Workers employed by the Mungos mine clearing company have decided to continue their strike which started on Tuesday morning, given that the strike committee representing mine clearance workers had failed to reach an agreement with the management board of this state-owned company.

Around thirty Mungos employees conducted a peaceful protest rally outside the headquarters of the Croatian Mine Action Centre (CROMAC) in Sisak and will do so again on Wednesday.

The negotiations came across a stumbling block with regard to material rights or rather a pay rise for employees from the current monthly gross wage of 13,000 to 15,000 kuna.

The strike committee blame the company's owner - the Croatian government and Interior Ministry - because they did not make any recommendations concerning the demands but passed the buck to the newly-appointed company director who still does not have the authority to sign any financial documents.

"We informed everyone last week that we would go on strike however no-one responded to our call for negotiations. When they didn't manage to prevent the strike, they obviously previously decided not to meet our demands. We are convinced that a correction of our wages would not be detrimental to the company's business operations. Unfortunately for the past 15 years we have not had a government capable of resolving the question of mine clearance. The worst thing is that this year HRK 500 million has been secured for mine clearance hence there would be sufficient for a pay rise, yet they are behaving so irresponsibly," the head of the strike committee Mario Ivekovic said.

He added that they had enquired about bonuses which were paid to some employees and not to others and that this was not done transparently and has led to animosity between workers. He added that the reasons strikers' demands are not being is not due to lack of money but for political reasons and that unions are willing to sign a branch collective agreement however one employers' association is boycotting this.

"I informed the striking committee of the situation in the company as much as I could because I've only been here for three days. I also informed them of the possible consequences the strike could have on the company's business operations. Unfortunately, I couldn't accept their demands because the financial situation in the company doesn't allow it. During the day I will prepare some calculations that will show what a pay rise could mean to our business. We agreed to launch proceedings for a collective branch agreement which should result in collective negotiations with other mine clearing companies. However, as far as I am aware, the Croatian Employers' Association is not inclined to sign the agreement," Mungos director Damir Magdic said.

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