(Photo: Patrik Macek/PIXSELL) (Photo: Patrik Macek/PIXSELL)

Union leaders are ramping up pressure on the government to once again join them at the negotiating table to discuss a pay raise. And despite the prime minister's move to increase salaries for all state and public sector workers by more than 6 percent next year, teachers and school employees remain defiant.

Vlasta Sorić, a primary school teacher, said the strike would not have adverse effects on students: "I already have a long tenure, my students are great, and there's good cooperation with parents. I've got nothing to be afraid of. Everything will work out and students will in no way be left behind."

For the most part, students said they supported the strike and believed that, on the whole, the public was not properly informed about the situation in schools. "I support the strike. Teachers have a tough job dealing with us students, so I support them," said one primary school student.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić expressed dismay at the continuing strike, saying he saw no need for it to continue. "This whole time we've been consolidating our public finances, lowering taxes, and raising salaries for all state and public sector workers, including teachers," said Marić.

"The options are to either withhold pay for those on strike, or to have the courts forbid the strike," said Labour Minister Josip Aladrović. "All options are on the table," he said. "We expect a solution this coming week."

Source: HRT