NEWS

Тhe fourth seminar from the Project “DeWoTed: Advocating for fair and dignified working conditions in the Croatian railway sector” which was held in Zagreb at the “Hotel International” 12-13.05.2021

In compliance with all epidemiological measures in Zagreb, the third seminar was held at the International Hotel, for employers and union commissioners from the Croatian Railway Workers’ Union and HŽ Infrastruktura. There were a total of___ participants from various parts of Croatia.
After a word of welcome and presentation of the participants, Vesna Mlinarić, an expert from Croatia in this Project, began with presentations related to decent work and tools that can be useful for achieving the highest possible level of decent work by applying the Labor Act and collective agreements.


With her first presentation on decent work in Croatia between law and practice, Vesna Mlinarić first of all presented the importance of world and European documents related to decent work and presented the definition of decent work, which is broad and covers several areas. She highlighted important documents from the European Union, European trade unions and the International Labor Organization, as well as the UN, which have prepared tools to combat informal and flexible work. She then described social dialogue in Croatia at three levels: tripartite, bipartite at the state level, and bipartite at the level of the employer and workers ‘representatives – trade unions and workers’ councils.
The second presentation referred to good and bad practices in Croatia that can ensure the movement towards dignified work of workers. Of course, good practices need to be respected and bad ones completely circumvented or minimized. A special problem is represented by fixed-term employment contracts, as well as contracts concluded by occasional employment agencies, employment contracts with the characteristics of employment, student work, etc. Employment contracts are a form of circumventing regulations when they are concluded by the employee and the employer for regular jobs or jobs that require an employment contract for an indefinite period, and she warned with examples of bad but also good practices when unions managed to agree impact on the dignified work of some workers in Croatia.


She also stressed the need for more days of annual leave and not to limit the number of days per worker according to the agreed criteria. She problematized the amount of the minimum wage in relation to the average wage, and stated that their amount was insufficient for a dignified life, despite the possibility of increasing it for work on holidays, Sundays, overtime, double work, etc. She stated that the employee is not entitled to all salary increases and non-taxable amounts of compensation, remuneration and support if they are not contracted by collective agreements that apply to employees. She also pointed out the possibility of contracting collective agreements for protection against all forms of discrimination, based on the provisions prescribed by the Anti-Discrimination Act. In particular, it was necessary to process the basic provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act as an introduction to the workshop. Vesna Mlinarić briefed the participants through the basic provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.


The first workshop in the second part of the seminar referred to the concluded collective agreements. Zoran Maršić, President of the Croatian Railway Workers’ Union, presented the current Collective Agreement as well as the manner and difficulties encountered by the negotiating trade union side in the negotiations. The fundamental difficulty is the lack of financial resources obtained in accordance with the Budget. After the presentation, the participants were divided into two groups. The first group emphasized the good and bad provisions of the current Collective Agreement that apply to all parts of the Collective Agreement except salaries, allowances and non-taxable amounts of remuneration, ie the financial part of the Collective Agreement, while the second group assessed the good and bad provisions of the financial part of the Collective Agreement. Since the Collective Agreement expires next year, this workshop was a good opportunity to point out the rights of workers, which should be increased or otherwise regulated in the next Collective Agreement in order to ensure an even higher level of decent work for workers. All participants actively participated in proposals to improve the next Collective Agreement. This current Collective Agreement has also been assessed as very good in certain provisions, but their application is questionable. In the case of inspection supervision and determination of violations of certain provisions of the Collective Agreement, workers are referred to court disputes, but workers do not initiate them. This applies in particular to the part of overtime hours that are “lost” in the redistribution of working time set for a period of three months.


Evaluation of the seminar, due to lack of time this time was not achieved by the workshop, but each participant individually expressed their impressions of the seminar, new information they received as well as new knowledge gained or renewed already known knowledge.
In the answers, it is necessary to single out:

  • joint and equal work in the workshops of workers and employers;
  • the highest degree of agreement between workers and employers on certain topics of the workshop;
  • getting to know each other better and socializing in joint work at the seminar and workshop;
  • more seminars should be held because they are very useful both for the acquisition and renewal of knowledge and for getting to know each other.

The third educational training 03-04.05.2021

After a word of welcome and presentation of the participants, Vesna Mlinarić, an expert from Croatia in this Project, began with presentations related to decent work and tools that can be useful for achieving the highest possible level of decent work by applying the Labor Act and collective agreements.

With her first presentation on decent work in Croatia between law and practice, Vesna Mlinarić first of all presented the importance of world and European documents related to decent work and presented the definition of decent work, which is broad and covers several areas. She highlighted important documents from the European Union, European trade unions and the International Labor Organization, as well as the UN, which have prepared tools to combat informal and flexible work. She then described social dialogue in Croatia at three levels: tripartite, bipartite at the state level, and bipartite at the level of the employer and workers ‘representatives – trade unions and workers’ councils. The second presentation referred to good and bad practices in Croatia that can ensure the movement towards dignified work of workers. Of course, good practices need to be respected and bad ones completely circumvented or minimized.

A special problem is represented by fixed-term employment contracts, as well as contracts concluded by occasional employment agencies, employment contracts with the characteristics of employment, student work, etc. Employment contracts are a form of circumventing regulations when they are concluded by the employee and the employer for regular jobs or jobs that require an employment contract for an indefinite period, and she warned with examples of bad but also good practices when unions managed to agree impact on the dignified work of some workers in Croatia.

She also stressed the need for more days of annual leave and not to limit the number of days per worker according to the agreed criteria. She problematized the amount of the minimum wage in relation to the average wage, and stated that their amount was insufficient for a dignified life, despite the possibility of increasing it for work on holidays, Sundays, overtime, double work, etc.

She stated that the employee is not entitled to all salary increases and non-taxable amounts of compensation, remuneration and support if they are not contracted by collective agreements that apply to employees. She also pointed out the possibility of contracting collective agreements for protection against all forms of discrimination, based on the provisions prescribed by the Anti- Discrimination Act.

It was especially necessary to process the basic provisions of the Law on Occupational Safety as an introduction to the workshop. Vesna Mlinarić gave the participants a short presentation through the basic provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and Alen Dujmić presented the system of education and employer responsibility in HŽ, while Željko Bogović led the workshop.

Four groups were designated for the workshop in which one person stayed collecting information and informing the group, and the other members of the groups changed groups so that all seminar participants participated in the work of each group.
The first group worked on training workers to work safely, the second group worked on training authorized workers and commissioners of occupational safety, the third group on training for evacuation and rescue while the fourth group worked on a system of introducing external contractors to dangers and hazards on railroads.

All participants were especially involved in the work of the workshops, and it is especially important to mention that all members of the groups were unique and they together solved their specific tasks. It is seldom seen that employers and workers’ representatives have such a degree of desire and consent in each individual group and then at the level of the whole workshop.

The evaluation of the seminar was also realized by a workshop. The participants were asked three questions. What did you think about at the seminar? What particularly impressed you at the seminar? When you return to work, what will you do first? In the answers, it is necessary to single out:

  • we have practice in the application of the law and we can monitor with us how the regulations are applied;
  • joint and equal work in workshops;
  • the highest degree of agreement between workers and employers on certain topics of the
  • workshop
  • getting to know each other better and socializing in joint work at seminars and workshops;
  • although we know everything, it is always necessary to be reminded of regulations, acts and practice;
  • more seminars should be held because they are very useful both for acquiring knowledge and for getting to know each other.

This seminar was a nice shared experience for us… etc.

The Second Educational Training 21.-22.04.2021

In compliance with all epidemiological measures, the second seminar was held in Zagreb at the International Hotel, which is in fact a continuation of the first seminar, for employers and union commissioners from the Croatian Railways Union and HŽ Infrastruktura. There were 24 participants on the first day of April 21st, and 23 people from various parts of Croatia on the second day of April 22nd.

Before the beginning of this second part of the seminar, Katarina Mindum and Vesna Mlinarić briefly summarized the previous topics of the seminar in a way that Katarina Mindum summarized the presentations of Stean Regard, and Vesna Mlinarić her part from the presentations.

Vesna Mlinarić, an expert from Croatia, participated in this project at the seminar and continued with a presentation on good and bad practices for decent work in Croatia, which started in the first seminar so that workers have as many tools as possible to achieve a higher degree of decent work. She emphasized the need for a larger number of days of annual leave and not limiting the number of days that are realized per worker according to the agreed criteria. She problematized the amount of the minimum wage in relation to the average wage, and stated that the amount of wages was insufficient for a dignified life, despite the possibility of increasing the wages for work on holidays, Sundays, overtime, double work, etc.

She stated that the employee is not entitled to all salary increases and non-taxable amounts of compensation, remuneration and support if they are not agreed in collective agreements that apply to employees. She also pointed out the possibility of contracting collective agreements for protection against all forms of discrimination, based on the provisions prescribed by the Law on the Suppression of Discrimination.
In particular, it was necessary to process the basic provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, given that the seminar participants stated that the risk assessment and other documents related to the same are not fully implemented.

Vesna Mlinarić briefed the participants through the basic provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. After that, four mixed groups-workshops were formed, in which representatives of workers and employers also participated, who equally discussed measures for conducting risk assessment. The workshops were led by Željko Bogović – HŽ Infrastruktura. All participants were especially involved in the work of the workshops, problematized the implementation of the Risk Assessment, but also offered solutions. The biggest problem is the financial resources planned for these purposes at the level of the year, but their distribution at the level of the entire HŽ is not known to the participants. Seminar participants emphasized that they often organize and perform the work themselves until the cost of the spent material is reimbursed and the work is not paid.

The seminar also emphasized the need for the education of commissioners of occupational safety workers, and it was promised that it would be organized in the short term.
The evaluation of the seminar was realized by a workshop. We asked participants three questions: What were you thinking about during the seminar and what did you especially remember? What particularly impressed you at the seminar? When you return to work, what will you do first?

The answers need to be singled out:

  • we have practice in law enforcement and we can monitor how regulations are applied;
  • joint and equal work in workshops;
  • the highest degree of agreement between workers and employers on the difficulties in applying the Hazard Assessment;
  • getting to know each other better and socializing in joint work in workshops;
  • although we know everything, it is always necessary to be reminded of the Hazard Assessment and other acts related to it, as well as the problems in implementation;
  • more seminars should be held because they are very useful… etc.

First national training in Zagreb 24./25.03.2021

In compliance with all epidemiological measures in Zagreb, a seminar for employers and union commissioners from the Croatian Railway Workers’ Union and HŽ Infrastruktura was held at the Hotel International. There were a total of 24 participants on the first day and 22 people on the second day from various parts of Croatia. The expert from Norway spoke through a video call connection about social dialogue in Norway, and the expert from Croatia talked about social dialogue in Croatia, and about series of forms of employment contracts that circumvent the Labor Law.

According to Norwegian expert, the transition from a kind of economy was determined by a state with about four million inhabitants spread across the fjords. In the past, the main economic activities were agriculture and industry, which, with the development of technology, were transformed into a series of service activities. The structure of the economy determines the labor market, but also union membership and its concentration with an individual employer. There are still more employers with
almost 100% union membership, but the division of companies often reduces it, which quietly weakens the influence of unions. Social dialogue is very developed and especially tripartite at the state level. Workers’ rights are negotiated through the influence and agreement of the social partners and the following is negotiated:

  • regulations from all areas of activity, not just the Labor Act;
  • collective agreements at national level which regulate working time because working time is considered a significant item for the dignified work of workers:
  • public procurement, education, etc.

The tripartite agreement on sick leave was pointed out as a good practice. Sick pay is a big expense in Norway because it amounts to 100% of a worker’s salary.

In all these and other discussions and with all due respect, the LO union in Norway is involved, which employs 3,000 professionals of various profiles who can negotiate responsibly in every segment of the labor market. The Norwegian or Nordic model of regulation is much more social than the British, which is based on the American social dialogue system, and unions are weak and mostly workers’ rights are regulated by agreement between employers and the government or state administration.

There will be more talk about social dialogue in Norway in the handbook. The Croatian expert emphasized the important documents of the European Union, European trade
unions, and the International Labor Organization, as well as the UN, which have prepared tools for combating informal and flexible work. She then described social dialogue in Croatia at three levels:
tripartite, bipartite at the state level, and at the employer level. A special problem is fixed-term employment contracts and contracts concluded by occasional employment agencies.

Employment contracts are a form of circumventing regulations when they are concluded by the employee and the employer for regular jobs or jobs that require an employment contract for an indefinite period, and she warned with examples of bad but also good practices when unions managed to negotiate various restrictions that had a significant impact on the dignified work of workers in Croatia. All of the above
are contained in the presentations and will be included the Handbook.


All participants followed the topics of the seminar with great attention

Fourth panel discussion – Rijeka, 21.08.2020

As a part of the DeWoTed project, the last of four regional plenary debates on the topic of dignified work was held in Rijeka on 21 August 2020.

In the first part, the project team of the Croatian Railways Trade Union, the project holder, briefly presented the elements of the project and reminded of the definition of decent work according to the International Labor Organization and the elements that make working conditions fair and dignified, defined by the European Parliament in its 2017 resolution.

In the second part, the project team of HŽ Infrastruktura, a project partner, presented the process and elements of making a Risk Assessment and gave a practical example of a plan of measures to eliminate the shortcomings identified in the Risk Assessment in HŽ Infrastruktura.

After lunch, the participants were divided into two groups in which both the employer’s representatives and the workers’ representatives were represented. They discussed safety at work, risk assessment and listed bottlenecks in hazard and harm elimination procedures aimed to improve working conditions.

Following the discussion, changes were proposed that would improve the implementation of risk mitigation measures and increase the level of dignified work:

  • better distribution of financial resources – strictly defined time and financial realization
  • cooperation in setting priorities – action plan
  • simplification of public procurement, reduction of the number of cost centers
  • all station facilities renovated with capital projects
  • routine maintenance contract
  • supplementation of systematization, employment of workers for minor repairs – craft occupations
  • allocation of certain financial resources to emergency response managers
  • allocation of funds to station managers for minor repair
  • increasing the cost of an hour of work
  • better communication between sectors
  • arrangement of work rooms and spaces (painting of surfaces, installation and maintenance of air conditioners, replacement of dilapidated carpentry, appropriate lighting of rooms)
  • timely delivery of protective and official clothing and footwear of appropriate quality
  • a fairer categorization of transportation fees to and from work
  • reduction of overtime work and monthly payment for overtime work
  • protection of workers from loss of health ability

Third regional panel discussion – Osijek, 11.08.2020

As a part of the DeWoTed project, the third of four regional plenary debates on the topic of dignified work was held in Osijek on 11 August 2020.

In the first part, the project team of the Croatian Railway Workers’ Union, the project holder, reminded of the definition of decent work according to the International Labor Organization and the elements that make working conditions fair and dignified, which were defined by the European Parliament in its 2017 resolution.

In the second part, the project team of HŽ Infrastruktura, a project partner, presented the process and elements of making a Risk Assessment and gave a practical example of a plan of measures to eliminate the shortcomings identified in the Risk Assessment in HŽ Infrastruktura.

After lunch, the participants were divided into two groups in which both the employer’s representatives and the workers’ representatives were represented. They discussed safety at work, risk assessment and listed bottlenecks in hazard and harm elimination procedures aimed to improve working conditions.

Following the discussion, changes were proposed that would improve the implementation of risk mitigation measures:

  • under the first point it was concluded that procurement must function better
  • manual purchase of funds that will serve to eliminate deficiencies should be provided at the headquarters of the PRJ
  • the real estate sector should develop a maintenance plan
  • as one of the most important items, complete supervision over the execution of works was also mentioned (often the works are performed unprofessionally, ie they are not performed to the end)
  • elimination of identified deficiencies and procurement of materials must be performed by the sectors responsible for the same, for example: when determining deficiencies in electrical installations, the EEP sector detects a fault, they should procure everything necessary and repair the works. Now it is the case that the Sector determines the deficiency, and the procurement of materials is the responsibility of the station manager, which is by no means a purposeful option
  • in order to protect the health of workers, additional analyzes of the causes of permanent loss of working ability of HŽI executive workers should be initiated
  • risk assessments on a legal basis must be available to every worker, which is the case in HŽI. It is recommended that it should be published on the HŽI Portal
  • it is necessary to allocate maintenance resources per PRJ in order to accelerate the procedures for eliminating defects
  • in cooperation at the level of the employer’s representative, workers’ commissioners and occupational health and safety experts it is necessary to determine the priorities for the maintenance of buildings for each individual PRJ
  • it is necessary to initiate procedures for regular services and repairs and the conclusion of contracts in a timely manner

Second panel discussion – Split, 30.07.2020

As part of the DeWoTed project, the second of four regional plenary debates on the topic of dignified work was held on 30 July 2020 in Split.

In the first part, the project team of the Croatian Railway Workers’ Union, the project organiser, reminded of the definition of decent work according to the International Labor Organization and the elements that make working conditions fair and dignified, defined by the European Parliament in its 2017 resolution.

In the second part, the project team of HŽ Infrastruktura, a project partner, presented the procedure and elements of the Risk Assessment and gave a practical example of a plan of measures to eliminate the shortcomings identified in the Risk Assessment in HŽ Infrastruktura.

After lunch, the participants were divided into two groups in which both the employer’s representatives and the workers’ representatives were represented. They discussed safety at work, risk assessment, and listed bottlenecks in hazard and hazard elimination procedures aimed at improving working conditions.

Following the discussion, changes were proposed that would improve the implementation of risk mitigation measures:

  • the first component of joint cooperation between the employer and the union, in order to achieve satisfactory working conditions is better communication
  • as one of the measures that would also significantly contribute to ensuring safe working conditions is a better attitude of workers towards material resources
  • as the elimination of shortcomings in each PRJ is a problem of a local character, it is necessary to provide funds at the level of the region itself
  • one of the important problems is the “transfer of responsibility” for the elimination of shortcomings, which should certainly be solved by securing funds at the regional level.
  • ensuring continuing education of employees and promoting gender equality
  • at all times have a risk assessment that corresponds to the actual situation on the ground
  • increase the number of such seminars in order to solve problems by talking in a more relaxed atmosphere
  • it is very important that shortcomings are discussed at each committee meeting and that the priority is given to eliminating the identified shortcomings.
  • in each part of the work process (introduction of better and safer working conditions) it is obligatory to include commissioners who know best the problems of the workers in the field • speed up the previous work procedure when ordering works

SŽH project DeWoTed – discussion about decent work condition with partners organization HŽ Infrastruktura, 28.05.2020

After fading measures caused because of the pandemic, the Steering Committee meeting was held on 28 May 2020 in Zagreb as part of the DeWoTed project, which was carried out by the Croatian Railway Workers’ Union in partnership with HŽ Infratstruktura.

At the meeting, it was held a presentation about the legislative, sectoral, and socio-economic framework as sources of challenges in promoting decent work.

The project team identified the most relevant topics and issues important for decent working conditions that will be fundamental regionally spread and share responsibilities in the further project activities.

During the project activities, it will be organized the four regional panes discussions. The first one is planned to held in Zagreb in June, the second one and thread one in July in Osijek and Split, and the last one in August in Rijeka. Employees and employers after initial mapping will discuss the matrix of key issues which will be already agreed, and make recommendations for improving working conditions in the sector in both dimensions: legislative theory and practice.

At the meeting has been also agreed on approximate dates for the maintenance of trainings, at which Croatian and Norwegian experts will train professional staff and representatives of social partners who participate in social dialogue. The two training is planned for the end of 2020 and two for the beginning of 2021 in Zagreb.

During 2021, four regional workshops will be held for representatives and members of partner organizations in Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, and Osijek.

To the end of this year, it is planned to finish a book of Best Practices, and the Follow-up conference is planned for the end of the project, which should take place at the beginning of 2022.

From the beginning of the project, a social media campaign will be conducted to increase employee awareness of decent work issues. All relevant information will be published on the DeWoTed project website: www.dewoted.eu/project

Project Activities aim is to analyze the situation in the field of working conditions, identify problems and obstacles in the decent working conditions and, using examples of good practice, to shape how working conditions can be improved through legislation and practice.

The implementation of the project will support social dialogue by strengthening the skills and competencies of the social partners which will help to establish the good practice of decent work in Croatia with close cooperation with the Norwegian partners.

Supported by Norway through Norwegian grants 2014-2021, within the program “Social dialogue – decent work”

The first-panel discussion – Zagreb 25.06.2020

The first regional debate from the DeWoTed project was held.

As part of the DeWoTed project, the first of four regional plenary debates on the topic of dignified work was held on 25 June 2020 in Zagreb.

In the first part, the project team of the Croatian Railway Workers’ Union, the project holder, reminded of the definition of dignified work according to the International Labor Organization and the elements that make working conditions fair and dignified, which were defined by the European Parliament in its 2017 resolution.

In the second part, the project team of HŽ Infrastruktura, a project partner, presented the procedure and elements of the Risk Assessment and the plan of measures to eliminate the shortcomings identified in the Risk Assessment in HŽ Infrastruktura.

After lunch, the participants were divided into two groups in which both the employer’s representatives and the workers’ representatives were represented. They discussed safety at work, risk assessment and listed problems in risk and hazard elimination procedures aimed at improving working conditions.

Following the debate, changes were proposed that would improve the implementation of risk mitigation measures:

  • availability of insight into the plan of measures to all employees of HŽ Infrastruktura d.o.o.
  • cost estimate according to the plan of measures
  • prioritization (PRJ priority list)
  • distribution of money by sectors, according to needs
  • report from last year stating where funds were spent by sectors
  • addressing emergency interventions and ongoing maintenance by sector through own organization
  • funds targeted for the implementation of the elimination of deficiencies identified by the risk assessment
  • harmonization of all sectors (coordination)
  • remove the illogicality: the Level II Authority is responsible and he does not plan the funds
  • designate a coordinator for each PRJP
  • complete financial plan