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Croatia Airlines reveals cost of strike

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A strike by pilots and cabin crew at Croatia Airlines continued for a seventh day on Monday, and the loss-making company said that the dispute had cost it hundreds of thousands of euros (more than $1 million).

"Direct financial damages (from the strike) are estimated at up to 6.5 million kunas (859,000 euros, $1.1 million) and unions' action continues," a Croatia Airlines spokesman told AFP.

Since the strike began on May 14, about one third of Croatia Airlines flights -- about 20 -- had to be cancelled every day, spokesman Davor Janusic added.

Talks between management and unions on new contracts, to replace a contract which expired in March, were to continue later on Monday.

A total of 26 Croatia Airlines flights were cancelled on Monday including flights to major European hubs -- Brussels, Munich, Vienna and Zurich.

The unions have staged the walkout in protest at the salary cuts and dismissals that state-owned Croatia Airlines has announced as part of its restructuring plan ahead of Croatia's accession to the European Union.

The plan includes dismissals of about 200 employees and salary cuts of up to 40 percent, according to unions.

Unions argue that such action would not significantly contribute to the recovery of the company.

But the government has warned that the airline could go bankrupt without cuts.

The restructuring of public companies is among key moves undertaken by the former Yugoslav republic to revive its economy which has not registered growth since 2009.

In 2012 the airline accumulated loses of about 49 million euros, and it has debt of about 132 million euros.

The company, founded before Croatia proclaimed independence in 1991, has a fleet of 13 planes. It includes three Airbus A320-200, four Airbus A319-100 and six smaller Bombardier Dash 8.

Once Croatia joins the EU on July 1, it will have to stop providing state subsidies to the airline.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130520/croatia-airlines-reveals-cost-strike