Unions say they will not give up on a six-percent raise.
On Monday, negotiations between the government and trade unions representing employees in public and government services will begin. The main topic will be changes to collective agreements and a six-percent salary increase, reports tportal.hr on March 20, 2016.
Negotiating committees of the government and unions will negotiate about increasing the base salary by six percent, following GDP growth in two consecutive quarters by two or more percent, according to an agreement signed in 2009. The conditions for the increase were fulfilled on 1 January.
The government does not deny that the trade unions are entitled to the raise, but for the fulfilment of these obligations it would have to find around 1.8 billion kuna a year. These funds have not been included in the 2016 budget which is expected to be adopted on Monday, and have not been included in the budget projections for 2017 and 2018.
The trade unions have announced that they will not give up on the increase, and can agree only to a short delay in implementation of the agreement, if during negotiations the government supports its case with appropriate arguments.
President of the Association of Croatian Trade Unions Vilim Ribić claims that the government has two additional obligations for salary increases, and says that its final financial obligation to employees in the public sector is actually much higher than 1.8 billion kuna a year. He says that unions are willing to compromise, but that does not mean they would abandon their demands or postpone them indefinitely.
On Wednesday, the government appointed its negotiating committee to negotiate with the trade unions about changes to collective agreements in the public sector and civil service. The committee is headed by Deputy Prime Minister Božo Petrov. He expressed hope that a compromise will be achieved because everyone was aware “of the situation in which we find ourselves”.