Croatia: SGH adopts new action plan and elect trade union president

31 October 2018 06:49

Jasenka Vuksic, president of the SGH.

On 19th of October 2018, at the 10th Assembly of the Trade Union of Industry of Construction (SGH), the delegates re-elected Jasenka Vuksic as president and adopted the SGH Program Orientation for 2018-2022. 

The construction sector in Croatia is facing enormous challenges since the economic and financial crisis of 2008. The share of the construction industry in the national GDP reduced twice – from 8.5 percent to 4.5 per cent, and 50,000 jobs mainly in civil engineering were lost in this period, while all big national companies went bankrupt or are in pre-bankruptcy procedures.

The SGH is fighting back these current challenges through organizing, negotiating and influencing policies. The Assembly was held under the theme of “Quality jobs – Future of the Construction” highlighting key issues such as pay increase, protection of OHS, decent work hours, and vocational training.

“We must find innovative ways to recruit members, educate them for actions and through campaigns at workplaces and on the streets bring workers’ issues to the forefront. For this, we shall be ready to learn, change and use our membership resources in the most effective way for collective bargaining actions. I wish that in the next four years we will be able to stop the drain of young people from Croatia as this is the worst that can happen to a country. We demand quality jobs and decent work,” said Jasenka Vuksic. 

The SGH is negotiating collective bargaining agreements as never before and the number of agreements at company level has doubled over the last years from 35 to 70. 60 collective agreements were changed and amended. The national collective agreement for construction sector was signed in 2015 and extended to all employers in the sector in June 2018. 

The SGH has a good working relationship with the Employers Association for Construction, but the support of the Government to the initiatives of the social partners in the construction sector is lacking. The SGH actively participates in the national campaign against the pension reform that foresees many negative regulations for workers, like increasing the retirement age and working years. The day after the Assembly, massive protests against the pension reform took place in Zagreb. The SGH delegates participated in these actions led by Vuksic.