"I am definitely shocked. They closed the gates. I just came to see what I can help with. There is no willingness to talk. I did not talk to the management before, we told them last week I was coming this morning, they pretend they don't know and called the police. This is the first private business strike in Lithuania since independence. Now I understand why," Bracke told reporters in Jonava on Monday.
He said he had seen a similar situation in other countries but a business representative would at least come out to talk. Bracke also expressed how Achema management and staff would reach an agreement. If not, the government should intervene, he said.
"Of course they can. Workers and employers and trade unions must sit together, they have one common goal. In the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, at this stage government would send mediators. Because it is clear that the employer doesn't want to talk," Bracke said.
Later on, when the security let him in, the Union Syndicale Federale vice president spoke with Achema's chief legal officer Rytis Budrius who told him the company's executives had not been notified about his visit and could not receive him due to planned work.
Also, Budrius said only a few workers were on strike on Monday, stating that the trade union's raised issues were deemed to have been resolved.
"The striking is nearing its end. Only two workers are on strike this morning, 11 across all shifts. We believe that the issue is in fact ending and the issues have been resolved," Budrius told the press conference outside the company.
Union Syndicale Federale unites 20 trade unions across Europe.
Achema workers went on an indefinite strike on Tuesday morning to demand that the company signs a two-year collective agreement on new pay conditions. Achema's chief legal officer says, however, the company has no intention to do so.