The first meeting between the government and unions concerning a pay rise in the public sector was conducted on Monday and a member of the unions' negotiation team, Branimir Mihalinec, said after the meeting that an agreement had been reached to continue the negotiations on April 1 and that a negotiation protocol would be prepared in the meantime.

Both sides undoubtedly consider the agreement (on the pay increase) to be very important and that they will endeavour to realise it together. We are aware that the government has a problem in implementing the agreement "all at once" and we are prepared to negotiate the dynamics of its implementation, Mihalinec said after the first round of negotiations.

Public sector unions are demanding a six percent pay increase, following GDP growth of 2% for two consecutive quarters, as provided for under a 2009 agreement that took effect on January 1.

Asked whether they expected a part of the pay rise this year already, Mihalinec said that they had agreed that the statement "there is no money" was not a serious negotiation position. When, how much and under which conditions there will be money to realise the agreement should be clearly defined. We expect Croatia to move forward and that this year there will certainly be money to start realising the agreement, he said.

If we manage to reach an agreement with the government, then that will be its obligation, accepted consciously, and then a budget revision will be defined so that the signed obligations are met. That is in fact what we expect, Mihalinec said in response to claims that the budget does not foresee the HRK 1.8 billion required to cover the cost of the pay increase.

Asked whether the negotiations would deal with amendments to collective agreements, Christmas bonuses, holiday pay and other benefits, Mihalinec said that currently representatives of eight unions that were signatories to the agreement were negotiating basic wages and that everything else would be negotiated with the unions that had signed the basic collective agreement.

Asked whether he was happy with the meeting, Mihalinec said that unions would have been happy had steps been taken to implement the agreement as of January 1, however, they were aware of the current situation and had agreed to negotiate possible schedules that would be precisely defined and realised.

Related stories

Public sector unions refuse meeting with caretaker govt

Petrov pleased with continuation of dialogue with unions

Unions won't back down from 6% pay rise claim

Gov't reps fail to show up for talks with unions

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.