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Success in teachers' demand for salary increase in Croatia!

The three-day strike in Croatia which began on 22 November ended in resounding victory for the teachers. The Croatian government and three EI member organisations signed two agreements on 25 November guaranteeing teachers a 6-percent pay rise every year over the next three years and bonuses over the next six years in order to catch up with wages in the economic sector.

EI, the global union representing all education workers worldwide, rallied to the support of Croatian teachers during their strike. 90% of the country's entire teaching force or 50 000 education workers, comprising elementary and high school teachers as well as university professors, took part in the strike. It takes four years of teacher education and a one-year internship to obtain the titles of Ucitelji and Profesori. However, teachers' wages in Croatia are at the moment 15% below the average salary of public servants and 20% below the wages for similar responsibilities in the private sector. Currently, a teacher earns a average monthly wage of 3500 kuna (€480; US$610). EI congratulates the Croatia teachers on the positive outcome of their industrial action and expresses satisfaction that the government was eager to enter into negotiation with the teachers. Prime Minister Ivo Sanader highlighted the importance of the two documents in the context of his government's efforts to make Croatia a society of knowledge. Vilim Ribic, chairperson of the Executive Board of EI affiliate, the Independent Union of Research and Higher Education Employees of Croatia (IURHEEC), commented that by signing the agreements the teachers unions have achieved their goal. The wage for new teachers holding a university degree will be 5-percent higher than the country's average and 10 percent higher than the average wage in the economic sector. He said that teachers would be paid a 2-percent bonus as of 1 August 2006, adding that he was pleased that the trade unions had managed to secure the inclusion of a clause in the agreements guaranteeing that their basic salaries would continue to grow after 2009. He also explained that the wage base growth rate would be pegged to the Gross Domestic Product growth rate and that it would be 1-percent less than the GDP growth rate.

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