Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Wednesday the government would offer a 6.12% pay rise for all public servants next year in three instalments of 2%, which is why a VAT cut of one percentage point planned as of January 1 will be postponed.
"At the same time, we realise that many job complexity indices are unfair and that they were changed inconsistently for years. We wish to resolve this issue too, for which we will hire experts who will precisely establish the real complexity indices all jobs based on a detailed analysis," Plenkovic said in parliament.
The government is open for dialogue on that with the social partners in order to find a solution to the problems that are the cause of numerous illogical things, he added. "Also, we are raising the non-taxable income from HRK 3,800 to 4,000. I'm also announcing a further significant minimum wage increase after consultations with the social partners."
He recalled that his government had raised the base pay for public servants, which did not go up between 2012 and 2016, by 11.5% (HRK 587).
Even though we promised to raise pensions by 5% by the end of our term, we have already raised them by 12%, twice as much as the previous three governments, Plenkovic said.
"Through sound economic growth and by cutting taxes for citizens and companies, we have ensured in only three years a three times higher average wage and two times higher minimum wage and pensions than the previous three governments," he said, adding that he understood the impatience of workers in education, healthcare and other public services, respecting their position that pay should be higher.
"However, we believe that after raising the salaries of all public servants by 11.5% in three years and offering an additional increase of 4%, the teachers' strike wasn't justified."
Submitting a report on the government's work, Plenkovic said his cabinet was ready for an election at any moment so that citizens could decide to whom they wanted to entrust the future of Croatia and their children.
He criticised the 2011-16 Social Democratic Party (SDP) government of "not being capable of pursuing a responsible economic policy and raising the standard of living."
He said that his government, despite numerous attempts at destabilisation and false accusations, had worked on delivering on all of its election promises for citizens' benefit, achieving many things.
"There were those who had an opportunity to take Croatia on the road of economic recovery, but they weren't up to the task. They divided society, they couldn't utilise the European Union membership for Croatia's development and to strengthen its position, they froze salaries and pensions and achieved a record high unemployment, they raised taxes while at the same time indebting Croatia. The only result of their term was that they indebted every citizens by an additional HRK 17,500," Plenkovic said about the SDP government.
"Unlike them, we know where we are taking Croatia and how to run a state. In our activity, we are guided by patriotism, solidarity with the neediest, the values of freedom and the responsibility of every individual."
Plenkovic went on to say that under his government the number of backlog court cases dropped from "almost 530,000" three years ago to 350,000 this past May. The government is also investing in the better equipment and more efficient organisation of courts and prosecutor's offices.
He said that today entering the judicial profession, the appointing of judicial officials and decision making were left up to professionals, without any involvement from the executive authority or political influence.
The independence of the judiciary does not rule out the responsibility of judicial officials for their decisions, which must be unbiased and always based on the law and facts, he added.
Speaking of citizens with frozen bank accounts, a big problem encountered by his cabinet, he recalled that a law package was adopted to resolve the issue, enabling debt write-offs, as a result of which, he said, the number of these citizens dropped from 325,000 in May 2018 to 251,000 this past August.
(€1 = HRK 7.42)