Croacia - New owner of Brodosplit Shipyard is attacking unions (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 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.

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