Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Protest Held Against Layoffs at Zagreb Holding

ZAGREB, 29 March 2022 - Some of the trade unions operating within the Zagreb Holding multi-utility conglomerate held a protest rally on Tuesday, demanding the resignation of the management and suspension of the process of identifying redundant labour.

Several hundred protesters, including employees and union leaders, gathered outside the Holding's headquarters, waving union flags and holding banners saying "Down with the ZG Holding management" and "Stop this farce".

The protesters demanded that the workers declared redundant should not be laid off before a reorganisation plan and a new job classification plan were adopted.

The protesting unions had been involved in social dialogue with the management on identifying redundant labour. Unhappy with the process, seven unions from the SSSH union federation withdrew from the negotiations in early February, while the leaders of so-called in-house unions continued negotiating.

The in-house unions and the management agreed a list of 447 staff to be included in a redundancy programme. 

Baldo Kovačević, the leader of one of the protesting unions, said that the whole process had been poorly led because the management negotiated with the "illegitimate body", a negotiating committee comprising seven representatives of the in-house unions and only two from the SSSH. He said the whole situation was bizarre because the same people who for years had been involved in hiring were now deciding on layoffs.

Commenting on the protest, Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said that the social dialogue was constructive and that a majority of the unions were continuing the dialogue while only a minority was protesting.

He said that the original list of 544 redundant staff had been reduced to 447, denying the claims that it included cleaning and security staff.

Tomašević said that identifying redundant labour was part of the process in which the Holding, after operating at a loss for two years, should be put back on its feet so that it could settle its debts next year.

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Croatia's SSSH Union Federation Joins Global Protest Against Ukraine War

ZAGREB, 15 March 2022 - Croatia's SSSH union federation said on Tuesday it was joining in the support to the European and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) which are holding a Global Day of Action for Peace in Brussels today.

The SSSH said it had condemned the Russian aggression on Ukraine in the strongest terms and demanded that the war stop and that dialogue and negotiations be established within the UN to stop further human victims and suffering.

The SSSH said the war in Ukraine was a threat to Europe's peace, stability and values as well as the international order, extending solidarity with the Ukrainian people, workers and unions.

The SSSH has paid money into ITUC's solidarity fund for Ukrainian unions and called on other Croatian unions to do the same.

The SSSH said it was at the disposal of Ukrainian refugees and preparing information material in Ukrainian on Croatia's labour market as well as labour and social rights.

It called on all stakeholders on Croatia's labour market to take into account Ukrainian refugees' vulnerable position, and on the relevant authorities to ensure their full integration.

Saturday, 5 March 2022

Rallies in Support of Ukraine Held in Split, Vukovar, Slavonski Brod

ZAGREB, 5 March 2022 - Ukrainians from the Split area held a peaceful protest in Split on Saturday to support Ukraine, as did the people of Slavonski Brod to show their solidarity, while a protest against the Russian aggression on Ukraine was held in Vukovar.

Split Mayor Ivica Puljak said he hoped the aggression would end soon and that the Ukrainian people would get back their peace and freedom.

He said Ukrainian refugees were arriving in Split and that the city was in contact with all state institutions organising their reception. "We will do everything to help."

Among the protesters was Croatian MEP Željana Zovko, who said representatives of the European People's Party group visited the Vatican yesterday to discuss what the Holy See could do for peace in Ukraine.

She said Croats had been through a war and refugee experience similar to Ukrainians'.

"Croats will do all they can through the European Parliament and the European Commission to help Ukraine," Zovko said, adding that Europe has never been so united. "This war in Ukraine is evil and it must stop."

The rally in Split was organised by the Cvit association of the Ukrainian national minority in Dalmatia.

Protesters carried the flags of Ukraine and Croatia as well as banners which said "Stop Putin", "Stop War" and "Glory to Ukraine", and chanted "Glory to Ukraine" and "Long live Ukraine".

Viktorija Balan of Cvit said "Ukraine is now fighting for the democracy of the whole world, against a regime which wants to destroy democracy."

Protest in Vukovar

Some 15 citizens of Vukovar protested in the centre of the town, carrying the flags of Ukraine and Croatia and asking for the Russian aggression and the war in Ukraine to stop.

"There will be no winner. Only innocent people are dying on both sides. I fought in (Croatia's) Homeland War and know how they feel. Our national minority will try to help in this crisis as much as it can," said Stefan Bojko, president of the Ukrainian Culture and Education Society Ivan Franko from Vukovar.

"In this situation Croatia has taken a friendly stand towards the Ukrainian people," he said, adding that about 20 Ukrainian refugees are accommodated in Vukovar-Srijem County.

Slavonski Brod shows solidarity with Ukrainian people

Dozens of Slavonski Brod residents rallied in the main square to show solidarity with the citizens of Ukraine.

"By coming to this rally, you are showing support to a people that is part of Europe, a people from whom someone wants to take its land, peace, children, future," said Vlado Karešin, president of the Ukrainian Community in Croatia.

About 200 members of the Ukrainian national minority live in Brod-Posavina County. About 20 Ukrainian refugees have found shelter with relatives and friends there.

"It's difficult to talk about what is happening in Ukraine. I'm overcome by emotion when I remember the Homeland War and how we left our wives and children before going to defend Croatia. The Ukrainian people is going through the same thing today," said Nikola Zastrižni, president of the Ukrainian Culture and Education Society Ukrajina from Slavonski Brod.

"At the same time, I'm furious because I can't understand that this is happening in the 21st century, in the civilised Europe and world when we all have our rights," he added, calling for the return of peace and an end to the bombing of Ukrainian cities and villages.

For more on the Ukraine crisis and Croatia, as well as breaking news, follow our news section.

Saturday, 5 March 2022

Russians Living in Istria Demand For Ukraine War to End

ZAGREB, 5 March 2022 - Russians living in Pula and Istria held an anti-war protest in Pula on Saturday, carrying banners which said "Peaceful sky for all children", "Ukraine, the Russian people is with you" and "Putin is war".

About 30 protesters, carrying the Ukrainian flag, said they did not agree with Russia's policy and its attack on a sovereign country.

"We, the Russian people living in Croatia, can't stay indifferent. We are against the senseless, destructive war, against death on both sides, against the aggression of Putin and his supporters on Ukraine, on its peaceful citizens," they said.

"This war is a disaster not just for Ukraine but for Russia, too. It could be a disaster for the whole world, for the whole humankind. That's why we support Ukraine's civilians and condemn Russia's illegal attack on the territory of a sovereign state. We are here and advocate our common future, the future of our children," the protesting Russians said, demanding that the war end.

For more on the Ukraine crisis and Croatia, as well as breaking news, follow our news section.

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

HZJZ: Protests Against COVID Rules Just Put Pressure on Health Workers

ZAGREB, 1 Feb 2022 - Ahead of protests against COVID rules to be held on Tuesday outside public health institutes around the country, officials from the national institute have said the protestors are just feigning care for the health of children and are in fact just putting pressure on health care workers.

"These undeclared organisers are just feigning care for children and their health and in fact are just using them as an instrument to achieve some other objectives they consider to be important," officials from the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ) said.

HZJZ said that the protests, which have been announced via social media by the "Free together" group, would just put pressure on healthcare workers and epidemiologists who have been doing their job in the best of faith for the last two years, adding that their recommendations are based on scientific evidence of the need for vaccination against coronavirus, in particular of the elderly.

“Protests, swearing, threats and everything else associated with that will not resolve the problems we have all been faced with during this epidemic," the HZJZ officials said.

Friday, 15 October 2021

Doctors Condemn Protest Outside Minister Beroš's Home

ZAGREB, 15 Oct 2021 - The Croatian Medical Chamber (HLK) and Croatian Medical Association (HLZ) on Friday condemned the anti-vaxxer protest outside Health Minister Vili Beroš's home.

About a dozen citizens gathered outside Beroš's home on Thursday evening after a Religious Instruction teacher from Križevci called on them to do so on his Facebook profile.

In the post entitled "House visit to COVID response team", Ivan Pokupac wrote that they would come unannounced in front of the home of one member of the national response team every day and stand around for 15 minutes to let them, their families and neighbours know of the "terror they are imposing on citizens."

The two medical associations said that such threatening behaviour of individuals directed against the family of any citizen, and in this case of an official, is an essentially unacceptable act that could put these families in jeopardy.

In any democratic society, there is no room for protests and demonstrations in front of an individual's home and they directly threaten the safety of family members.

Calls for violence and hate speech on social networks are a criminal act, and unfortunately, this unacceptable protest was preceded precisely by such comments on social networks, HLK and HLZ warned.

For more news, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Nurses Protest in Downtown Zagreb

ZAGREB, 23 Sept 2021 - Members of the nurses union protested in downtown Zagreb on Thursday, saying there was no Health Ministry plan to improve their status and that they were being threatened and forced to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

They pointed to problems with inadequately paid overtime, job classification, accelerated retirement, and the recognition of university education.

Nurses said they were aware of their responsibility towards patients but that due to everyday fatigue and stress, they were becoming patients themselves.

They said COVID certificates in healthcare were unenforceable and that the rate of vaccination was so high that the minister was not allowed to say it publicly.

"How did we work for a year and a half without a vaccine, testing, and enough gear? People didn't exactly die because irresponsible nurses infected them," one nurse said, asking the minister if layoffs were next. "There are too few of us anyway. There is a shortage of at least 8,000 and you are doing nothing about it."

Minister: Protest is legitimate, but facts shouldn't be manipulated with

Health Minister Vili Beroš said the union protest by some nurses was legitimate but that they should not manipulate with facts.

He said the payment of overtime was regulated by a supplement to the collective agreement and the payment of overtime arrears was agreed upon a few days ago in communication with the unions.

Beroš reiterated that there was no coercion to get vaccinated but said that everyone working with sick people must know that they could infect them.

"We want to prevent that but in a reasonable way," he said, adding that those who have not recovered from COVID and refuse to get vaccinated or tested most probably will not get paid. "However, I don't think there will be such people."

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Freedom Festival 2.0 Starts in Zagreb

ZAGREB, 18 Sept, 2021 - Freedom Festival 2.0, a protest rally organised by the Rights and Freedoms Initiative, started on Saturday in Zagreb's Ban Josip Jelačić Square, with several hundred people rallying for the second time in a month to express their dissatisfaction with COVID-19 epidemiological restrictions.

The protesters carried banners expressing opposition to vaccination and decisions by the national COVID-19 response team.

The organisers said that "most people now realise that COVID-19 has been misused for political ends that include the introduction of an entire set of measures and decisions that cause unprecedented damage to humans and benefit only smaller groups in positions of immense power."

There was a strong police presence at the rally.

For more on lifestyle, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 28 August 2021

A Few Hundred Rally in Protest Against Detrimental Effects of Lešće Power Plant

ZAGREB, 28 Aug, 2021 - A protest rally was held in the town of Novigrad na Dobri on Saturday against the hydro-power plant "HE Lešće" on the River Dobra, with protesters pointing out the plant's detrimental effects.

The rally brought together about 300 participants: locals, activists as well as representatives of local authorities. They warned about the damage done to the flora and fauna in the environment and highlighted the erosion of the banks of the River Dobra.

Karlovac County Prefect Martina Furdek-Hajdin told the rally that the state-run Croatian power company (HEP) has assumed the obligation to inform the local 112 centre and the public when the Lešće power plant's turbines were turned on to release tidal energy.

She said that the local authorities were doing their best to prevent the recurrence of bad experience.

In 2010 the then Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor inaugurated the trial run of Lešće, the first hydroelectric power plant built in Croatia since it gained independence in 1991. During that ceremony, it was said that this HRK 700 million power plant, located on the Dobra river, had a capacity of 42.29 megawatts and would produce 98 gigawatt hours of electricity per year.

For Croatia's daily news updates, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Investment in Petrinja Infrastructure, Reconstruction Announced

ZAGREB, 4 March, 2021 - Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Nataša Tramišak met with Petrinja Mayor Darinko Dumbović on Thursday to discuss an intervention plan for the reconstruction of the city after a devastating earthquake in December, after which a group of disgruntled people verbally attacked the mayor.

The intervention plan is aimed at the social and economic regeneration of small towns, it was said.

The minister said Petrinja had been implementing HRK 140 million worth of EU-funded projects until 2020 and that several more remained to be contracted.

She said the goal was to utilise the funds available until the end of 2023 in the Petrinja area and invest in infrastructure and ongoing projects.

Tramišak said €111 million had been ensured for building new state-owned flats in Petrinja, Sisak, Glina and other towns affected by the earthquake.

If standardised buildings and houses will be built, construction could begin soon, she added.

Mayor Dumbović said he was satisfied with the solutions proposed and that the Culture Ministry had promised that Petrinja would look as it did before the earthquake. 

Mayor verbally attacked by protesters

Several dozen protesters rallied outside the venue of the meeting, complaining about the lack of transparency in decisions concerning the right to reconstruction aid and about the distribution of humanitarian aid.

The demonstrators blocked the exit of the fire station where the meeting was taking place, preventing the mayor's car from leaving the venue and announcing new protests.

Dumbović told the RTL commercial television channel in the evening that the incident was politically motivated. Asked who was behind the demonstration, he named Luca Gašpar Šako, the local coordinator of the opposition Bridge party.

"They are not aware of the damage individuals are doing to Petrinja. Petrinja did not deserve this. It turns out that we are lawless cowboys wanting to achieve something by force," the mayor said. 

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