LUKA KOPER, d.d., Koper
The announcement of industrial action
The announcement of industrial action as of 15th January 2008 by the Maritime Crane Operators Union is a huge disappointment to Luka Koper d.d. for a variety of reasons. Namely, at the end of October 2007, the company signed an agreement with Slovenia's Union of Port Workers, Port Ancillary Staff and the Crane Operators on a five-percent rise in the basic salary (including a stipulation that the percentage would be adjusted upward in accordance with the outcome of negotiations between the unions and employers at the state level, in the event that any such an award is even more favourable to the employees). In addition, over the last year, intense negotiations have been ongoing with the aforementioned unions as to the renewal of the sector collective agreement, as well as reform of employment systematisation. It should also be pointed out that the Luka Koper Management Board by no means rejects the strike demands of the Crane Operators Union, and is willing to discuss every single issue. The Management Board promptly consented to demands as to compliance with the Employment Relationships Act regarding overtime work. As to other financial demands, Union representatives were directed to the negotiations on the amendments to the collective agreement, which have been underway and are expected to be completed this April.
Union demands encompass the following: in addition to raising the position of crane operator and port locomotive drivers from the current seventh to the ninth grade, which would result in about 35% salary increase, they also demand a 30% increase in the basic salary of all employees. Such would involve a increase of approximately 70% in the salaries of some 150 employees. Luka Koper d.d., which employs over 700 people, cannot meet these demands, as they would result in the immediate financial stagnation of the company. Further to this, the Management Board has to protect the long-term interests of its employees, as well as shareholders and business partners.
It should be pointed out that the salaries at Luka Koper are already above the Slovene average. In September 2007, the average gross salary in Slovenia amounted to 1,259 euros per month, whereas the average gross salary of a crane operator at Luka Koper currently amounts to 21,200 euros per annum, which, including the 13th salary, is equal to some 1,700 euros per month. Further to this, Luka Koper covers some 70 to 90% of the premium value of its employees' voluntary supplementary pension insurance. The company also implements other forms of staff incentive, and invests heavily in personnel education and training. Thus the company vigorously rejects reproaches regarding any neglect of personnel issues.
The Luka Koper Management Board firmly believes that not all negotiation options have been explored, and therefore, once again, invites the representatives of Crane Operators Union to reconsider their decision to strike, and to instead re-engage in negotiation and dialogue.
This information will be available on company's website www.luka-kp.si from 10th January 2008.
Date: 10. 1. 2008