Croatian primary and secondary school teachers went on strike on Thursday, as leaders of the two biggest teachers' unions failed to reach an agreement with the government on Wednesday regarding a 6% wage increase.
Union leader Branimir Mihalinec explained after the second round of talks fell through yesterday that all teaching and non-teaching staff in nearly 90% of primary and secondary schools around the country would go on strike on Thursday; adding that as of Friday union action would continue with a rotating strike, taking place in different counties each day, until the unions' demands are met.
Mihalinec explained: "We envision this action as a form of constant pressure on the government and an expression of our dissatisfaction within the education system, in a way that will do the least harm to those who are least at fault, and those are the students. One strike cycle will last for a period of ten days. Students in those ten days will not have classes for two full days. In this way, their studies will not suffer significantly and they will be able to make up for the lost time."
For his part, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković called the strike affecting some 1,000 schools "fabricated, absurd and unnecessary" and appealed to unions to be reasonable and return to the negotiating table.
Labour and Pension System Minister Josip Aladrović said that unions had rejected the government's offer of a 2% wage increase being retroactively implemented as of October 1st, plus a further 2% boost as of June 1st, 2020.