Speaking at a teacher's unions press conference today union representatives said that teachers have decided to step up their strike and will now be striking throughout the country until their demands are met. Labor minister Josip Aladrović has called on them to come to negotiations on base salaries, while unions say they will not be coming because they want talks on increases of salary coefficients.
At a meeting of the two biggest teachers unions yesterday a decision was adopted on a general strike in elementary and secondary schools.
“A unanimous decision was adopted to continue the strike in a frontal manner. Meaning the strike will no longer be circular but rather frontal in every county, all of Croatia, every day, so long as our demands are not met. This is a new form of pressure on the Croatian government, for them to sit at the table with us and to finally begin to resolve the problem,” said union representative Branimir Mihalinec.
Labor Minister Josip Aladrović said that negotiations with unions will continue in two days.
“On Thursday negotiations on base salaries in the collective agreement will continue with all state and public servants, to whom the striking unions belong. We expect them to turn up for these negotiations,” said Aladrović.
Teachers unions will not be attending the negotiations.
“We have adopted a decision and our committees support us in this, that we will not attend negotiations on the base salary until our issues have been resolved. I have faith in our colleagues to gain a proper base salary. We have honestly done our bit for the base salary,” said Mihalinec.
He added that, thanks to the teacher's strike, the starting amount for the base salary in negotiations for public services is 6.12%.
Ana Tuškan from the Teacher's Union commented on voting by participants of the strike regarding the government offer to increase salaries.
“A total of 31 200 workers in elementary schools turned out for the vote, of which 96.7% turned down the offer by the Croatian government,” said Tuškan.
Of some 14 thousand employed in secondary schools who are on strike, almost all voted against the offer and for a continuation of the strike until demands are met.
President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović commented on the strike which has lasted since October 10th, asked if the state of affairs is alarming, she said that it is not alarming but rather cause for concern. She said she is most concerned due to the fact that children are not in school and they will lose many days of school.
Besides the strike, unions have announced an action for tomorrow when participants of the European People's Party congress pass through Zagreb. From 1pm to 2pm on the route where the convoy will pass, they will be holding banners reading "Honk for Education."
For Monday they have announced a protest at the central Ban Jelačić square in Zagreb.