ZAGREB, May 6, 2020 – Union representatives on Wednesday said, after the start of negotiations with the relevant ministry regarding new collective agreements, that they would not accept a reduction of rights in the public sector, warning of the damaging consequences should the government persist with that intention.
The government has put forward a proposal that due to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus, salaries should not be increased in June and October for employees in public and state services and that employees not be paid Christmas and holiday bonuses this year.
Secretary-General of the Grand Council of the Independent Union in Science and Higher Education Vilim Ribić said the government’s representatives were “destroying well-argued dialogue.”
He claimed that not one serious economist in the country supports the idea of reducing demand or incomes in the public sector and that not one country in the EU has reduced salaries, and that some have even raised salaries in the public sector.
However, the Croatian government, Ribić said, is going in the opposite direction because an election is coming and it wants to satisfy the influential pressure by employers and part of the media.
Leader of the Independent Union of Secondary School Employees Branimir Mihalinec said that the government has no moral right to ask for a reduction in salaries and material rights in the public sector, much less to ask that salaries are not increased in the education sector which still need to reach the level of others in other public services.
He added that the unions had warned of the extent of the damage should the government persist with its demands to withdraw from the agreed increase of the base wage and Christmas and holiday bonuses.
“We asked that they withdraw that proposal, to once again think twice about where that would lead,” unionist Igor Radeka said, adding that the unions would make their position clear once they receive the government’s proposal in writing.
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