Negotiations between the government and health care workers on a new collective bargaining agreement are set to resume next week.
Although the Health Minister Milan Kujundžić has vowed to raise wages by 4 percent in the next few months, union leaders remain skeptical. They say if a new deal is not reached by September 15th, health care workers will be forced to go on strike.
Union leader Anica Prašnjak said the current situation was untenable. "We are asking for the bare minimum, she said, ”We want a raise of at least 10 percent because we feel like they've been saving money on us for years now. Our department has been without a signed collective bargaining agreement for the past one-and-a-half to two years. We simply cannot continue like this," she concluded.
The president of the Independent Union of Health and Social Care Workers, Stjepan Topoljnak, doubled down on union demands: "We expect the minimum of what we agreed to, what the minister already initialed, to be the foundation for resuming talks. We are not going to agree to anything less than that. If the government wants to drag this out for a longer period of time, then of course, our demands will go up."
For his part, Minister Kujundžić maintains that the government is not opposed to raising salaries for doctors and nurses. "We are merely conducting the proper calculations, which include other requests as well, in order to see what we can do," he said.
Last week, the minister thanked health care workers for not going on strike during the tourist season and vowed to give them the pay raise they deserve.
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