Health Sector Unions Insist on Wage Increase

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, August 19, 2019 – Ahead of a meeting with Health Minister Milan Kujundžić, the head of the Independent Union in Health and Health Insurance, Stjepan Topolnjak, on Monday said that the unions would not back down from demanding a wage increase that was agreed to during collective negotiations.

“We want to get what we initialled – a wage increase of three percent for working conditions and four percent for life and health responsibility for all workers in the healthcare sector working in diagnostics and treatment, which amounts to 400 million kuna a year,” Topolnjak told Hina.

Union representatives are expected to resume the talks with Kujundžić on Tuesday to discuss starting positions after a previous round of negotiations collapsed whereby a 3% wage increase as of 1 August and a 4% increase as of 1 October this year was on the table.

“If the government does not accept that and has a hidden agenda, our demands will be higher. We expect Kujundžić to present the government’s stance and what we can expect. We want negotiations to be held at such a pace that they be concluded by 15 September and if that does not occur, our committees will decide to launch union action,” Topolnjak said.

The leader of the nurses’ union, Anica Prašnjak expects a definite answer from the health ministry and what the government has decided to do to deal with the needs of people employed in the health sector, primarily nurses and doctors who are in high demand on the European market.

Health Minister Milan Kujundžić has announced that he will ask the unions to have patience and wait for about 15 to 20 days so that the Finance Ministry can make some calculations and for the government to come to an agreement. He is convinced that the government will make a decision on a wage increase within a month’s time.

He underscored that a wage increase in the health sector of 3+4 percent is the “bare minimum” that needs to be accepted so that physicians and nurses stay in Croatia and added that he was grateful that the unions did not go on strike during the tourist season.

An agreement was signed in the Health Ministry on July 31 to extend the Collective Agreement for workers in health and health insurance with two unions however the government did not accept an initialled wage increase for 72,000 workers in the system and instead announced further negotiations.

More health news can be found in the Lifestyle section.


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