Government Negotiators Fail to Come to Union Organized Negotiations

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Deputy Prime Minister Petrov says negotiations will resume next week.

President of the Association of Croatian Trade Unions Vilim Ribić said on Monday he was sorry that the government has failed to accept their invitation for the continuation of negotiations. Deputy Prime Minister Božo Petrov instead sent a letter confirming that the negotiations would continue next week, reports on April 18, 2016.

Of the representatives of six relevant ministries, only Assistant Culture Minister appeared at the union headquarters, but he left when he saw he was the only one. This means that the government has not coordinated its actions and has not informed the Culture Ministry that they should not come to negotiations, said Ribić to reporters.

Given that government representatives had failed to come to the meeting, Ribić said that the unions were a responsible party and expressed willingness for compromise and social dialogue. This shows that unions want to solve the problem, while the government is dealing with other matters, its internal relationships, and misunderstandings, or is not aware of the gravity of the problem, said Ribić.

In the meantime, the unions have received a letter from Deputy Prime Minister Božo Petrov in which he announced that the negotiations would continue next week. Ribić said that the letter was full of good intentions and abstract formulations about the importance of social dialogue.

Asked if he expected that Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković would come to the negotiations, Ribić said that it was very important that Orešković came to the meeting in order to gain insight into the severity of the problem. “If the Prime Minister could not come to the meeting, then he would send a message that the problem was not so big – sue us and some other government will pay the damages”, said Ribić.

Ribić added that trade unions would be satisfied with “some middle solution” that would be good for the membership and the country as a whole. We need to see how the six percent increase in salaries would impact the GDP growth and how it would impact the public debt, said Ribić.

President of the Independent Union of Employees in High Schools Branimir Mihalinec said that he hoped Orešković, Petrov and Finance Minister Zdravko Marić would be more determined in solving this problem. Croatia has no time for fruitless discussions and we think the Prime Minister needs to make a decision, said Mihalinec.


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