Deputy minister Antesic says that demands of Croatia Airlines trade unions unjustified

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Deputy Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure Zdenko Antesic has said that the demands of trade unions representing workers of Croatia Airlines, who on Thursday morning launched a day-long warning strike, are unjustified and that the unions will have to resolve their problems in negotiations with the airline's management.

Three Croatia Airlines trade unions this morning started a 24-hour strike claiming that the company management had refused their demands presented at talks on a new collective agreement.

Asked by reporters before a government session if the unions' demands were justified, Antesic said, "We all have to share the burden of the crisis." "I believe the unions' demands are contrary to the current situation," he said.

The Croatia Airlines trade unions that organised the strike said on Wednesday that they had presented minimum demands related to keeping rights from the existing collective agreement, which is to expire on March 31.

They also demanded revoking decisions which in their opinion may affect flight security and putting an end to hiring workers through external agencies. One of the union demands was that the system of promotion be put in order.

Asked when Minister Zlatko Komadina, who has had health problems, would return to work, Antesic said he hoped the minister would be back in his office on Monday.

Croatia Airlines has reported that the warning strike will cause direct losses in the amount of 200,000 euros.

The company's management has said that the acceptance of the unionists' demands would cost HRK 18 million in 2012.

Representatives of the striking unions told a news conference today that they had almost no financial claims towards the management and that their demands were not related to benefits but rather to deteriorated safety standards and the management's bad business policy.