Foreign Shipbuilding Giants Interested in Uljanik?

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by Vedran Pavlic,

More hope for the beleaguered shipyard from Pula?

The Italian shipyard Fincantieri from Monfalcone and the Dutch company Damen Group, one of the largest shipyard groups in the world, along with Danko Končar and the Palumbo Group from Naples, are interested in the recapitalisation of the Uljanik shipyard in Pula. The news was announced by trade unions which operate within the Uljanik Group, reports Jutarnji List on February 13, 2018.

“Their delegations are looking at the shipyard, but they have not yet sent an official letter of intent. For the time being, two letters of intent to recapitalise the shipyard have been received, from Danko Končar and the Palumbo Group,” said Vedran Dragičević, the president of the Metal Workers’ Union, who said that he and his trade union colleagues supported the recapitalisation that should be confirmed this Friday.

“We are entirely in favour of recapitalisation because otherwise, the shipyard will go bankrupt. We all know that the government has already paid a part of the 96 million euro tranche, as approved by the European Commission. Now, after the assembly on Friday, the process should proceed. The new restructuring plan should be drafted after the recapitalisation is concluded, and it will be prepared by the new owner and the government, and in consultation with the trade unions.

“The trade unions’ position on this issue is quite clear. We are against the mass layoff of workers and the closure of the shipyard. We are ready to launch industrial actions if necessary,” said Dragičević.

Bruno Bulić, a representative of the Trade Union of Istria, Kvarner and Dalmatia, also discussed the shipyard’s future. He explained that it was essential that Uljanik, by the end of 2019, delivers 12 ships which have already been contracted, adding that the company needed 450 million euros of fresh money to stabilise.

“We, the trade unions, have also made mistakes. We should have reacted when the contractors stopped receive payments, but we became loud only when regular workers did not receive their salaries. As for the protest that is being held on Thursday, we have not been invited to it. The organisers say that Uljanik’s workers are unprotected, which is not true. Workers have their trade union organisations ready to help. The intentions are probably good, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” Bulić said.

As for the intention of a part of the workers, who are also small shareholders, to give a counter-proposal that, instead of the recapitalisation, potential investors should just buy their shares, Boris Cerovac from the Adriatic Trade Union said this would not save the shipyard. “That means that the money would go to the pockets of the workers, and not the company,” he said.

Translated from Jutarnji List (reported by Barbara Ban).

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