ZAGREB, April 24, 2020 – Trade unions representing public and civil servants on Thursday wrapped up consultations with government representatives with the conclusion that official negotiations on salaries and basic collective agreements would follow, due to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We talked about the economic and health safety situation in light of the coronavirus pandemic. We exchanged opinions on how we see certain government measures and their effects. Official negotiations will follow. We expect to…. agree on solutions to all financial challenges the government is facing, which will be to the satisfaction of employees,” Labour and Pension System Minister Josip Aladrović said after a three-hour meeting.
Aladrović said that for the time being he “would not dare say” that pay cuts were necessary.
“During the entire meeting the word ‘cuts’ was never mentioned. We have to put the benefits of state and public servants on the table and talk about them. I am hoping for a certain consensus,” Aladrović said.
The minister also said what would happen with a recently agreed increase in the wage index for education employees.
“That was not on the table today. However, I am confident that during the negotiations we will open that issue,” Aladrović said.
Union representative Vilim Ribić underscored that if something was necessary, it should not be called solidarity but necessity.
“I would not say that there was understanding at the meeting, rather polemics and opposite opinions. There was a lot of discussion about the economic purpose of salaries in the state and public sector. Our opinions on the issue were opposite. We also discussed when these interventions will take place and who will be affected by them,” Ribić said.
He warned that none of the EU countries was cutting salaries at the moment and that all economic experts said pay cuts would be counterproductive. “Even the Croatian National Bank governor has said that now is not the right time,” Ribić said.
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