Teachers' Union Leaders Expect Solution to Be Reached Next Week

By 23 November 2019

ZAGREB, November 23, 2019 - The leader of the secondary school teachers' union, Branimir Mihalinec, said on Friday evening after a meeting with government representatives that "finally a good meeting has been held" and that they were getting closer to a solution.

"Meetings will continue and we expect a solution to be reached next week. It will then be put to a vote by our members," Mihalinec told the press.

He did not specify what the solution included, and when asked if this meant that the protest announced for Monday was cancelled, he said that the protest would be held in Zagreb's main square Trg Bana Jelačića at 12.05 hours on Monday as planned.

The secretary general of the primary school teachers' union, Ana Tuškan, said that the strike was continuing. She added that they were glad that they were finally invited to talks and that they finally talked.

"We hope that we will manage to hold a few more meetings with government representatives," she said. "We are satisfied that we were able to talk. Today is the 30th day of the strike and we have basically talked for the first time."

Asked if the issue of job complexity indices was finally on the table, Tuškan replied in the negative. "There were no offers, we only agreed that we hoped that there would be more meetings and that we would try to solve this problem," Tuškan said.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday, after a meeting between government representatives and representatives of striking teachers' unions, that the meeting was yet another attempt by the government to find a solution, promising that he would do his best so that agreement was reached and an end was put to the ongoing strike.

"We deeply believe that there is no reason for the strike or for any major protest. It makes no sense to go on strike when wages are going up," he said in an interview with Croatian Television.

He would not specify the offer discussed at today's meeting, saying only that there was agreement not to talk about the details for the time being as additional consultations within the unions as well as in the government were necessary.

Asked who was responsible for the current situation, the PM said that some of the responsibility rested also with Science and Education Minister Blaženka Divjak.

"Each minister answers for their own department. I expect this problem to be solved. She has been trying to contribute constructively, she has been making effort and there is no dilemma about that, but certain statements that she made in recent days are not good or acceptable," he noted but would not say if Divjak's replacement had been discussed, saying only that he primarily wanted to run a government that ensured a better life for all citizens.

"I don't like when something that we have invested a lot into is transforming into a political protest. I want to be clear - children have to go to school and young people need to be educated."

Asked if the school year was at risk, Plenković said that he would do his best so that an agreement was reached and an end was put to the strike.

More news about the strike can be found in the Politics section.