The matter of fact is that they are struggling but some employees would bury the airline for a short-term privilege.

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    2. Exactly. If they are making profit and doing great, they can surely find a couple of million euros per year for wage increases.

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  17. Well I would love to hear what the pilots' solution is for everything without increasing expenditure? If you gave them to run the company for a month it would go bankrupt.

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    1. Only in ex-Yu is company staff determined to sink the company they work for.

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    2. You could also argue that the management is determined to sink the company.

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    3. Not the management necessarily - the government.

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    4. Let me be very clear here:

      PILOTS DOES NOT WANT DO MANAGE COMPANY ON ANY, BUT ANY WAY!!!!

      It is not their job, they don't have those ambitions at all, they understand they are not educated and have not qualifications for that job. But also they insist that Government put expert on CEO position and not someone inside company as those shows how incompetent they are, and for sure not someone politically colored.

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    5. Anon @ 10.02am - not sure how or why you think that ex-yu airline employees have a desire to bury their respective companies - or more specifically their pilots.

      They do VERY well - relative to the average salary of their respective countries. They need to carry the same burden as other employees. They are not a special privileged bunch of employees - it takes many people to make an airline.

      In any event, no employees have caused an ex-yu airline to go bankrupt - yet - unlike those at Alitalia

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  18. I don't get the logic. OU seeking for new destinations while they are having problems with their pilots. Reminds me of the FR scenario last year. Airlines must understand that pilots should be given the best conditions, as they are the most important players of the game.

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    1. Maybe they know that pilots are just bluffing. They have done this before.

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    2. Pilots are not bluffing. They are desperate and does not want to leave company. And you will see in very near future they are not bluffing!

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  19. Things have been going really good for Croatia Airlines kast year. Profit, passenger growth, new routes, new planes. I hope the pilots realize that.

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    1. They addressed all of those points in their analysis

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    2. Profit.... any airline that sells LHR slots is not in a good financial position.

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    3. Good, profit, passengers growth, new routes... so there is money for workers than after 10 years of decrease of their wrights.

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  20. Logic, what logic? Average pay in Croatia is like 5000kn and they got standard pay around 30k-35k! First officers get around 15k (new ones) to 20k (experience ones). So they got 6 time greater pay check then standard in Croatia. They got all benefits and they can work whenever they want (sometimes even what they want). If they want to earn more they can work little more and get much higher paycheck (in summer it can be almost double). On the last couple of meetings with management they didn’t even show up and before that management offer to raise paycheck for ALL workers but they said they don’t give a fuck for everyone they just want for themselves. So from my pov they are just selfish fuckers that care only for themselves and not about the anything else, especial for passengers and the rest of company.

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    1. It's one of the HARDEST jobs in the world! What do you expect?
      It's very easy for you to criticise behind the screen without having a clue on how hard this job is..

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    2. Oh come on... it's a responsible job but I wouldn't call it one of the hardest jobs out there. Compare it to those who work in mines, construction sites or even in the fields. The amount of work they do and they pay they get is much different from these pilots.

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    3. If you ever do manual labor then you would know what the hardest job in the world is. Nevertheless I agree with you that their job is specific and that they need to have better knowledge, but so those truck drivers and workers in medicine, oil rigs, ground handling, IT experts... etc. etc. ..

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    4. But then dont be angry when pilots go out of the country and you will have airline wich has no pilots. If pilots can get higher pay out, then you need to match those conditions or you will have no people to work.

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    5. It's very very simple. Treat the pilot bad and he will move immediately to another company. Remember the FR huge loss of pilots fleeing to DY? Now, salaries increased by 20%. Look at their official website.
      OU must pay and treat its pilots like kings or queens depending on the gender..

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    6. First of all average salary in Croatia is not 5.000 kn, but 7.000.

      And yes, they have much more than that. But still 1/3 of pilots leave company because of MUCH better conditions somewhere else.

      If they all will leave someone else will come and open new company here and they will pay pilots much more money. Is that necessary?

      Are those salaries biggest one in Croatia? Not even near.

      And pilots have to pay 100.000-120.000 EUR for their education. Most of them pay all their live credits for licenses, insurance etc. Now, money for their salary is not so big any more, isn't it?

      Plus most of them does not sleep in their beds not just for most of season, when they are in Dubrovnik or Split for 15+ days, but also all day as 50% of Croatia Airlines planes are overnight in SKP, SJJ, SPU, DBV, PUY, TLV...

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    7. Samo?

      Prvo nije dvije godišnje plaće. Jar ako uzmeš kredit na 120.000 EUR, on će te sa kamatama ispasti bar 160.000 na kraju. Uz to moraš plaćati garanciju za licencu, jer od čega ćeš plaćati kredit ako ti npr. odrežu nogu ili ruku? Zato piloti plaćaju osiguranje svog posla. To je trošak od 200.000 EUR

      Plaća kopilota je oko 2.500 EUR. To je znači njegovih 80 plaća. OK, kasnije će dobivati duplo više ko kapetan, ali da ga ubiješ to je 60 plaća ili ti 5 godina. Čak i da je dvije godine, ljudi jedu, trebaju negdje živjeti. Kako god to nije malo novaca.

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    8. It's not a question of how much pilots are paid vs. the average Croatian salary. This is the communist way of thinking. The question is whether they are getting decent conditions vs. competing companies, and it's clear that they don't. So they have every reason to be angry and/or switch companies.

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    9. Agree Anonymous 2:51pm. Croatia Airlines management have to compete with airlines in europe and the world to keep their pilots.

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    10. sta pricas ti? sto, trebalo bi me biti sram sto sam pilot i dobro zaradjujem? gle, podredio sam zivot tome....i to sto zaradjuem u OU su mrvice koliko bi mogao negdje drugdje. a nista me ne sprijecava, samo jos nisam odlucio otici.
      pitanja?

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    11. Podrška pilotima OU!

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    12. Podrska moja kolegama pilotima iz OU! Ako vi bidete na zdravim nogama to ce samo naterati kompanije u regionu da se bore za bolju uslugu putnicima kao i bolje radne uslove za svoje radnike.

      Pozdrav od kolege iz ASL!

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    13. Ево мали поздрав и за АСЛ колегу који овде моралише. Ви сте пре неколико година претили штрајком који је избегнут само зато што је отказан кадетски проград а ваша деца су примљена у фирму. Дакле ако ико треба да држи лекције о моралу, то онда сигурно нисте ви.

      Преко 50% младих пилота (укључујући и прву жену пилота) су деца јатовца.

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  21. Last year the management bought themselves a problem-free summer season and they did nothing during the winter to negotiate new contracts. Now they are surprised at this discontent?

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    1. They have already held six meeting so it's not as if they are doing nothing. The fact that they haven't found any common ground with the pilots is a different story altogether.

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    2. But minister who guarantee that he will be mediator and will force solution, was ignoring Union appeal that he should have meeting with them. More than one month ago Union contact him and he ignore their will to have meeting. Today unions did not want to meet with company management as minister did not want to come to meeting. Unions are waiting for his respond when he will be free to start negotiation again.

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  22. For all those predicting doom and gloom - the Croatian government will NEVER allow OU to sink. It would be political suicide and would hurt the tourism industry.

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    1. And how exactly will they prevent it from happening?

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    2. The same way the Italian government is keeping Alitalia flying.

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    3. Croatia doesn't have the same influence as Italy. There is a reason why Alitalia is still around but Malev isn't.

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    4. But the principle is the same.

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  23. Regardless of their motives, the pilot union makes many valid points.

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  24. The pilots union should be more concerned about the pay to fly scheme the airline is running.

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    Replies
    1. Oh we are!

      Pay to fly and seniority list is out of table to discuss. If that is not off, we are not discussing about other issue. Policy of Union is that there is nothing to discuss about it. Pay to fly has to be cancelled immediately.

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    2. Why should be "pay-to-fly" a problem?

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