2 – Repeated violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

Croatia

The ITUC affiliates in Croatia are the Independent Trade Unions of Croatia - Nezavisni Hrvatski Sindikati (NHS) and the Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia (UATUC).

In practice

Browse by:

Serious attacks on trade union rights continue at Brodosplit Shipyard 07-05-2018

Brodosplit Shipyard is well known for its anti-union behaviour (see previous entries in 2013 and 2015). Since 2015 when the employer inexplicably cancelled the existing collective agreement, negotiations for the conclusion of a new agreement never really started, leaving the workers at the mercy of the employer’s will.
In 2017 Brodosplit Shipyard and some 50 other subsidiaries on the site presented workers with a form whereby they were forced to disaffiliate from the union. As a result, around 1,500 union members were pressured into leaving the union. Newly recruited workers, mostly young and migrant workers, were warned not to join a union when they signed their employment contract. They were told that “their best union is their employer”.
Furthermore, the regional representative and main shop steward shop steward A union worker who represents the members of a union in dealings with the employer. Often elected by union members who work in the same establishment. at Brodosplit Shipyard received threats on his mobile phone because of his activities in the company. These threats were reported to the police and an investigation is ongoing. Targeted attacks on unions and union members are quite frequent at Brodosplit Shipyard. In 2016 the owner of Brodosplit Shipyard had already occupied the company union company union Can be used to describe either an enterprise union or a yellow union. ’s offices and confiscated its documents, thus preventing the trade union from carrying out its activities. While fear prevented the company union company union Can be used to describe either an enterprise union or a yellow union. from reporting this act to the police, the sectoral union, Sindikat metalaca Hrvatske-Industrijski sindikat (SMH-IS), lodged a complaint to denounce these serious attacks on trade union rights As of this date the cases are still pending before the courts.

Attacks on collective bargaining in Sisak 13-03-2017

In 2017 a conflict arose between trade unions and the mayor of Sisak, a city southeast of Zagreb. The city, which owns a great number of public institutions and companies in the area, has deliberately and repeatedly undermined the collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
rights of trade unions. At the instruction of the mayor, the directors of these companies have bypassed negotiations with trade unions and have concluded agreements directly with works councils on a number of issues that, by law, can only be negotiated with trade unions. Unions filed a report with the State Attorney’s Office on 13 March 2017. However, they have received no information since then. Unions are contemplating the submission of a complaint to the ILO International Labour Organization A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.

See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights
Committee on Freedom of Association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
to denounce this blatant attack on collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
.

Strike action restricted 20-10-2017

The Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia (UATUC) observed a worrying trend in 2017 whereby almost every strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
action against which employers had asked for a judicial ban was prohibited by the judicial authorities. UATUC has denounced the narrow interpretation by courts of trade union interests and of their balancing with business interests, as was the case with the prohibition of the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
in Hrvatski studiji University in 2017.
Moreover, in the fall 2017 the government adopted the Utility Services Act despite UATUC objections. According to the union, the Act is contrary to section 214 of the Labour Code, as it enables the employer to unilaterally adopt rules which can limit the right to strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
.

Employers interfering in collective bargaining 11-11-2017

The Sindikat metalaca Hrvatske-Industrijski sindikat (SMH-IS) has denounced the general reluctance of employers to engage in collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
, using stalling tactics, favouring negotiations with one trade union (yellow union yellow union A union set up and/or controlled by the employer to prevent the establishment of a genuine trade union. ) over another, or outright refusal to negotiate. For example, in the retail sector, employers have constantly delayed negotiations, and it took over four years to finally conclude the branch collective agreement. In most cases, employers justified their opposition to bargain collectively by the existence of company by-laws, which they are obliged to adopt in companies of more than 20 workers, as provided in the Labour Code. However, by-laws usually just reproduce the text of the Labour Code, and questions of wages and working conditions are not regulated in detail, if at all. These gaps leave wide discretionary power to employers to set working conditions.

Employers interfering in union organising 11-11-2017

Unions in the metal industry are still facing many difficulties in organising organising The process of forming or joining a trade union, or inducing other workers to form or join one. . The Sindikat metalaca Hrvatske-Industrijski sindikat (SMH-IS) has reported on four enterprises in particular where workers have been prevented from forming a union trade union, usually through threats to their employment.
Similar claims have been made by the Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia (UATUC), according to which workers are threatened with the non-renewal of their fixed-term employment contract or career freezes if they join a union. UATUC affiliated unions have reported cases of discrimination against workers who were either members of trade unions or were considering joining a union, in particular in the security sector. UATUC also reported on employers’ practices during the recruitment process whereby during job interviews they strongly advise new workers to join their yellow union yellow union A union set up and/or controlled by the employer to prevent the establishment of a genuine trade union. .
These interferences in union organising organising The process of forming or joining a trade union, or inducing other workers to form or join one. have to be examined in light of the situation of the labour market in Croatia where more than 90 per cent of employment contracts are fixed-term contracts. In 2016, 8.4 per cent of workers in Croatia were employed with contracts of less than three months.

Various attempts to weaken trade unions withholding union dues30-06-2015

Despite the existence of check-off check-off A system where union dues and fees are automatically deducted by the employer from the workers’ paychecks and then remitted to the respective union. agreements, in more than one case enterprises attempts to withhold union dues have been registered.
Such was the case of the company KTD Bilan from Orebić that was maliciously delaying with unnecessary administrative procedures the allocation of membership dues.
Another case was registered at Autoprijevoz – Otočac where the local Transport and Communication dues were collected from workers’ wages for years, but they have never been transferred to the trade union account.

Public enterprise engages in bad faith in collective bargaining01-12-2015

In December 2015 the Zagrebački holding d.d. (a company owned by the City of Zagreb) tried to engage in collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
with trade unions despite the existence of a valid collective agreement and seven annexes. According to trade unions, this invitation concealed – behind the illusory intention to consolidate general provisions of the collective agreement – the real will to seriously undermine workers’ rights.
Other cases of management engaging in bad faith in collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
processes were registered:
-  at Kostwein Varaždin Company where management stalled negotiations with the excuse that time was needed to translate the text of the collective agreement into German and therefore allow the enterprise to state its official position with respect to the content of the agreement;

-  at Brodosplit Shipyard where the company, well known for its anti-union behaviours, recently cancelled the collective agreement despite that in its privatisation contract it was explicitly stated the opposite;

-  at the ferry Company Jadrolinija d.d., where a few years ago a collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
procedure was launched to regulate seafarers’ work, but ever since an agreement has never been reached. Such delay was due to employer’s obstructionist attitude, systematically refusing any proposal of the trade union, as for example the one of including extra hours in the basis of calculation of salaries.

The institute of immunology gave a caution to a steward that spoke at a press conference01-03-2016

On 1 March 2016 the Autonomous Trade Union of Energy, Chemistry and Non-metal Workers of Croatia (EKN) organised a press conference regarding policy choices of the Institute of Immunology. At this occasion a shop steward shop steward A union worker who represents the members of a union in dealings with the employer. Often elected by union members who work in the same establishment. spoke in public on behalf of the trade union and of workers on the compelling need to continue the production and issuing relevant permits. Following the press conference, the Institute issued a caution and threatened the worker with dismissal because, according to management, “no one authorised her to speak in public on behalf of the company” while clearly she was speaking on behalf of the workers. In this respect EKN stated that this is a clear attempt to ban trade union public statements that raise awareness on the policy choices of general interest concerning this public institute.

New owner of Brodosplit Shipyard is attacking unions17-12-2013

Brodosplit Shipyard has been engaging in serious anti-union activities ever since it was bought by Tomislav Debeljak.

In March 2013, management posted declarations on its Facebook page indicating attempts to expel trade unions from the company and to relocate them to other premises. Moreover, the company stated that it had hired private investigators who were following trade unionists in the shipyard. It was also explained that salary deductions were made from trade union members for charity purposes. Management justified these actions by arguing that companies without union presence were more successful. These intimidating statements have led to a sharp fall in trade union membership. After about eight months of anti-union campaigning, trade union membership fell from 2,700 to 200.

In May 2013, the company decided to conduct a peer review based on a questionnaire prepared by management. The questionnaire included questions asking workers to judge how bad they think unions are for the company. Results were then used to determine the employment relationship of workers. In total, 20 workers lost their jobs because of their allegiance to the union movement. Almost all shop stewards lost their employment.

In November 2013, workers organised peaceful strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
actions to protest wage arrears. Police were present during the protests and reported there was no violence or disruption. Nevertheless, the company suspended the employment contracts of 254 workers on 18 November 2013. Up until today, 20 workers have not been reinstated. Tomislav Debeljak continues to intimidate workers by calling trade unionists hooligans and terrorists.

Anti-union discrimination20-03-2013

Management at Brodosplit, a shipyard, dismissed trade union members, 35 in total, without explanation or justification. Other trade union members have also been threatened with dismissal. The company also hired a security firm to follow trade union members and shop stewards and to investigate trade union officers.

Discrimination against union members24-12-2012

On 24 December 2012, Zagreb Holding dismissed Dario Rastovcan, a shop steward shop steward A union worker who represents the members of a union in dealings with the employer. Often elected by union members who work in the same establishment. from the Autonomous Trade Union of Workers in Public Utilities and Housing Services of Croatia who had been raising violations of rights guaranteed by law and by collective agreements.

Government cancels Basic Collective Agreement12-09-2012

On 17 September 2012, the Croatian Government cancelled the Basic Collective Agreement that provided benefits for officials and employees in the public sector after negotiations with unions broke down over wage cuts proposed by the Cabinet. The decision to cancel the collective agreement took effect on 17 December 2012.

Reprisals for trade union activities31-12-2011
© ITUC-CSI-IGB 2013 | www.ituc-csi.org | Contact Design by Pixeleyes.be - maps: jVectorMap