Croatia: Education Trade Unions demand Government to abandon budget cuts in public sector


ETUCE has addressed the Government of Croatia in support of its Croatian member organisations and asks the Government to:

  • refrain from cutting education budgets because further budget cuts risk to force teachers to leave the profession and lead to the deterioration of quality and access to public education for all.
  • negotiate with the education social partners through meaningful, constructive, and permanent dialogue with the aim to jointly find solutions that value and safeguard the teaching profession in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.

ETUCE member organisations - Croatian Teachers' Union, Independent Trade Union of Workers in Secondary Education of Croatia, Independent Union of Research and Higher Education Employees of Croatia and Trade Union of Workers in Pre-School Education of Croatia - informed the Secretariat that the Croatian Government intends to impose restrictive measures through introducing changes in the standing collective agreement and reduce salaries for all public sector employees, including teachers and other education personnel.

Only last year the Government and social partners had negotiated and agreed to gradually increase the already low salaries in order to support further the quality of services and to counter the severe shortage of employees and in particular of teachers and other education personnel. Today, the Croatian Government intends to cancel the previously agreed 2 % increase in salary to be implemented as of 1 June 2020 and the additional 2 % starting from 1 October 2020 for all public service workers.

For years already, teachers and other education personnel in Croatia have been receiving lower salaries in comparison to all other public service workers. The sectoral collective agreement that the social partners signed at the end of 2019 for the education sector  foresees that salaries in the sector are to increase by a total of 6 % in 2020 in order to put salaries in the public sector on an equal footing. With only half of the proposed increase achieved, the Government plans to terminate this agreement risks to further exacerbate the already existing alarming situation of teacher shortages in Croatia.

“We warn the Croatian government not to fall into the trap of the economic crisis of 2008 where public budgets were cut to save the country’s economy, leaving behind a trail of destruction in public education.  ETUCE believes that Croatia as the country leading at present the European Union, will set the example of democratic accountability and transparency and further contribute to the safeguard and renewed commitment to fundamental values and freedoms, in particular the right to free public quality education for all.”, stated Susan Flocken, ETUCE European Director.