Work and Solidarity Party president Milan Bandic called on Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Thursday to raise teachers' salaries by 6% as of September 1, by 4% as of 1 January 2020 and by 7% as of 1 January 2021, saying this was not his condition to the prime minister but the condition of all conditions.
Speaking at a press conference, Bandic said his party would not leave the ruling coalition because it cooperated with the government on projects, adding that this pay rise was the project of all projects.
He said Education Minister Blazenka Divjak should have resolved the pay rise issue earlier and that his party had asked her to do so in August already.
Bandic extended full support for teachers, who are on strike as of today, saying he expected the prime minister to resolve the situation today so that children could go to school.
He added that he trusted in Plenkovic's prudence and wisdom because both knew that there cannot be a Croatia without "living people, educated and employed people, and teachers are the foundation of Croatian education."
"There is money for computer studies yet there isn't the HRK 1.2 billion for the 17% pay rise," Bandic said, adding that "we support the teachers' justified strike."
He said there must be money for the country's priorities and that they are demographic revival, education, work and employment.
Bandic, who is also the mayor of Zagreb, said the capital had raised salaries for 700 teachers for the 2019-2020 school year by 17% as of September and that this would cost HRK 8 million for the year 2020.
A strike began in over 1,000 elementary and high schools today because the government turned down a demand by two unions for a 6% pay rise.
(€1 = 7.41 kuna)