History of the UATUC

History of the UATUC

The Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia (UATUC) was established on 13 May 1990.

Democratically reformed ‘old’ trade unions participated in the UATUC’s Founding Congress alongside newly founded unions – a unique case in transition countries at the time.

Immediately following the Founding Congress, a membership recruitment campaign began in which every member of the previous unions of the former Union of Croatian Trade Unions (SSH) voluntarily signed an application form for the respective branch trade union if they wanted to remain a member.

During the first half of the 1990s the priority of the UATUC and its affiliates, in addition to implementing a thorough reform of the trade union movement, was ensuring workers’ rights and protecting jobs during the war, preventing impulsive, illegal and unfair privatisation processes and carrying out humanitarian activities. 

With the end of the war the UATUC turned to the usual activities of trade union confederations in representing the unique voice of the members of affiliates at national and local levels, but also in providing numerous support activities both to them and to their members: from legal assistance through support in trade union organising and collective bargaining to trade union education and awareness raising.

Right from its foundation up until today, the UATUC has remained the most numerous and best organised trade union confederation in Croatia and has been the initiator and leader of each of the most significant and best supported trade union actions. It is the only trade union confederation in Croatia that brings together trade unions equally from the public and the private sectors.



67 is too much

A referendum initiative ‘67 is too much’, which gathered 748,624 signatures, successfully brought back the entitlement to retire at the age of 65 and to reduce the penalisation of early retirement.


Solidarity strike with the workers of Lipik Health and Recreational Centre and Arena Pula

A two-hour solidarity strike with the workers of Lipik Health and Recreational Centre and Arena Pula, carried out as a form of general strike with the aim of exerting pressure for a better Labour Act, saw the participation of about 260 thousand workers.


Together in solidarity

A one-hour warning strike organised by the UATUC under the slogan ‘Together in solidarity’ saw 100 thousand members of affiliated trade unions participate in an action demanding the preservation of jobs, the payment of outstanding wages for work carried out and decent working conditions.


Together for higher wages in private and public sector

‘Together for higher wages in private and public sector’ was a joint protest of trade union confederations organised in Ban Josip Jelačić Square in Zagreb, with the participation of about 50 thousand protesters. Among other things, the protest resulted in the adoption of the first Minimum Wage Act.


Masks down

During a protest under the slogan ‘Masks down’, a police cordon prevented the arrival of five thousand shop stewards and activists at St Mark’s Square in Zagreb. The protest ended with negotiations and the conclusion of a collective agreement stipulating the minimum basic wage which was afterwards extended to all employers and workers in Croatia.


Bread for all

The UATUC organised a warning strike with the slogan ‘Bread for all’ after which an agreement on wages and the other material entitlements of workers was signed with the government and the Croatian Chamber of Economy, in which about 400 thousand workers switched to a policy of free collective bargaining with an obligation to respect collective agreements.


Croatian workers’ requests

In the three-day UATUC campaign ‘Croatian workers’ requests’, 343 thousand signatures were collected for a petition which had 15 labour and social demands.


Establishment of the UATUC

The establishment of the Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia.


Only when organised in a union can workers collectively bargain with the employer about their wages and working conditions and organise strike action if they cannot agree with the employer on these issues.

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