ZAGREB, November 25, 2019 – Over 20,000 teachers from throughout Croatia gathered in Zagreb’s main square Trg Bana Jelačića at noon on Monday to demand a 6.11% increase of job complexity indices, carrying banners saying “All we want for Xmas is 6.11”, “This is not a strike, this is a reform” and “Striking for life.”
Teachers’ unions have been on strike for 31 days. Initially, the strike was organised on a rotating basis, with the industrial action taking place every day in different counties, while a general strike began last Tuesday. Teachers are demanding a 6.11% increase of job complexity indices to close the wage gap with other public services.
The government offered a base wage increase of 6.12% as of next year on a 2+2+2 basis and an analysis of wages in the public sector to compare job complexity indices for employees in the primary, secondary and tertiary education and science sector. If the system of job complexity indices are not regulated by the end of June next year, the government would provide a wage supplement of 2%.
The unions rejected the government offer saying it would not solve the problem of lagging wages.
The leader of the secondary school teachers’ union, Branimir Mihalinec, said on Friday after a meeting between the government and the unions that they were getting closer to a solution, but did not elaborate.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday morning he expected an agreement would be reached with striking teachers’ unions in the afternoon.
“Talks will be held this afternoon after the protest rally. I appeal to all unions, union leaders, to take into account that it would be good for children to return to their classes as soon as possible. If the question was whether we heard the message, yes we did,” the prime minister told the press after opening the Shared Services Centre of the state-owned information technology company APIS IT.
“I think we have a solution. It aims to ensure that children go to school, that teachers are satisfied and that this whole story ends in such a way that we can all say that we have improved the system,” Plenković said, adding that he expected a solution to be found today. He would not discuss details of the government’s new offer.
Mihalinec said before the protest rally on Monday if an agreement were reached today, it would be put to a referendum among the membership in the next two days, and if it were endorsed, the strike would be ended and school classes would resume on Thursday.
More news about the teachers’ strike can be found in the Politics section.