Trade unions want an increase to 3,800 kuna, while employers accept an increase of up to 5 percent.
At a meeting of representatives of the government, employers and trade unions held at the Ministry of Labour and Pension System, an agreement was reached in principle about the rise in the minimum wage, with the precise amount to be decided later, reports Jutarnji List on November 28, 2016.
The president of the Croatian Association of Trade Unions Ozren Matijašević said after the meeting that the representatives of the Ministry and employers had agreed that the minimum wage should be increased and that Minister Tomislav Ćorić would propose to the government to issue a regulation to increase the minimum wage.
Another meeting with representatives of employers in especially vulnerable sectors – construction, textile and wood processing industry – will be held, which should result in compensatory measures which will help employers cover the costs of the increase. After that, a new consultative meeting of social partners will be held, before the final proposal is drafted. Given that tax reform, which will come into effect on 1 January, will not result in an increase of salaries for about 1.5 million people, this is the only option to increase their incomes, said Matijašević.
President of the Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia Mladen Novosel pointed out that the Minister of Labour and Pension System has the right to decide on the amount of the minimum wage, and the trade unions insist it should be fixed at 50 percent of the average salary in Croatia, which would be about 3,800 kuna gross. The current minimum wage is 3,120 kuna. Such a rule would make it easier for employers to plan their costs, and workers and trade unions would not have to issue demands for minimum wage increase every year, said Novosel. He added there was a range of sectors which could give workers higher wages, but they do not want to do it.
Bernard Jakelić from the Croatian Employers’ Association said that, taking into account social situation and poverty, negotiations on the adjustment of the minimum wage should start from between 2 and 5 percent, and not 20, 30, or 50 percent. He added that such percentages were wishful thinking, since all salaries have to be earned on the market. Employers also expect to get certain compensatory measures that would somehow compensate for the losses due to market disturbances, he said.
Such measures may come in various forms – from favourable loans of the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development to discounts on the energy prices and a number of other ways. “It is necessary to take into account traditional industries which have survived in Croatia – the textile and wood-processing industries – and think about their future and sustainability of their business. We demand a range of compensatory measures and exact calculations in relation to the increase in the minimum wage. I am sure there will be some corrections of minimum wage”, concluded Jakelić.