Sisak Refinery Again in Crosshairs

By 24 August 2017

Workers are worried that one of the only two Croatia’s refineries could soon be closed down.

The news that it has been decided that the oil, which should be processed and which is now located in the reservoirs of the Sisak refinery, will be transported for processing to Rijeka has caused concern in Sisak, where workers interpret it as a signal for the gradual termination of production in Sisak, reports on August 24, 2017.

This is the reason why an emergency workers committee was urgently activated on Wednesday evening, in order to take action to prevent the transport of oil, according to previously issued warnings. “We are witnessing yet another attack and an attempted fraud by MOL, with the intention of closing down the refinery in Sisak as the main competitor to MOL’s refineries,” said Petar Sekulić, the committee’s spokesperson. MOL and the Croatian government are co-owners of INA, the Croatia national oil company which has two refineries, in Sisak and Rijeka. MOL is the Hungarian national oil company.

The most recent decision on the transport of oil from the Sisak refinery to Rijeka has not been reported to the INA’s Supervisory Board and the Board of Directors, which is contrary to an agreement with the government about stopping such activities. For this reason, the committee has informed the local community, Prefect of Sisak-Moslavina County Ivo Žinić and Mayor of Sisak Kristina Ikic Baniček.

“Today, when Dalmatia is being ravaged by fires, we wonder if we are going to risk new ecological catastrophes and fires in other parts of Croatia. Before possible disasters in Gorski Kotar, they will first have to extinguish a fire of the Sisak refinery workers,” said Sekulić.

The committee has urged the government to react urgently and stop the decision to transport oil, adding that the transport will not be allowed to proceed. The coordination of the railroad blockade at the exit from the refinery is at the highest level, and the trade unions and the refinery’s veterans’ associations are in constant contact with workers and many veterans' organizations throughout Croatia, said the committee in a statement.

The leaders of the three trade unions of INA – the Union of Petroleum Industries (SING), the Union of Petroleum Sector (INAŠ) and the Independent Energy, Chemistry and Non-Metal Trade Union (EKN) – have called for an urgent meeting with the management to discuss the issue.

“The INA Board of Directors has not yet presented to social partners and the public its final decision on INA's refineries. Without a vision and a programme of sustainable refinery processing, which must include both Rijeka and Sisak, we will not allow partial solutions to be implemented. We very openly say to the management and the owners – either respect the agreements or face the consequences,” said SING president Jasna Pipunić.

The management has not yet informed the trade unions about the analysis and main recommendations from a Deloitte study which, according to the media, proposes a gradual closure of the oil refinery in Sisak over the next five years and its conversion into a logistics centre and a biorefinery, while the modernization of the refinery in Rijeka should be completed during the same period.

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