The Labor and Solidarity Party of Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic on Tuesday outlined its proposal for an increase in salaries of teachers by 10% this year plus 7% in 2020 throughout Croatia. Presenting the proposal, Bandic said that they would now seek support from all parliamentary benches for this proposal as well as for the further rise of 17% in 2021. Bandic called on PM Andrej Plenkovic and education minister Blazenka Divjak to make efforts to raise teachers’ salaries to the level of monthly salaries of professional staff employed in preschool institutions in Zagreb. In this context, Bandic boasted that monthly wages in those institutions are 13-17% higher than the wages of teachers in elementary or secondary schools. Bandic, however, admitted that he did not know how much this wage rise could cost the state budget.
At the same time, science and education minister Blazenka Divjak said that she would advocate a 4% rise in teachers’ monthly salaries until the end of this year plus 2% in 2020. She also promised investing more efforts in enhancing the status of the education system employees in the society. Divjak said that the plan supported by the junior coalition partner, the Croatian People’s Party HNS, had been presented to the cabinet. The minister informed that her proposal for a 4% higher salary of teachers would mean that an additional HRK39m should be ensured by the state budget, while the proposed by Bandic 17% increase this and next year would cost additional HRK300m.
Recall that in June two representative teachers’ unions called on the government to increase teachers’ gross wages by about HRK600 or they will launch industrial action in the autumn at the start of the new school year. According to the unions, different base wages would be increased by an index of complexity of 1.406pts which would mean a 6.11% wage increase, which will mean a gross increase of between HRK580 and HRK640. Healthcare workers have also demanded a pay hike – of 4% already this year (estimated to cost some HRK450m), but the government refused to support the agreement with health minister Milan Kujundzic. PM Andrej Plenkovic has said that the government treated all employees in health, educational, police and state administration services equally and needed to ensure the sustainability of the financial system. FinMin Zdravko Maric has previously admitted that the positive economic trends, including the favorable budget performance, paved the way for opening negotiations on wages, but has underlined that the government was in favor of a horizontal approach and was trying to ensure the equal treatment of salaries for all occupations and professions in the public sector. Media reported that Maric has been furious about the fact that the reached agreements on the pay hike in healthcare and education were not consulted with him beforehand.