In spite of expectations, the government on Thursday decided to postpone making a final decision on whether to pursue receivership or restructuring for the troubled Uljanik and Treći Maj shipyards. Both are owned by the debt-ridden Uljanik Group.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković commented on the issue in Brussels, where he is attending a meeting of the European Council. "If you bear in mind that one of the main priorities of our policies is fiscal consolidation, which, I have to admit, with regard to reports from the European Commission on exiting the excessive deficit and excessive macroeconomic imbalances procedures, as well as all of the positive economic indicators, is important for us to hang on to. So it's not all the same to once again expose ourselves to sums that will effectively be double the projected cost of receivership, which as you heard yesterday is 557.5 million Euro, of which we have already paid 420 million. We will adopt a decision after some more consultations and some talks here with our European partners," the prime minister said.
Meanwhile, union leaders in Uljanik have decided to go on strike. They feel that a decision on the future of the shipyard has been put off for purely political reasons, and as a result, they welded the gates to the shipyard shut on Thursday morning. "We are asking them once again to make a decision as soon as possible. We don't have a day or two to wait, we don't have a minute to spare. We want an answer today. And we don't want the ships to be transported elsewhere, we want to finish the ships here," said union leader Boris Cerovac.
The sentiment is the same at the Treći Maj shipyard. Workers say they cannot understand the government's inaction and find its failure to make a decision inexcusable. Union leader Juraj Šoljić. "We have been brought to the precipice precisely because of the inaction of the state. Government hasn't done anything. Does absolutely everyone have to leave Croatia? This is our homeland, and these people here want to work, to stay here. Agree on something and make a decision, whatever it may be!"
Treći Maj workers also called out the State Prosecutor's Office for not looking into the management of the Uljanik Group, which they feel is the main culprit for the current state of their shipyard.