ZAGREB, November 25, 2019) – Education and Science Minister Blaženka Divjak said on Sunday that a solution to the ongoing teachers’ strike had been on the table since Friday and that it was important for everyone to remain calm and present well-argued positions.
“I have been clear from the start that open dialogue, cooperation and openness to a healthy compromise have no alternative,” Divjak wrote on her Facebook wall on Sunday, adding that everyone would lose if students’ interests were not given priority.
As for relations between the striking teachers’ unions and the government, she said that they had abandoned their entrenched positions and that concrete analyses and arguments had been put on the table.
“Maybe I’m a stubborn optimist but there is room for agreement and a solution has been on the table since Friday, which is why it is important that everyone stays calm and presents well-argued positions…” the minister said, adding that the crisis had to be solved so that students and teachers could return to schools satisfied and motivated and continue co-creating the education reform.
Even though some media outlets have quoted their sources as saying that the negotiations between government officials and the striking unions were expected to continue in government offices on Sunday, the leader of the Union of Education Sector Employees, Željko Stipić, told Hina that his union had not received any invitation.
“We are focused on tomorrow’s protest, tomorrow is a big day, we expect tens of thousands of protesters,” Stipić told Hina.
According to media reports, 27 buses are expected to arrive in Zagreb from all over the country for the announced protest of education-sector workers.
The leader of the secondary school teachers’ union, Branimir Mihalinec, said on Friday evening after a meeting with government representatives that “finally a good meeting has been held” and that they were getting closer to a solution.
“Meetings will continue and we expect a solution to be reached next week. It will then be put to a vote by our members,” Mihalinec told the press.
Stipić said today that agreement was reached at the Friday talks to continue with consultations, and that he expected his union to be invited to talks after the protest, which is scheduled to start at noon in Zagreb’s Trg Ban Josip Jelačić square.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday, after the meeting with representatives of the striking teachers’ unions, that the meeting was yet another attempt by the government to find a solution, promising that he would do his best so that agreement was reached and an end was put to the strike. He also noted that Minister Divjak shared the responsibility for the strike.
Plenković on Saturday repeated that he expected the teachers’ strike to end next week after the striking unions were on Friday presented with an offer that was expected to help free the strike from political connotations and show that the government respected teachers.
More news about the teachers strike can be found in the Politics section.