August 7, 2018 / 2:49 PM / 9 months ago

Union puts off Croatia Airlines strike plan pending legal ruling

ZAGREB, Aug 7 (Reuters) - A union at Croatia Airlines , has suspended on a court request plans for a strike on Wednesday, pending a ruling on its legality, its legal representatives said on Tuesday.

The Croatian national carrier has asked a Zagreb court to review whether the industrial action at the peak of the tourist season is legal. The airline says it could cause damages of 800,000 euros a day and affect thousands of passengers.

Croatia’s transport minister Oleg Butkovic also warned the carrier could find it difficult to recover from losses should the strike proceed. The airline, which is crucial for tourism that accounts for 20 percent of Croatia’s economic output, has been without a regular management for 20 months.

“The strike has been put off because of the assessed damage,” Albin Hotic of the ORCA union, representing pilots, flight attendants and aeromechanics, told N1 television. The court would decide on the issue on Wednesday, he added.

ORCA has for long called on the government to appoint new management at Croatia Airlines, help seal a collective bargaining agreement, raise pay and reduce over-time hours.

But the airline said it could not raise an extra 53 million Croatian kuna ($8 million) a year needed to meet the demands.

Croatia Airlines reported a first half loss of 79.6 million kuna ($12.46 million), up 17 percent from a year ago, although its passenger numbers rose 5 percent to nearly 950,000.

Zagreb has been trying since at least 2013 to find a strategic partner for Croatia Airlines, without success. ($1 = 6.3901 kuna) (Reporting by Maja Zuvela in Sarajevo Editing by Alexander Smith)

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