Workers of the Croatian financially-troubled shipyard Uljanik have been paid their outstanding salaries for July, the shipbuilder confirmed today.
The group’s account was unblocked after the Croatian Government provided a state guarantee to Croatian Postal Bank (HPB) for changing insurance instruments for earlier HPB’s loans to Uljanik from 2015 and 2016, to enable the payment of late wages.
As such the conditions have been met for the disgruntled workers to end their strike launched on August 22. Aside to payment of late wages, the workers were also calling for the company’s management to resign.
Earlier this week, President of Uljanik, Gianni Rossanda, presented his resignation to the Supervisory Board of Uljanik d.d. The resignations were offered by 14 management directors of the Uljanik Group as well.
Rossanda said that his decision was triggered by the pressure from the media and the public as Uljanik’s workers were forced to seek their outstanding salaries on the streets of Pula.
The Croatian shipbuilder suffered a major blow from the downturn of the shipbuilding sector back in 2016. The salvation of the company is being sought in financial restructuring, which will include reduction of the company’s output and workforce.
Now that the late salaries are paid, the company needs to sort out remaining issues with the suppliers in order for the shipbuilder to resume production activities.
Separately, Pula-based maritime transport company Uljanik Plovidba, formerly part of Uljanik Group, issued a statement as a response to media reports that blamed the shipping company for the current situation faced by the shipbuilder.
The company was privatized between 1994 and 2000 after which it resumed business entirely independent from the group.
As disclosed, from 2004 to 2012, the company invested about USD 350 million in seven product and chemical tankers built in Croatian shipyards Uljanik and 3. Maj, which were conducting their business independently from each other at the time.
“All subject ships were built within the publicly published and transparent newbuilding program developed and supported by the government of Croatia, with clearly defined price of the ships which was beyond prevailing market price in order to generate some additional revenue for the shipyards which were, at that time, suffering from the empty order books,” the statement reads.
“All ships were duly paid whilst there is still an open outstanding towards 3. Maj shipyard for the ship that was delivered last in the amount of HRK 18,029,263 (USD 2.8 million) which is being repaid in regular instalments.
“Due to rather expensive loans which the company had to take in order to finance aforementioned newbuildings and which, in the combination of the unfavorable market conditions are burdening regular business of the company, the company did not pay out the dividend to its shareholders since 2011.”