zdravko maric.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Daniel KASAP/ dk

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric on Thursday called on trade unions in the public sector to show a little more patience regarding a meeting with him and stressed that salaries for January in the public sector would be paid out in accordance with legal regulations, which means that they would go up by 4%, 8% and 10%, depending on the years of service in the public sector.

"I urge them to show a little bit more patience regarding the meeting, given that the government was formed only six days ago, This is one of the priorities. to me and to my colleagues, so the meeting will most definitely happen," Maric told the press after the government session.

At its first session on Thursday, the Croatian government formulated a set of legislative amendments extending a ban on the payment of salary bonuses of 4%, 8% and 10% based on years of service for public sector employees. Considering the fact that the law is no longer in force, as of January 1 this year civil servants would have the right to a salary bonus based on their years of service, in line with collective agreements applicable to them.

However, considering the fact that the current budget is temporary, covering the first three months of this year, and that outlays for public sector employees for the remaining months of 2016 would have to be lower than in 2015, the suspension has to be extended for the period until the end of the year.

Finance Minister Maric warned that until the amendments entered into force, the state would nonetheless have to pay the salary bonuses to avoid complaints of unconstitutionality, and that the temporary budget did not envisage funds for that.

The government's proposal to extend the ban on the payment of salary bonuses provoked dissatisfaction among public-sector trade unions  who said that this was "a bad message to unions at the very beginning of the the work of the new government," announcing they would seek court protection of their interests.

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