Public-sector unions on Friday failed to reach an agreement with the government on the application of a 2009 agreement under which public-sector employees are entitled to a wage base increase of 6%, but Deputy Prime Minister Bozo Petrov said that talks would continue.
"I hope we will continue talks next week," Petrov told the press after the meeting, thanking the unions for their understanding and expressing hope that an agreement would eventually be reached.
Petrov, however, noted that Croatia should be aware that, apart from the trade unions, there were also other groups that needed looking after following a deep recession.
Asked by the press if it was realistic to expect negotiations on rescheduling the 2009 agreement, Petrov said that little was realistic for this year given the HRK 2 billion deficit inherited from the previous government, which he said was why this government had to "tighten the belt even more" and why the situation was difficult.
Petrov said that the talks between the trade unions and the government showed a mutual interest in trying to reach an agreement.
One of the union leaders, Boris Plese, said that the unions would insist on their rights under the 2009 agreement, under which public-sector workers are entitled to a wage base increase of 6% given that the economy has already recorded growth of 0.5% for two consecutive quarters. He said that the current talks could not be tied to a new collective agreement because two different negotiating teams were involved.