Croatia: Latest working life developments – Q3 2017

Amendments to national legislation, the establishment of an action team for tripartite social dialogue, changes in wages calculation for public sector employees, and an updated company agreement are the main topics of interest in this article. This country update reports on the latest developments in working life in Croatia in the third quarter of 2017.

Changes in national legislation

The Croatian Employers’ Association (HUP) issued a statement on the draft law on the system of strategic planning and development management. The social partners supported its adoption, because in Croatia there is poor coordination between various responsible government bodies and no evaluation of implemented strategies. The government accepted the proposals put forward by the social partners at the meeting of Economic and Social Council and sent the draft to the parliament.

Launch of trade union action team

On 12 July 2017, the presidency of the Council of the Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia (UATUC) agreed to set up an action team for itself and associated unions. The team consists of 250 representatives from various trade unions, which aims to strengthen the mobilisation, organisation and bargaining forces of the unions in tripartite social dialogue. It is also expected to have a stronger influence on public policies and labour-social legislation, as well as in bipartite social dialogue, collective bargaining and organising industrial actions.

Salary increase for public sector workers

On 22 August 2017, the government decided to pay salaries calculated on the basic amount of HRK 5,211 (€693 as at 20 October 2017) for public sector employees and of HRK 5,315 (€707) for state employees. Trade unions were worried because the government, for the first time, wanted to increase salaries of state employees, but not those of public sector employees. The education union Preporod launched an internet petition on August 22 under the slogan ‘Do not underestimate teachers, doctors, nurses, social welfare workers and cultural institution employees’, to force the government to change its decision to pay salaries to employees in public service and those employed by the state, calculated on different starting values. On 31 August , one week after the launch of the petition, the Prime Minister announced that wages and salaries for public and state sector employees would increase equally. And, on 1 September, the government announced it would increase the calculation base of salaries for public sector employees.

Long-standing agreement replaced

One of the longest-running collective agreements in Croatia was replaced in August, when a new agreement was signed at the brick manufacturer Istarska ciglana in Cerovlje; the previous agreement lasted 19 years, with 27 amendments. The new agreement calculates wages by the hour and the union is dissatisfied with the loss of an 0.5% supplement per year of work experience, which is now incorporated in the hourly wage. However, as the proposal was accepted by the general assembly of workers, the agreement is valid.

Comment

The government’s decision to use the same basic amount for calculating the salaries of employees in public service and state services is a positive step for future industrial relations.

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