Court temporarily blocks Croatia Airlines strike


The county court in Zagreb has temporarily blocked a planned strike by Croatia Airlines' staff which was due to begin this morning and affect some 70% of all flights. The court, which is considering the case brought forward by the carrier's management, found that the strike would cause considerable damage to the airline. It has temporarily blocked industrial action and will continue to debate the legality of the strike tomorrow, after which it could either lift or retain the embargo. Two of Croatia Airlines' unions representing pilots, cabin crew and mechanics were due to stage a walk out from 06.00 this morning, unhappy with the proposed terms of the new collective agreement and the carrier's management. It previously cancelled two strikes in hope of reaching a deal.

Croatia Airlines was today due to operate just 22 international and domestic flights, which would have affected some 5.000 passengers. According to the management, the strike would have resulted in a loss of over 800.000 euros per day. It further accused unions of having unreasonable demands, noting that it would have to fork out an additional 7.1 million euros per year in order to meet their requirements for increased pay, extra holiday leave and fixed contracts for a number of staff members. For their part, the unions say the management has done nothing to negotiate the terms of the new collective agreement to replace the one which expired twenty months ago and has offered no compromise. Attempts to break the stalemate between the two sides were made on Monday night but ultimately failed.

The Croatian Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure sent a letter to Croatia Airlines' staff on Monday evening, warning them of grave consequences their strike action would have on the carrier and Croatia as a whole. "Croatia Airlines is a company of great importance and is in the process of seeking a strategic partner, in line with the government's plans. The carrier is in the midst of a significant investment cycle which includes funding for fleet maintenance which is very expensive and is valued in the tens of millions of dollars", Mr Butković said. He added, "The collective agreement expired on December 31, 2016, however, its terms have been extended until further notice so as to secure the economic and social interests of all employees".

The Minister warned that the strike could lead to a complete collapse of Croatia's air transportation network. "The strike would affect between 5.000 and 6.500 passengers per day. mostly foreigners who would be unable to return to their countries of origin or arrive to Croatia for their holidays. Croatia Airlines would be obliged to pay for their accommodation and alternative transport, which would be impossible to secure during the summer as all hotels are at full capacity and other airlines are booked out", Mr Butković said. He noted, "Accumulating passengers at local airports, especially those on the coast, would lead to a complete collapse of Croatia's air transport, which would impact other sectors of the economy as well". The Minister said the unions are unreasonable in their demands and are acting carelessly and recklessly.

UPDATE: Court delays ruling on the legality of the strike until Thursday.

Comments

  1. This is crazy. I haven’t heard other EU countries forbidding strikes.

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    1. Agree, what other possibilites do workers have then. They are basically slaves of the management. It should be beneficial in bothe ways.

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    2. OU is not Lufthansa, nor BA nor Air France who make hundereds of millions of euro profits. Workers in those companies CAN negotiate and force the management to give up a portion of the company's profit in order to improve the working conditions. OU CAN'T. It's survival is vital to Croatia's economy. Good decision by court as several pilots should not have the power to mess with that. If pilots are unhappy - they should find themselves another company that could finance the improved standard of living, there are plenty of openings for pilots, especially in Asia... But off course that won't happen, because lazy "mamine maze" want to enjoy the great quality of life in Croatia, rest during the winter and get paid well. Ma nemoj !

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    3. Lovely speech, except that the right to go on strike is NEVER and NOWHERE determined according to the company's profits.

      OU's survival is absolutely not vital for Croatia's economy. The economy can and will survive without OU - which also can and will survive one strike.

      This strike causes panic attacks only among fanboys. You guys really need to try and understand that the OU staff have a legal RIGHT to go on strike. That right is guaranteed by a goddamn CONSTITUTION, related acts, as well the regulation of the EU that you all love so much except when workers' rights are being applied - then you suddenly switch to vocabulary and methods of colonial managers and military commanders in Africa.

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    4. "...It's survival is vital to Croatia's economy...."

      Really? Then we obviously have the wrong government in charge! Petre, ne lupetaj, molim te!

      "...If pilots are unhappy - they should find themselves another company that could finance the improved standard of living, there are plenty of openings for pilots, especially in Asia..."

      Shame on you for saying this, people are already leaving Croatia, a country with basically no industry left, but only tourism addiction!

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    5. In Poland LOT strike was forbid by court.

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    6. Why am I not surprised.

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    7. Poland, a true European country...NOT!

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    8. While I disagree with the unions, this IS insane. And the fear mongering about Croatian economy, is disgusting to say the least. The only one that can truly suffer as the result of the strike is Croatia Airlines itself. And good riddance.
      Otherwise, this kind of stuff can only happen in countries such as Poland, Hungary and Croatia, which are EU states in name only. The rule of law, and judicial independence don't exist in those illiberal democracies.

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    9. Michael the problem is that this strike could hurt someone else other than OU itself - it's the Croatian government. And I think that's the main problem here.

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    10. "...Otherwise, this kind of stuff can only happen in countries such as Poland, Hungary and Croatia, which are EU states in name only. The rule of law, and judicial independence don't exist in those illiberal democracies."

      Finally, some common sense! Bravo, Michael!

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    11. Michael - German air traffic controllers forbidden to strike, German teachers cannot strike, says Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, German court orders Lufthansa pilots to stop their strike, Lufthansa pilots ordered to end strike by court etc etc, if you just google a little you will find a lot of similar news from so called "EU states not in name only"....

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    12. Nije baš tako, u Kanadi naprimer vlada skoro uvek blokira štrajkove i donosi zakone kojima radnici ne mogu ni pomisliti da štrajkuju. Tako da nije samo Hrvatska ili Poljska koje donose takve očajne poteze. Strašno je da u 21 veku radnici rade kao u doba robovlasništva i nemaju osnovna prava (kao šta je štrajk).

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    13. To ti je model "liberalne" demokracije u kojem se sustavno unistavaju sindikati i prava radnika. Nista novo. A kod nas je glavna parola "kruha, turizma i igara".

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    14. Unknown,

      Izvini ali nisi bas u pravu, tj. jesi samo djelimicno. Kanadska federalna a najcesce provincijske vlade mogu (i cesto to urade) natjeraju radnike da zavrse strajk i vrate se nazad na posao. Ovo se radi tako sto vlada izadje sa tzv "back to work legislation" i to se radi relativno rijetko i samo za nesto sto legalno mogu karakterisati kao "esential service" kao sto su npr. medicinske sestre, vatrogasci, gradski prevoz itd. ja se ne sjecam da je ikad i jedna privatna kompanije prosla kroz ovaj proces.

      Problem je stosvako pa i sinidkati mogu ici kroz sudski sistem da barem uspore implementaciju takvog zakona i zbog toga su uslovi pod kojim se radnici vracaju nazad na posao vrlo cesto veoma povoljni po njih i obicno se smatraju kao pobjeda sindikata

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    15. Jos malo informacija... Ovaj proces u Kanadi od 1950 je koristen ukupno 30-40 puta. Evo jedan (malo stariji) tekst ako nekoga zanima malo vise kako se to radi u Kanadi

      https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/faq-back-to-work-legislation-1.1000525

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    16. Germany: https://www.dw.com/en/workers-rights-in-germany-not-everyone-can-go-on-strike/a-40908443

      "In 2014, the Federal Administrative Court confirmed that no public servants, independent of their occupation, had the right to go on strike. According to the constitution, they fulfill special tasks in the name of the state and are in a "loyal work relationship" with their employer, which is why they cannot protest by walking off the job."

      Australia: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jan/26/why-unions-are-furious-about-the-blocked-sydney-train-strike

      "On Friday the FWC’s deputy commissioner, Jonathan Hamberger, ordered the suspension of the 24-hour action slated for Monday and the continuing overtime ban, saying it was “threatening to endanger the welfare of part of the population” and “threatening to cause significant damage to the Australian economy or an important part of it”."

      Are these two illiberal democracies as well?

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    17. So if Germany or Australia does it, then it's the right thing to do?

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    18. Air traffic is NOT essential! Full support to unions. Shame on so called court. Real European values in practice.

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    19. How about pay docking? Would OU workers strike if their salaries we cut proportionately to the time spent in strike?

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    20. Mislim da ti nisi u pravu pošto je Kanadska vlada vrlo poznata po tome da blokira štrajkove na prljave trikove tako šta pojedine poslove stavlja na nivo "vitalnih " kategorija i na taj način ne da ljudima pravo na štrajk. A šta je najgore u Svetu se predstavljaju kao velika demokratska zemlja.

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    21. Nekako ne vjerujem da bi se kanadska vlada na ovakav način poigravala s vlastitom nacionalnom aviokompanijom kao što to radi Hrvatska.

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    22. Anon @10:49 The rule about flight controllers is your counterargument? Seriously?? What an awesome analogy. Not. Flight controllers everywhere are extremely limited in their work related actions of that level. Just like police officers, or military service members, firefighters, EMTs...etc. For obvious reasons. That's a common rule, not unique for Germany. The airline pilots and cabin crew do not fall under that category of civil servants under any stretch of imagination. They are not civil servants, unlike the teachers in public schools in Germany and with that your other example falls flat too. Civil servants in Germany have a specific balance of rights and duties guaranteed by the constitution and further ironed out through agreements between the unions and the government. They have limits when it comes to strike, but that is counterbalanced by being paid properly, by their rights being respected and only as long as that is the case. If they have grievances, there are alternative ways to address them through the court system, instead of strikes. It is also extremely hard for them to get fired and so on.
      The only example you mention that has any relevance to this subject is that 2015. court decision in Karlsruhe about the Lufthansa pilots specifically, that went all the way to the Constitutional Court, which confirmed it. And that is literally one case. One. You rephrasing sentences as to give impression that that is something happening on a regular basis, doesn't change the fact that you are talking about one case. One case in which the court ruled in favor of Lufthansa based on the LAW. I guess it also slipped your attention that the case, ONE case in question, happened in the context of an already lasting strike -- the 13th in 18 months. And just one of the 13 had been struck down.
      Now you want to compare that to Croatia, where dispite the strike being legal, the court is essentially acting as an arm of the government, without taking law into consideration at all, and without any explanation for this decision. In fact, it was a government minister who was giving the explanation of the court decision. That's beyond farse. It's a perfect, tragicomic illustration of the situation in the country in general. I only hope the miracle happens, the judges sleep on it and the court decides to after all uphold the law and the separation of power and allow the strike to legally proceed tomorrow.

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  2. Thank god for that.

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    1. No, thank Butkovic.

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    2. The workers have the right to strike!

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    3. Yes, thank god the court acted like a puppet of the government and violated one of the basic rights workers have all over the Supreme Wonderful Almighty EU.

      This could never happen in France or Germany, because they are really EU, not this pseudo-EU.

      A court in Europe that decides what rights workers shall have and what will go down the drain... Sweet Jesus in a chicken basket.

      But at least some fanboys will be happy because the numbers will not go down and will still be of use in the internet battlefield.

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    4. German courts have forbid strikes before; here is one example:
      https://www.dw.com/en/german-court-bans-widening-of-airport-strike/a-15774601

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    5. Germany: https://www.dw.com/en/workers-rights-in-germany-not-everyone-can-go-on-strike/a-40908443

      "In 2014, the Federal Administrative Court confirmed that no public servants, independent of their occupation, had the right to go on strike. According to the constitution, they fulfill special tasks in the name of the state and are in a "loyal work relationship" with their employer, which is why they cannot protest by walking off the job."

      Whoops!

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    6. Airport/airline... you can not notice the difference?!

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  3. I think we can all agree that if the strike went through it would have been the end for OU so smart decision by the court.

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    1. haha, the COURT should NOT take particular interests BUT adhere to the LAW!!! They should take care not to be sued by the Unions in front of other courts like the Constitutional Court.

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    2. The politics is dealing with the work of the Court, hope the Union will sue Croatia to european court in Strasbourg! They have every right to strike! Shame on you, Croatia!

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    3. Like someone said, it is not up to the court to protect companies.

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    4. No, we will not all agree that one strike would be the end of OU because that is absolutely not true.

      We will also not agree there was anything smart in this decision, simply because it is an illegal decision. The role of courts in a democratic society is not to strip people off their guaranteed rights in the name of 'higher causes' (defined by politicians and fanboys). The role of courts is to protect these rights - Croatian courts instead violate them. The Communist Party of China will for sure be super happy with this case study on how the government effectively controls courts.

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    5. So what....Union members are all adults. They are aware that it could be the end of the company but they are accepting this possibility.

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  4. Didn’t the last strike in 2013 also end when the court banned it?

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  5. Well let's not celebrate (or protest) too early. This is a temporary decision until they make a final decision today, which could declare the strike legal.

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  6. I would love to see what is the argument of the OU legal team. Unions have done everything correctly - they reported the strike a week in advance, minimal workforce will be available at hand so some flights can operate. Why would the court side with OU management rather than workers when they have done everything in line with the law.

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    1. Because politics got involved and ordered the court to ban it.

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  7. Bravo Hrvatska!

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  8. We are known for independent and impartial courts... not.

    This was fully expected. You can't run a company with unhappy employees.

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  9. Disappointing decision from the court. Not because I particularly agree with the workers but because I think their decision is completely baseless.

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  10. If only the court in France and Germany could have done this during the AF/LH strikes.

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    1. They did! In case of Lufthansa they forbid a strike because VC was striking at Lufthansa for a matter not related to Lufthansa itself (the expansion of Eurowings). But this is not the case with OU.

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  11. Weird. It puts into question any future strike by a state owned company in the country.

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  12. just try to imagine mess described in the last sentence
    maybe i am getting old and more conservative, but for once i am not on the side of the unions

    as long as we are talking about the unions it is useful to keep in mind that JU's management worked hard to weaken the unions and has succeeded for the most part.

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    1. last sentence = last paragraph

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    2. Agree. Just imagine Split Airport if the strike had happened.

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    3. Then go and lobby for making a strike in the airline industry illegal. You already sound like a perfect lobbyist and the demand for such services is huge among the 1% that own 99% of the global wealth.

      Until the right to go on strike is properly outlawed, you may wish to less imagine cataclysmic scenes and spend some time learning about the rights guaranteed by law.

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    4. i wrote you a polite, normal reply, but somehow it is gone. no idea why? admin?

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    5. Unfortunately, there is no record that the comment has been sent, it's has not been categorised as spam nor has it been removed.

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  13. We will see. Court resumes session at 10AM.

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    1. If the court lifts the ban can they start strike tomorrow?

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    2. On Sunday, as far as I know.

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    3. Ok, thank you.

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  14. So they will all get sick tomorrow?

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    1. If they did that they would probably all get fired.

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    2. Highly doubt that with OU already lacking pilots and mechanics.

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  15. Questionable decision but understandable. I agree that the air transport network in Croatia would have collapsed if this went ahead in August. Strike in November, January, February but not in the middle of summer when its the only period your company makes any money.

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    1. What's the point of striking in dead season? What money? They are already falling apart!

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  16. And the court could not make a decision since midday yesterday and they just had to continue today? Seems to me like they will uphold the ban.

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  17. Well at least this could interest a potential private investor. They would know that no matter what they did the court would not allow a strike by the airline's workers.

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  18. Wow, apparently everyone in this forum considers him/herself to have a better legal knowledge than the court and its members, and everyone's so sure.

    In this case, I apologize on behalf of our legal system and court, for disappointing you our dear neighbours ;)

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    1. I'm a Croat and we all know how our legal system works, or doesn't! Thanks for the apology, but it won't do.

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    2. I think it is mostly people from your country commenting. Trying to find an enemy in everything that you don't agree with or anyone that dare criticise something in your country is not healthy. Same goes for your dear neighbours.

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    3. Our legal system has (once again) been reduced to kangaroo courts that serve the government. You can blame the neighbors for that as much as you wish.

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    4. Još nešto, Anon 9:33, svakome tko prati što se događa u Hrvatskoj, jasno je kako ova država ne funkcionira onako kako bi trebala, uključujući pravosuđe (druge stvari neću spominjati)! Nema potrebe da zakopavamo glavu u pijesak pred nečim što jednostavno nema veze sa zdravim razumom! Inače sam Dubrovčanin, čisto da ne misliš kako isključivo "susjedi" pišu negativno o odluci suda!

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  19. Mi probleme rjesavamo tek kada izbiju na krajnju tocku. Vec godinama se zna za poteskoce u toj kompaniji. Probleme sa flotom, osobljem, slotovima, placama, linijama, upravljackim kadrom... Ali zali boze.

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    1. Slažem se s tobom. I zabranom štrajka neće se ništa riješiti.

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  20. Anyone know when ZAG will publish their July numbers? Can we expect another month of great growth? 10%?

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    1. As far as I know, around 7% growth.

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    2. Growth was between 9 and 11%, we'll know soon enough. World cup charters added some numbers to overall figure. Without it, airport would have had growth of around 5-7%.

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    3. 379.193 pax or +8% for July in ZAG!

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    4. That is really bad, well bellow what was expected.

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  21. Good! It's the last thing we need right now.

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    1. Really? So how would you solve the situation in OU? Keep avoiding the problems until they, sooner or later, go bankrupt?

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    2. I don't think problems should be avoided but this strike would definitely end all problems because they would go bankrupt.

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    3. Anon 9:55, problems haven't been solved for years, only empty promises. What makes you think it will be different this time? If they are to go bankrupt, the unions are not the ones to blame!

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    4. Who are "we"? Fanboys from the internet? I don't think that it's up to you to decide what the OU employees can do or cannot do.

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  22. Guys come down. Let's wait and see what the court decides today.

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    1. Hope they change the decision and allow people to strike!

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  23. Well, it has been known for ages - it is impossible to run an airline profitable, if you want to adhere strictly to the free market rules. Lufthansa, Airfrance, British get under the table govrnment help (by limiting competition, direct subsidy etc), RYR and the rest of the LOCOs break the tax laws, labour regulations, they get municipality subsidies etc.

    And the small to middle size airlines (mostly from ex communist countires) simply do not have any part to play in this game. It's all about politics: Malev went bankrupt for illegal state aid, Adria was given another chance when they did the very same thing (Slovene government of course had to assure Merkle that JP will be privatized ASAP - as it was). On the other hand Germans gave Air Berlin 150 million euros of state aid, in order to conduct an 'orderly bankruptcy'.

    EU will slowly become a five airline union.

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  24. What does Purger say?

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    1. Here
      http://hr.n1info.com/a322033/English/NEWS/Analyst-Strike-will-kill-Croatia-Airlines.html

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    2. Why would his opinion be relevant?

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    3. Why is anyone opinion relevant? Why we have forums at all?

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    4. Purger is not just anyone. He is manipulative other end of the same stick.

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  25. I would love to see the court's legal justification for this move.
    In fact, it seems like someone called someone and got it arranged.
    We're such a banana country.

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    1. I assume the legal issue could be that OU is a state owned company. As such, strictly speaking, state employees may not have the legal right to strike. Not sure if there are any such twists in Croatian laws.

      I remember the famous ATC strike in the US some 30 years ago or so - that was banned by Ronald Reagan, the US president at that time. ATC workers were state employees and while they were allowed to have unions fighting and negotiating for their rights, they had no right to go on a strike and harm national interests (such as shutting down air transport in the country). Reagan ordered them not to strike, some 70% or 80% of ATCs still went on strike and were all fired and all received a live long ban to work as ATC.

      If the US has such stringent laws, then i find it very possible that there are similar laws in other countries, also in Europe.

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    2. What are you talking about? You can't compare the US to any European country. The history of the unions is totally different. In Europe we have a long tradition of workers rights and fights. Reagan was a very liberal republican, and he was supporting the market and the big corporations.

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  26. CTN with a 28 year history....it cannot just treat its employees like that.
    Just increase their salaries and let them live a decent life. Should this happen, the overall service will be improved a lot.
    Increase the pilot salaries, please!

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    1. "the great quality of life in Croatia" ovaj uhlijeb nije cuo za kolone autobusa koji odvoze ocajne Slavonce na rad u Nemacku.

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  27. Kako to da piloti Austrian Airlines na sličnoj europskoj mreži letenja ostvaruju 30% više BH po pilotu od pilota OU.
    Kada bi OU piloti radili kao piloti Austrian-a ( ili LH ili. .. u EU), OU bi mogla isti red letenja ostvariti sa jednim avionom i pripadajućim posadama manje.
    To znaju sve uprave OU i piloti.

    Ako sada traže još veće plaće za još manji rad po uvjetima koji traže u novom "kolektivnom", onda je to reketarenje i kolektivna ludost.

    Izlaz je da ako OU piloti pristanu raditi kao OS kolege, da im se to povećanje rada razmjerno i plati.

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    1. A čiji je to posao da osigura 30% veći BH? Uprave ili pilota? Tko je uprskao što piloti ne mogu imati 30% veći BH?

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    2. Sami piloti ucjenama 'kolektivnog' ugovora.

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  28. Kasandra im nije ravna :)

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  29. All of the unions believe that the court will block their strike indefinitely today.

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  30. UPDATE: Court has delayed ruling on the legality of the strike until Thursday.

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    1. Pure madness. They are just buying time.

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  31. I don't understand what prevents government from issuing a back to work legislation if they are so concerned with the strike. Why do they have to go through courts? Does anybody knows the details of Croatian labor laws that would apply in this case?

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  32. Best paid and working at least are seeking more money for more less work. And all that from company in loss. How it is called ? Probably the judge know the name.

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  33. the court has all the righ to end the strike and to prevent strike from happening, especially if it is going to result in a company collapse and loss of the jobs.......i'm just aking myself: How is that those people who are calling for strike, dont't see they might loose their job as a result of a strike, not by an airline firing them, but as a result of an airline collapse

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    1. I would disagree with you here. The court has only one right and that is to uphold the existing laws in the country. Unless there is a law that explicitly prevents OU staff from striking or prevents essential services (and OU is declared as one), court has no job here. Judging from the fact that they keep delaying the decision it's clear to me that such law doesn't exist in Croatia otherwise they would come and say directly that CA strike is violation of the XYZ law and as such is illegal. That's the role of a judicial system.

      On the other hand there is nothing preventing government to suggest a new law to the parliament that prevents any further OU strike. They can probably even pass it in short period of time if they declare it as emergency law (usually there is a such way that circumvents public consultation). Does it have the majority to pass such a law and would that law be in contradiction with other existing laws or even worse country's constitution is entirely different question.

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    2. there is a law, you can look it up on Ministry of justice of croatia website somewhere...or if you want to be fast you can look it up here.... www.zakoni.hr , a full list of laws of Republic of Croatia .... the law clearely says that if the wokers had all their right sustained/reserved even out of collective agreement, the union has no right to organise an industrial action against the company, especially in cases of bankruptcy proceeding or in time of financial crissis in the company, which as result would have a company collapse and loss of the jobs in that company ... radnici uopće nisu svjesni da će ako organiziraju štrajk CA otići u stečaj (čime ostaju bez mogućnosti traženja strateškog partnera) i onda će doslovno ostati bez posla i svojih prava.......samo se pitam kome je u cilju da 1000 radnika ostane bez posla, meni se čini da je to u interesu 10tak ljudi koji sjede u odboru sindikata i koji su se naplehali novaca pa ih to neće baš pogoditi

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  34. I hope they go on strike, something needs to change and the fact they delayed their ruling gives me optimist all is not lost.

    Btw today I heard that Volotea might be launching 2x MRS-ZAG from December 18.

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  35. My question is: Who is paying? Is it the Croatian taxpayer?

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  36. So, either they give 8.1 million in the next year and meet their demands, or give 8 millions in the next 10 days because of lost profit and compensations.
    Math seems logical.

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    1. Only reasonable outcome is that Pilots gets for 30% higher work in BH same increase in salary increase.

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    2. How difficult would it be for OU to hire pilots from Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Serbia, Baltic states, or other countries with average income similar to that of Croatia?

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    3. Zasto bi radili kao roblje u hrvatskim uslovima?

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  37. U danasnim uslovima poslovanja Croatia ima potrebu za odrzivim razvojem segmenta aviona kapaciteta od 98 do 122 putnika.Imali su ugovor za leasing sa Trade Air za leasing za dva odlicna Fokker 100 aviona koji su bili profitabilni,no predugo su razmisljali za nabavku odlicnih americkih aviona MD-95 koji su jos uvjek u vrhu po pouzdanosti i profitabilnosti u Americi.
    Hrvatski menadzment kompanije je u totalnom zastoju jos od 2013 godine, jos uvjek nije donesena odluka za nabavku NEO motora za buduci Airbus320 i predugo se ceka neka vrsta pomoci inostranih avio i ostalih ekspeta iz bivsih Juoslovenskih republika.nadamose da ce biti sve dobro u buducnosti.

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