Public Sector Trade Union Accuses Government of Blackmail

By 22 August 2017

Trade unions are worried because the government, for the first time in history, wants to increase salaries of state employees, but not of public sector employees as well.

The Preporod Education Trade Union has initiated an internet petition to force the government to give up on its decision to pay salaries for employees in public service and state services calculated from different starting values, reports tportal.hr on August 22, 2017.

The trade union president Željko Stipić told a news conference on Tuesday that the unions had a week left to “bring reason” to the government not to do what it said it would. “We have heard from Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and his Finance Minister Zdravko Marić that they do not intend to increase the salary base for August and that they would not change their decision to pay salaries calculated on the basis of 5,211 kunas for public sector employees and of 5,315 kunas for state employees,” said Stipić.

He warned that public sector workers and state employees have always received salaries calculated from the same base and that the relations between the state and public service cost of labor could now be disrupted. Under the slogan "Do not underestimate teachers, doctors, nurses, social welfare workers and cultural institution employees,” the trade union has initiated an internet petition to equalize the salary base in the state and the public sector.

Stipić said that the government should be faced with a large number of signatures of dissatisfied citizens so that salaries in September would not be paid at a lower base. If the unions gain a significant number of signatures, and the government still persists in its decision, Plenković will have to explain what he exactly meant when he decided to postpone the introduction of the property tax, saying that the government must listen to its people, Stipić warned.

Largest responsibility is on Education Minister Blaženka Divjak since among the 180,000 public service employees, most of them are education workers. “People who have the lowest salaries will be the most affected, and these people are teachers,” Stipić said.

The union believes that the government is engaged in a “classic blackmail,” since it tried to link the six percent raise for 2017, proposed in December last year, with the pressure on public service unions to forget about government’s debt from the previous year. Even if the trade unions were willing to do that, according to Stipić, they could not have done it, because the debt is held by individual workers, many of whom have already launched numerous lawsuits against the government.

Translated from tportal.hr.