Science, Education and Sports Minister Vedran Mornar said on Tuesday that the strike announced by teachers was unjustified and that he would try and prevent it with legal means.
“We consider the strike to be unjustified. The reasons for the strike that are being mentioned in the media are in the least not true. For example, it is not true that the average wage in the education sector is HRK 5,000. Apart from that, the strike was not formally launched in the appropriate way and we will see whether we can stop it,” Minister Mornar said after presenting projects to be financed from European Union funds.
Mornar recalled that it was not right to refer to a wage increase in the health sector because after seniority supplements in the education sector were abolished these supplements were refunded through other allowances.
“An across-the-board increase in salaries of four percent would be unfair. During the longest recession, wages for 50% of teachers increased. That is fantastic and to strike when all of society is in recession and you got a raise, is inappropriate,” Mornar said.
He denounced claims by teachers’ unions that a 4% wage increase would cost HRK 190 million, saying that even at a lower percentage increase on basic wages that would cost HRK 340 million. He agreed that some teachers were underpaid however, it was necessary to consider the current economic circumstances.
Deputy Prime Minister Branko Grcic commended the government because in the first eight months of this year it had created a primary surplus for the first time in the past six or seven years, which means that revenue is greater than expenditure after deducting interest. “That gives way in the future to improving the standard of the employed in various public services, including education. This year there is no more room in the budget, however with continuing economic growth and a greater revenue that may be possible next year,” Grcic said.