All public-sector unions except education unions accept government offer

NEWS 27.11.2019 20:57
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Source: N1

The government has reached agreement with seven public-sector unions, but not with the four education unions, Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic said after a meeting between government and union negotiators on Wednesday.

“If the education unions vote in favour of the government proposal, we will then negotiate an annex to the basic collective agreement,” the minister said.

Asked whether the government was considering banning the strike if the teachers’ unions rejected the proposal, Aladrovic said he would not want to discuss this before the vote so as not to escalate tensions.

According to calculations by the Ministry of Science and Education, one day of strike costs between HRK 32 million (€4.3 million) and HRK 35 million (€4.7 million).

Asked why the government did not meet the striking unions’ demands, given that the difference between what they demand and what the government has offered is about HRK 100 million (€13.5 million), or an equivalent of four days of strike, Aladrovic said that they wanted to reach a compromise solution through negotiation.

“Financial demands were smaller at the start of the strike. Financially, we are meeting more than we announced at the start. The offer we have made in the present circumstances is very good and we hope that the others will accept it too,” the minister concluded.

Radeka: Let’s wait, decision can’t be taken without striking unions

Igor Radeka of the Independent Science and Higher Education Union said after the meeting that they were waiting for a solution. “Our colleagues from the two largest unions, those on strike, are not here. When we look at all the education unions, they constitute a majority. That’s why a decision can’t be taken without them and we suggested that we wait for them to conduct a vote.”

He said that the next meeting was scheduled for Tuesday.

Anica Prasnjak of the Nurses’ Union said that all the public sector unions, except the education unions, had accepted the government proposal to increase base pay on a 2+2+2 basis.

“There has been no change in relation to what we have been offered before. This is the government’s last offer, and the public sector unions, with the exception of the education unions, narrowly agreed to sign up. We are now waiting for our colleagues from the education sector to conduct their referendum and next week we will sit down together and see,” Prasnjak said.

Last week the government and state administration employees’ unions reached agreement in principle on an annex to the basic collective agreement on base pay and entitlements for next year. The government offered a base pay rise on a 2+2+2 basis plus a Christmas bonus and a holiday allowance of HRK 1,500 (€200) each. Aladrovic said then that the government had offered the same to the public sector unions. The striking unions of primary and secondary school teachers refused to take part in the negotiations as long as the topic was base pay and not job complexity indices.