ZAGREB, April 9, 2018 – The leaders of the Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia and Association of Croatian Trade Unions, Mladen Novosel and Vilim Ribić, announced on Monday that this year on International Labour Day, observed on May 1, they would organise a joint union protest parade under the motto “For reforms, for the people,” demanding fairer wages and better working conditions, a dignified life for elderly citizens, quality education and accessible health system, effective judiciary and public administration and changed relations toward the EU.
The march will start in front of the unions’ headquarters and end in Maksimir Park where May 1 is traditionally marked, Novosel told reporters and added that unions from Pula, Rijeka, Varaždin, Čakovec and Slavonia would be joining the two Zagreb-based union federations.
Novoesel says that the unions want to send the government a message that this will be just the first step in future joint actions aimed at the prosperity of Croatian citizens and at facilitating the implementation of reforms.
In reference to the pension reform, the unionist accused the government of “shamelessly and without any guilt” announcing that it will extend the working age much before than the existing law stipulates and that it will additionally penalise people retiring earlier, even though the average life-expectancy in Croatia is a lot shorter than in European countries that have raised the statutory pension age.
Novosel added that announced health reforms favour interest lobbies and private capital which jeopardises primary health care.
The labour market has shown that employers were not right thinking that they could resolve the problem of the lack of workers by importing foreign workers. Employers have to realise that good quality labour won’t come to Croatia for low wages and that any surplus in value must be redistributed to wages, he added.
Ribić called on the government to be more active in the fight against the grey economy which leads to the loss of significant amounts of money and that it should increase budget revenue as well as raising the minimum wage which would lead to more money being available for pension allowances.