Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Minister Says Intensive Talks Underway With Two Potential Partners for Orljava

ZAGREB, 18 Aug 2021 - Physical Planning and State Assets Minister Darko Horvat said on Wednesday that workers of the Orljava clothing manufacturer had received three wages that had been promised to them and that intensive talks were underway with two potential partners for that Požega-based company.

Commenting on statements made earlier in the day by a member of parliament Katarina Peović and New Union leader Mario Iveković, Horvat said that problems in Orljava had begun in 2012 and recalled that the government had promised to secure the payment of three overdue wages and do its best to find a strategic partner for the company.

The wages have been paid and talks are currently underway with two potential partners, Horvat said after a meeting of the inner cabinet.

The minister recalled that a major complaint by the German company Olymp, which returned its order to Orljava, was one of the reasons for the difficult situation at Orljava.

Olymp does not want to maintain its business relationship with Orljava but it does want to maintain cooperation with the Đakovo-based Hemco, and talks have been underway with that company, he said.

Hemco is interested in taking a lease on Orljava's premises and hiring back about 70 Orljava workers, Horvat said, stressing that the approach to ailing companies had changed, which was why bankruptcy proceedings were launched for Orljava on 13 July.

So far Orljava's losses have been covered by the government or from the state budget but the government no longer wants to maintain that approach. As long as there is interest in the brand and products, the government will try to have all workers hired back but it will also help find a strategic partner to invest in the company and raise production to a higher level to make its products competitive, Horvat said.

Earlier in the day, MP Peović and union leader Iveković warned about the difficult situation at Orljava, noting that the government should provide more significant support to it, considering that it was its sole owner.

Warning that on 22 July most of the remaining 172 workers were laid off, Peović said that responsibility for that rested solely with the government.

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Wednesday, 18 August 2021

MP, Unionist Say Orljava Company Needs Greater Support From Government

ZAGREB, 18 Aug 2021 - The sole MP of the Workers' Front Katarina Peović and leader of the Novi Sindikat trade union, Mario Iveković, warned on Wednesday of the difficult situation at the Orljava textile company, underscoring that the government should give more substantial support to that government-owned factory.

Warning that on 22 July, most of the remaining 172 workers were laid off, Peović told a press conference that in the current situation, the responsibility lay entirely with the government, which is the 100% owner of the Požega-based Orljava textile company.

"It is unacceptable that the government failed to react when workers hadn't received a salary for three months until a protest rally was staged in St Mark's Square on 30 June," she said.

It didn't react, she warned, even when trade unions tried to speed up the resolution of the problem and enter into communication with the government, and now the ruling party seems to be on holiday and is not getting involved in the bankruptcy proceedings initiated to maintain production.

She recalled that both Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Physical Planning and State Assets Minister Darko Horvat had been promising that the bankruptcy proceeding would be initiated primarily to maintain production.

Peović said that the Workers' Front had sent questions to Prime Minister Plenković and Minister Horvat about the situation in the Orljava company but hadn't received answers.

According to her, problems at the Orljava company started when German company Olymp, with which Orljava had had long-standing cooperation, reduced orders and then terminated them.

Also, the Olymp company wanted to know about the government's long-term plans for Orljava but received no answers, she said.

Peović also said that if Orljava's management had not been doing its job, Minister Horvat was directly responsible for that and should have replaced it.

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Saturday, 14 August 2021

Croatian Orljava Factory Closing Doors After 75 Years of Business

August the 14th, 2021 - The Croatian Orljava factory in Pozega has been in operation for 75 years now. The well known textile factory will soon unfortunately have to close its doors forever.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, after 75 years of business, the famous Croatian Orljava factory, is shutting down. At a recent gathering of the factory's employees, it was confirmed that most of the workers will need to find new jobs. The state, which owns the factory, hasn't reacted to the accumulation of debts and the deteriorating situation for years. It didn't even bother to secure the promised partner.

After spending almost three decades in one secure workplace, longtime Croatian Orljava factory employee Lucija came to collect her things. ''I feel miserable, depressed, useless, rejected. Simply rejected,'' said Lucija Kljajic for Dnevnik Nova TV.

The factory ended up in bankruptcy due to million kuna debts. The final blow was dealt by their German partner which saw the cancellation of any further orders. The owner of the factory - the state, had previously promised to look for a strategic partner, but there has, rather unsurprisingly, absolutely no progress.

"Unfortunately, the people from the Government who are supposed to work on it are completely inactive all summer, so the bankruptcy trustee was forced to reduce the number of employees, reducing that number down to an absolute minimum given that there's simply no money for salary payments,'' said Mario Ivekovic from the new union.

The Croatian Orljava factory's problems have been piling up for years now and the state finally got involved in the settlement back at the end of June, when, after protests, it paid workers three legally guaranteed salaries. "The state is deaf, it doesn't want to help us. It's difficult for us, we'd all like to stay and work,'' said the union commissioner Mirela Bonic.

"We know we didn't deserve for this to happen. It's unfortunate that the real culprit won't ever be held accountable, and us poor people are being forced to leave,'' said Kljajic. According to the collective agreement, they are entitled to severance pay in the amount of eight gross salaries, but the question is not only when they'll receive it, but if they ever actually will after so many false promises.

The fight also awaits the bankruptcy trustee who is refusing to give up entirely on the search for a partner. Only the state is causing issues. "They're the ones who didn't care,'' Ivekovic stated.

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Friday, 13 August 2021

Minister: Two Letters of Interest for Textile Company Orljava

ZAGREB, 13 Aug 2021 - Construction and State Assets Minister Darko Horvat said on Friday that the Orljava textile company had received two letters of interest from companies to take over this Požega-based shirt producer and continue production.

We are doing everything we can to make such a strategic partnership happen and to ensure a normal future for at least a hundred of workers at Orljava if not for all on its payroll, Horvat told reporters during a visit to the coastal town of Vodice.

To those claiming in the media that the state has not helped the Požega-based company until now, he said that the government had so far provided HRK 24 million in various loans and lent HRK 3 million, which hadn't managed to save Orljava from bankruptcy proceedings.

I didn't want Orljava to turn into a small Uljanik and feed a company that cannot operate on the market like this and with its business plans, Minister Horvat said, stressing that if the income does not cover the expenses, then the management must ask itself what to do next.

He said they hadn't been able to receive a development plan from Orljava's management, which would have enabled them to see a new investment cycle and to determine a technical correlation with its biggest buyer until yesterday, the German company Olimp.

As for the reconstruction after the earthquakes in Zagreb and Banovina, Horvat that in addition to construction engineers, the reconstruction required lawyers due to "the catastrophic state of property relations" and the legality of buildings awaiting reconstruction.

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Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Agreement Reached Between Govt, Unions and Protesting Orljava Workers

ZAGREB, 30 June, 2021 - An agreement was reached on Wednesday between two trade unions, workers of the Požega-based Orljava company and the government on three monthly wages in arrears to be paid and on efforts to be made to find a new strategic partner for this clothes company.

Construction and State Assets Minister Darko Horvat received the workers after they held a protest rally outside Government House on Wednesday, demanding talks with the government's representatives.

After the meeting Horvat said that there was no need for the protest to have been held because the government had already taken certain steps in reference to the fate of the Orljava company.

"The government is not running from its obligations. Workers will get their three outstanding salaries in accordance with the law. I promised them that they would get their pay in the next 10 days," Horvat told reporters in Government House.

Horvat: We insist on finding a strategic partner for Orljava

He said that the government is not  thinking of liquidating the company but is insisting on finding a strategic partner. We think that there is no other way out. We have launched very intensive talks with Hemco from Đakovo, he said.

Hemco is specialised inn manufacturing protective clothes.

"At the moment, all the conditions that the government has set for Hemco have not been met for it to take over Orljava, until we negotiate the final details as there is still one small uncertainty," said Horvat.

He announced that a hearing has been set for Friday when Orljava will be assigned with a trustee.

Union leader Tomislav Kiš said that they found common ground with the government and established common stances, objectives and wishes.

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