ZAGREB, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- A strike over unpaid wages in Croatia's biggest shipyard, Uljanik, was put on hold on Monday after two weeks, with the strike committee announcing that it reserves the right to call it again at any time, Croatian news agency HINA reported.
Workers at Uljanik have received a minimum wage only for September and October. They are now asking for the difference between the minimum and full wage, as well as the wage for November.
"The workers have returned to work, but they are visibly dissatisfied and angry with this situation. This agony has been going on for too long, and there's no news of any progress regarding a final restructuring plan and a strategic partner," strike committee chairman Boris Cerovac told HINA.
The Croatian shipyard has had financial difficulties and the management needs a partner who is willing to invest in the company.
Shipbuilding is an important industrial sector in Croatia. The shipyards and their subcontractors are responsible for up to 10 percent of employment in the country, 10 percent to 15 percent of Croatia's exports, and over the last ten years two percent of its GDP.
Since Croatia joined the European Union in 2013, the state hasn't been allowed to subsidize shipyards, which were all restructured and transformed into private companies. In Uljanik, the state still has a minority equity stake.
The government here claims that the survival of the shipyard is in the government's interest but it cannot help anymore. According to estimates, Croatia has spent over 30 billion kunas (4.7 billion U.S. dollars) to save its shipyards in the last 17 years.