December 2, 2019 / 5:16 PM / 7 days ago

Croatian government and teachers agree gradual pay hike to end strike

ZAGREB (Reuters) - The Croatian government and teachers on Monday agreed a pay deal to end industrial action that began in October and included a nationwide strike that has halted all classes in primary and secondary schools since Nov. 19.

The teachers will receive a gradual increase in salaries, totalling 6.11% by the start of 2021 on the basis of an improved job definition to address pay differentials with other public sector roles.

“We have made a good compromise, by which we have achieved what we wanted from the beginning. The compromise consists of the payment dynamics,” said Branimir Mihalinec, head of the secondary school teachers’ union.

The deal comes against the backdrop of fiscal responsibility adopted by the conservative-led government as part of efforts to preserve Croatia’s recently regained investment credit rating and to join the euro currency zone in coming years.

Teachers’ salaries will rise by 3% with effect from Dec. 1, with a further 1% from mid-2020 and another 2% from Jan. 1, 2021.

School classes will restart across the country from Tuesday.

In October the government said it would increase wages for all public sector employees by 6.12% in 2020.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said after Monday’s talks that the teachers’ pay deal would not threaten efforts to sustain a balanced budget.

Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by David Goodman

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