School Strike Continues, Unions to Consider Government Offer

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, November 27, 2019 – The ongoing strike of education-sector employees will continue until Friday. Whether or not it will continue after Friday depends on whether the striking unions will accept the government’s offer of a cumulative 10.4% wage increase, which was put on the table late on Tuesday evening.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that education-sector workers’ wages would be increased in four turns.

As of December 1, wages would be increased by 3% through an annex to the branch collective agreement, as of 1 January 2020 they would increase by an additional 2%, as of 1 June 2020 by 3%, and as of 1 October, 2020 by an additional 2%.

Teachers’ wages would go up by a total 10.4% in 2020. A 1% safeguard has been offered due to the job complexity index, which will be discussed after the election to prevent politicisation, and a regulation on it would be in force throughout 2020, said Plenković.

“We expect the strike to end and school to start as of Friday, after the unions conduct the necessary procedures,” said Plenković.

Unionist Branimir Mihalinec said that the government’s offer was not what the unions had asked for and that he would leave it to union members to vote on.

“We had asked for (an increase in) the job complexity index and the government said that we would discuss it next year,” Mihalinec said, adding that the previous offer was zero and that the latest offer did not meet the unions’ demands.

He declined to say if he personally was satisfied with the offer, saying only that it was not as the unions had expected it to be.

The meeting between government officials and the striking school unions started on Tuesday around 4.30 pm and ended around midnight. It was first chaired by Prime Minister Plenković’s chief of staff Zvonimir Frka Petešić, and Plenković joined the negotiators after a government session.

Due to the strike, which on Wednesday enters its 33rd day, primary and secondary school students have not attended school for 13 days. Science and Education Minister Blaženka Divjak has said that the time spent on strike would be compensated for by prolonging the academic year and making holidays shorter.

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


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