ZAGREB, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Over 1,000 workers from the "3. Maj" shipyard briefly blocked traffic on Tuesday in Croatia's port city Rijeka where they were striking over unpaid salaries.
"3. Maj" workers laid down their tools on Monday afternoon after their colleagues in Uljanik shipyard of Pula started the third strike this year several hours earlier. Both shipyards belong to Uljanik Group, the biggest shipbuilder of the southeastern European country.
Uljanik is in financial problems and the management is trying to restructure the company. After the last strike in September, clients have terminated a few shipbuilding contracts worth millions of euros.
The strike in Pula continued on Tuesday. Workers are demanding their unpaid salaries for September and asking the management to resign. Union leaders of "3. Maj" are calling creditors, suppliers, and co-operatives to unblock the company's account for a day to avoid bankruptcy. The company's bank account had been frozen for 60 days on Tuesday. If it is blocked uninterruptedly for 61 days, one of the conditions for bankruptcy would be triggered.
Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said on Tuesday that it is still too early to conclude how much the crisis in Uljanik will affect the state's budget. "We were on the good track to end the year with a surplus. This creates pressure on the budget but it will not jeopardize the stability of public finances," Maric said in a televised media briefing.
The state guarantees issued to the Uljanik Group that should be paid by the end of this year are worth at least 2.5 billion kuna (about 400 million U.S. dollars), Maric said.
Shipbuilding industry shares up to ten percent of Croatian employment and two percent of the country's GDP.