The Independent Union of Research and Higher Education Employees of Croatia, IURHEEC, one of ETUCE’s member organisations in Croatia, reported that with the signing of the temporary collective agreement for public services employees, trade unions, including the Croatian Teachers' Union, CTU, and the Independent Trade Union of Workers in Secondary Education of Croatia, ITUWEC, ETUCE’s member organisations, gained some breathing room to negotiate a quality collective agreement. The signing of the temporary agreement took place last Thursday, 9 March 2017, following a two-month break and a serious dispute between the Croatian government and trade unions, among which three are member organisations of ETUCE.

The lack of time remaining before the expiry date of the previous collective agreement and due to the poor negotiation process and reluctance from the Croatian government, the public services trade unions suggested to sign the temporary agreement in order to guarantee the same scope of rights for public services employees.

Despite the fact that the Croatian authorities’ intention to temporarily regulate employees’ rights through various bylaws and rule books at institutional level – which could be seen as an attempt to undermine collective bargaining in Croatia – the trade unions succeeded to sign the agreement which will be valid until  1 August 2017 and in prolonged application until 1 November 2017.

Having expressed his satisfaction, Vilim Ribić, the IURHEEC General Secretary, said, “It took us some time to make the Croatian authorities understand that the absence of a collective agreement would lead to a chaos in the Croatian public services sector, but today we’ve got a temporary, transition collective agreement allowing us to start negotiations on a new comprehensive agreement immediately.”