MARCH 15 2012 23:11h
What is actually going on, what is the problem of employers and the real goal of the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) and their proper but sudden and sharp critics on the Milanovic's Government? In the time the state budget for this year has been brought, which finally revealed the Government's economic policy, employers supported Milanovic. They didn't resent him. The direction is all right, as they were saying. It seemed they were satisfied. And now, however, they say they are concerned, since introduced measures won't be enough for stimulating the right atmosphere for economic growth, entrepreneurship and investments. Some measures will even make the situation worse, as they say, like the additional tax on capital and for example, higher prices of utility services in Zagreb.
Employers especially attack Milanovic for the last thing and the condition in Zagreb, what is the least surprising since higher prices of public transportation will cost them additional 300 million HRK per year. The city authorities in SDP direction have been showing complete weakness for years relating the monopole of utility services. The employers were aware of the situation long ago, however, they kept the position of constructive support they gave to Milanovic. What has changed?
Maybe it is okay to remind that the major employers with the largest impact haven't been enthusiastic with social-democrat's arrival. For a long time they were persistently trying to find a way to install some alternative team into Banski dvori, a team that would mind work less and be more fond of a capital. It seemed like they don't have many reasons to be worried about the victory of Kukuriku coalition, especially considering rhetoric and measures of the minister of finance Linic and the minister of economy Cacic. When we would question trade unions, both of them care more about the opinion of employers than the position of unions and their work organization.
When Cacic heard the critics of the Croatian Employers' Association relating to the Government, he seemed to be surprised. How, as he counts on his fingers, the citizens will lose around 2.5 billion HRK through VAT and the entrepreneurs will gain 2.8 billion HRK through their fees? It seems that he is truly surprised as he couldn't understand how the entrepreneurs can be unsatisfied with that?
The main reason lays in some latest events that happened after introduction of the budget and the announcement of this year's economy policy. Let's say, the foreign ambassadors in Croatia, were united in warnings they addressed to the Government about faster and more efficient work on removing obstacles for investors. This was encouragement for domestic entrepreneurs to reinforce their pressure on the Government.
In the meantime, the rating agency Fitch announced that the Government promised a modification of the Law on labor by the middle of this year. Alterations of that legislation have been creating a certain obsession of HUP for a long time, and of course, not only in a part that matters extended period of collective contrast. Shorter notices, lower severance pays, abolished paid launch brakes and everything else, which is the thing employers hope for.
Let's see what has happened in the meantime, during those several weeks that passed from adopting this year's state budget. There is , for example, Linic's announcement that the list of biggest debtors would go public. That is not something that could please entrepreneurs. Actually this could scare them. And they must have been confused by acts like the one performed by the minister of defense Kotromanovic, who charged them their costs for using state property infrastructure.
Milanovic's Government doesn't want conflicts, especially conflicts with employers whose investments and new working positions the Government hopes for. Neither employers want an open conflict but there is reason they increase pressure on the Government and Milanovic. They regularly keep in touch with Cacic and Linic so they probably hope to achieve something more when they insist to meet with the prime minister.