Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Saturday that demands by teachers' unions could have been discussed without teachers going on strike.
"We will talk. Not only were we in favour of a compromise, we also put forward a set of solutions including a long-term solution. You can see already that others, too, are slowly raising the issue of job complexity indices in the media," said the prime minister regarding teacher's demands of increased job complexity indices.
"We need to make the point clear here, education is not the only sector, there are a lot of them. It is important for us to find a solution that is sustainable with regard to the revenues side of our budget," added Plenković after attending an event marking the 20th anniversary of the HDZ Women's Association "Katarina Zrinski".
Even though negotiations with the striking teachers' unions ended inconclusively on Friday evening, the prime minister said that he intended to continue the talks with the unions but did not specify exactly when they would take place.
Meanwhile, Plenković remains confident that the ongoing teachers' strike will not harm the HDZ's presidential candidate, incumbent President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, because "teachers, as well as non-teaching staff, know that this government is raising their wages and not reducing them."
There was a government that cut wages, said the prime minister in reference to the previous Milanović government, "this one is raising them." He said they respect teachers and wanted to engage in dialogue with social partners.
An overwhelming majority of striking employees in primary and secondary schools rejected a pay rise proposal offered by the government after yet another rounds of talks on Friday. Union leaders announced that more than 95 percent of striking teachers had voted against a pay increase of 10.4 percent in 2020 during a two-day internal referendum.
Unions, meanwhile, are demanding a 6.11 percent increase to the job complexity index.