Minister says is glad Croatia Airlines won't strike

Photo nsl MIN-CA 7-8_18.jpg
Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butkovic said on Thursday he was glad there would be no strike in Croatia Airlines as it would have been fatal for the company, reiterating that he had not influenced a court decision banning the strike.

Zagreb's County Court today sustained a petition filed by the CA management and found that a strike announced by the Organisation of Workers at Croatia Airlines (ORCA) union for August 8 was unlawful.

Speaking to reporters in Novi Vinodolski, Butkovic said he would not comment on the court's decision and that one should wait for the final decision by the Supreme Court.

The minister said he was nonetheless glad there would be no strike as it would not have been good either for the airline or Croatia "in the best tourism season, with an increase in the number of tourists at all airports, as well as in Croatia Airlines."

He said CA's passenger turnover in the first six months this year was 9% higher than in the corresponding period in 2017 and that revenues were up 5%. The strike "would have been fatal for the company," he added.

Butkovic said the government had put CA on the list of strategic companies, that it was also in the National Reform Programme, and that a strategic partner would be sought. He voiced confidence that more would be known about finding a strategic partner in autumn, adding that CA needed stabilisation and fresh capital.

He once again dismissed the union's accusations that he had influenced the Zagreb court's decision, and reiterated that a strike would have cost EUR 800,000 daily and been "fatal for the company."

Asked if the state was the worst employer given the situation in CA, Butkovic said that since Croatia joined the European Union in 2013, the state could no longer financially help the airline and that this was why it was in trouble.

CA underwent restructuring and the state injected money into it in 2012, he said, recalling that the restructuring had included the sale of slots which the government partly stopped.

The state can no longer intervene and finding a strategic partner is the best solution, he said. "And we will do our best to stabilise the company."

He reiterated that the union's claim that the fact that the government had not chosen CA's management could not be a reason to strike.