Public sector unions demand PM to join talks on salary raise for 180,000 workers

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The unions of government and public sector employees will on Tuesday continue negotiations with the government and Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, in order to try to get the government to increase their salaries, after 13 rounds of negotiations so far have produced no results, state agency Hina said on Monday.

The unions do not accept the government’s offer of a 2-percent raise as of 1 April this year, and the increase in transport expenses paid to employees, from 1.00 kuna (€0.13) to 1.20 kuna (€0.16) per kilometer traveled to work. The leader of the school teachers’ union, Zeljko Stipic, said they were currently demanding a 4-percent raise and an transport allowance of 1.63 kuna (€0.21) per kilometer.

Hina did not report how much money would the proposal cost. Unions also demanded that Prime Minister Plenkovic gets personally involved in the negotiations after the previous 13 meetings with government negotiators produced no result.

“These are important matters for 180,000 employees, in science, higher education, secondary and primary education, healthcare, social welfare and culture,” Stipic said. He added that a potentially positive answer from Plenkovic and his involvement in the negotiations might be !a signal that the government intends to present the unions with a better offer.”

“Our demand to increase the base salary by 4 percent is very balanced,” said Stipic, and that that “the unions are in fact agreeing to a lower price of labor because last year the accumulated inflation was 2.3 percent, this year it is already 5.9 percent, and the salaries have been frozen since January 2021.”

“We must conclude the talks by 1 May, and by that time we will either have a new collective agreement, or a date for a public sector industrial action,” he said.