Workers at the Uljanik shipyard in Pula will decide on Friday whether to go back on strike over unpaid wages after the expiration of a two-week thaw that saw most workers return to work in order to avoid irreparable damages to the fragile company.
Despite a recent air of optimism regarding the fate of the Uljanik group of shipyards - especially on behalf of management and the government - strike leaders Boris Cerovec and Đino Šverko are not so sure.
"Our condition was to not break the strike because September salaries have not been paid in full. We said we'd wait until Friday and see what the strike committee decides. Will we go back on strike or continue with the thaw, will be decided on Friday," said Cerovec.
Đino Šverko added that the situation was extremely volatile and that returning to strike would mean closing the doors of Uljanik forever: "We must be aware of this fact, but we have no alternative. Our only weapon is to strike and to not go back to work. Let someone else come in here and do what they want with the ships. But that's exactly what they want: they want to move in once they've completely destroyed us."
After meeting with representatives from Uljanik on Tuesday, Economy Minister Darko Horvat said the sustainable future of the country's troubled shipbuilding industry was within reach, as the government weighs tantalizing investment offers from foreign and domestic investors. But, the minister also warned that any potential restructuring plan had to first be approved by the European Commission in order to avoid violating the Union's strict competition laws.
Uljanik CEO Emil Bulić agreed, saying the restructuring plan was to move forward step by step: approval by management, approval by the government, then the final confirmation from the European Commission.