A return to normality in Croatian schools, at least for now.
“When you miss the reasons and the timing for a strike, then you cannot succeed, even when teachers are deeply dissatisfied with their status”, said Željko Stipić, president of the Revival School Union which – together with the Independent Union of Workers in Secondary Education – today ended a week-long strike in Croatian schools. The strike did not achieve its goal, which was an increase in wages. Stipić has been sceptical from the very beginning about the strike, primarily because of the wrong timing, reports Jutarnji List on October 2, 2015.
Today has been the last day of strike in high schools, while primary schools and universities have already stopped the strike during the previous few days.
The new government will get 30 days of peace from the unions, after which they will again send their requests which current prime minister Zoran Milanović has not accepted. “We are going to stop, because there is no point. At this moment, the government is stronger and has won, but such a ruthless attitude towards education tells us that the current prime minister is not ready to put education first”, say the unions, adding that other political contenders do not inspire confidence, since the austerity policies mean that the sharpest cuts will be done in education.
Despite the chaos that the strike caused in primary and secondary schools, unions claim they have shown remarkable strength, but do admit they had a significant number of weak links, which is a consequence of relations between the affiliated unions.
Asked about the possibility of starting a new strike if their demands are not accepted by the new government, unions have declined to answer. Given that next year the negotiations on new collective bargaining agreements will start, anything is possible. According to the trade unionists, seven-day strike will not cause financial damage. Some of the schools have already decided they will work tomorrow to compensate for the lost time, and they will do the same in coming Saturdays as well.
“It is good that the strike has ended, primarily because of children, who were the biggest victims of this strike. There are no winners and losers, only victims. After the elections, we will do everything we can to improve the material and social status of teachers”, said education minister Vedran Mornar.