After the Zagreb County Court had on Thursday banned the strike in a state-owned national flag carrier Croatia Airlines (CA), announced by the workers' union ORCA, Transport Minister Oleg Butkovic commented on the court decision.
Croatia Airlines' workers had announced a strike earlier this year, but agreed to postpone it after meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. After the last government session before summer recess was held last week, and the new management was still not appointed, the pilots’ and workers’ unions have announced a new strike for Wednesday, August 8.
Explaining today's ruling, the Zagreb County Court judge said that the unions did not negotiate “in good faith” on the signing of a new collective agreement. She adding that, if the unions' intention to sign a new collective agreement had been honest, they would have continued to negotiate as per the company management’s request.
Minister Butkovic had been against the strike ever since talks of it began earlier this year. In July he said that Croatia Airlines would most likely not survive a strike, and last week, after the unions had announced a strike, he sent a letter to Croatia Airlines, which listed all the possible negative consequences of a strike.
In the letter, Butkovic also said there was no justifiable reason to go on the announced strike at the height of the tourist season.
The workers’ union’s attorney, Albin Hotic, said on Wednesday that the minister had influenced the court decision with the letter. Butkovic strongly denied the claim.
“I did not influence the court, I did not even write to the court. I didn't communicate with the court at all, I'm not allowed to do that. I wrote a letter to the Croatia Airlines management and its workers that a strike would have immense consequences for the company,“ he said.
“Right now the CA management is starting the process of selecting the consultants who would guide the procedure and offer solutions to the government regarding finding a strategic partner for the company. I believe we will have the answer for the strategic partner in autumn,“ Butkovic said.