Minister of Labour and Pension System Josip Aladrovic said on Tuesday that he would send education-sector unions an invitation to a meeting to be held on Wednesday, when the government would present its final offer to union demands, adding that he hoped that after that, the strike in primary and secondary schools would end.
"I would like to say that a meeting will be held tomorrow, today we will send an invitation and we expect the unions will respond to see what the government wishes to offer," Aladrovic told reporters in Government House after disgruntled union leaders said earlier in the day that they had not been called to continue negotiations with the government.
Aladrovic however did not wish to reveal what the government intends to present as its final offer seeing that the unions insist on a 6.11% increase in the job complexity index in the education sector.
"I think that it would be in order to keep the offer for the meeting... We will see tomorrow if there will be any changes," he said.
He also added that the government expected the strike to end. "We expect the end of the strike considering all the increases we have offered through the basic collective agreement and through the optional increase that we offered earlier in the case that the regulation on job complexity indices is not amended."
The government has offered the unions an increase of the base wage of 6.12% next year and that it will analyse the wage system in the public sector and examine job complexity indices in primary, secondary and higher education and in science.
If the regulation on job complexity indices is not amended before 1 July next year, the government is prepared to increase the job complexity index in the education sector by 2%.
Referendum on govt's offer free will of unions
Earlier in the day, education-sector unions threatened that if the government did not send them a new offer, they would call on striking teachers to voice their opinion on the government's current proposal which the unions have referred to as "0+0."
"As far as a referendum is concerned, the unions are free to organise it if they consider it to be necessary to inform their membership of the government's proposal," said Aladrovic.
With the 6.12% increase and the optional additional increase of 2% the government will have increased wages in primary and secondary schools by more than HRK 1,400, Aladrovic claimed.
"I think that from the financial aspect the government has shown good will in resolving the problem of all those employed in the public sector and state administration. I'm sorry that that has not been recognised," he added.
The continuation of the strike depends on the unions and whether they will accept the government's offer, he said.
"The strike certainly is not a good situation for students and parents. We are nearing the situation when it will be necessary to extend the school year and they certainly need to consider ending the strike. I think that the financial demands have been met and that there is no further need for the strike," Aladrovic concluded.