Striking School Unions Will Not Meet with Presidential Candidates

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, October 25, 2019 – School unions on Friday said that they would not meet with presidential candidates to discuss the situation in the education system and announced that schools in Primorje-Gorski Kotar, Međimurje and Sisak-Moslavina counties would be on strike on Monday.

Croatian Teachers’ Union (SHU) Secretary-General Ana Tuškan told a press conference that they do not wish to be associated with any political party or presidential hopeful.

She made this statement after the leader of the Independent Union of Secondary School Teachers, Branimir Mihalinec, on Thursday called on presidential candidates Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Miroslav Škoro to clearly state their opinion regarding the situation in education and the ongoing strike.

Škoro invited the unions to talks while incumbent President Grabar-Kitarović said on Twitter that she supports the union demands.

“Not one union in the education sector will attend any meeting with political parties. They should say what they think about education because it will probably be on each candidate’s platform… but we will not go to any meeting, we do not wish to be associated with any candidate,” Tuškan underscored.

Schools in Zadar and Šibenik-Knin were on strike last Friday with an 87% turnout in secondary schools and 92% in elementary schools.

The teachers’ unions are demanding that the job complexity index be increased by 1.406 percentage points, which would put them on par with other state administration and civil servants.

Tuškan underlined that the 6.12% base pay increase announced by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković would mean that their salaries would still fall behind those of others in the system. “We will persist. Our demands are founded, legally supported and fair,” she said.

She warned that wages in the education system are miserable. A beginner teacher’s wage is 3,100 kuna (419 euro) a month while cleaners with 30 years of service earn 3,580 kuna (484 euro), she said.

“Those women are living on the verge of poverty. Cooks and accountants are in a similar position,” Tuškan said, adding that 86% of women who are the least paid in the public sector work in schools.

More news about the strike can be found in the Politics section.


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