Almost six months of negotiations between the management of Česká rafinérská, which operates the Czech Republic’s two key oil refineries, and employees on a wage rise have yet to produce an agreement. Unions will vote on Wednesday whether to accept a compromise tabled by a mediator. Union leader Jan Klimeš says employees may strike at end of June if their offer is rejected.
“My view is that around 75 percent of operators and laboratory personnel here in Litvínov are in support of a strike,” union boss Jan Klimeš told the Czech News Agency (ČTK) on Monday. “We are much closer to a strike than during the negotiations three years ago, but we don’t want to take any illegal steps,and still have to sort everything out with lawyers.”
Representatives of Česká rafinérská’s employees say that wages have not risen in three years. In addition to a general pay rise, unions are demanding better rewards for employees working in the most-skilled positions and those with high responsibilities.
Forty-two percent of Česká rafinérská’s 640 employees are union members and their union says a strike would paralyze the Czech Republic’s two main refineries in Litvínov and Kralupy nad Vltavou. The union is to vote on Wednesday, June 8, whether to take strike action. ‘All [Česká rafinérská stakeholders] had quite a good year last year, so I think now is a favorable time for rise of wages.’
Klimeš says Česká rafinérská’s performance in 2010 yielded healthy profits for the company’s owners and therefore they are in a position to increase pay. “All the companies [with a stake in Česká rafinérská] had quite a good year last year, so I think now is a favorable time for rise of wages,” Klimeš said.
Unipetrol, which has a 51 percent stake in Česká rafinérská, last year made a post-tax profit of Kč 937 million, while Eni of Italy and Royal Dutch Shell, which hold a 32 percent and 16 percent stakes, respectively, made a combined net profit of Kč 105 million from Česká rafinérská. Unipetrol is majority owned by Polish oil and gas major PKN Orlen.