Representatives of only two out of eight public sector trade unions arrived at the government headquarters on Tuesday morning for talks with government officials on an increase in the basic wage.

When asked by reporters if negotiations would be held, Public Administration Minister Dubravka Jurlina-Alibegovic said, "We'll see."

The head of the Croatian Doctors' Union, Ivica Babic, said that "social dialogue should be promoted if we want to have it" and that he wanted to hear what the government had to offer.

He said that the existing collective agreement for public sector employees could not be changed without the consent of all and that a consensus was therefore necessary.

The head of the Independent Union of Health and Social Welfare Workers, Stjepan Topolnjak, said that he did not expect anything of the talks with government officials.

"The government and the Deputy Prime Minister (Bozo Petrov) are acting irresponsibly, as if they were not up to the job. Calling a meeting one day before or cancelling it three minutes before the end of office hours is flippant. We have not been sent a negotiating protocol or the agenda or minutes of the last meeting and we consider such behaviour on the part of the government as irresponsible. We will obviously not be able to negotiate today because not all unions are present, so we'll see what happens," said Topolnjak.

The talks between public sector unions and the government concern a six-percent increase in the basic wage following a two-percent increase in GDP in the last two quarters.

Six public sector unions - bringing together nurses, social workers, employees in secondary schools, employees in the science and higher education sectors and cultural workers - did not arrive for the talks because they believe that conditions for continuing the negotiations had not been met.

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