FinMin says doesn't know how unions can say govt has offered nothing

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric on Thursday said that he doesn't know how the education-sector unions could say that the government had not offered them anything as their wages had increased by 20% over the past three years, adding that the wage system has to be regulated.

"We very clearly said that the issue of indices and supplements need to be discussed. Observing everything that has occurred over the past few days and weeks, I can say that it is clear to me why that system has not been regulated all these years," Maric told reporters ahead of the cabinet meeting when asked whether it was the same to have a higher wage index as the teachers are insisting or a supplement on wages which the government is offering.

Maric did not wish to present his conclusions to reporters but said that he was trying to regulate the system and appealed on his colleagues and the "other side" so that regulating the system can start. 

Wage system needs to be regulated 

As far as the government's last offer is concerned of a two percent increase of the wage supplement, Maric said that the wage increase is an individual matter that depends on levels in the system, number of dependents and tax surcharge, however, an increase is visible in comparison to previous years.

"The first people I see in front of me are the  teachers in charge of my children. I think these people are doing a fantastic job. They are teaching my children and all our children in the right way. However, at the same time teachers are not the only ones in the public and state administration service," he said and added that "Pandora's box has been opened these past few days."

Maric said that the government's offer is to continue increasing wages within the framework of what is possible.

Teachers and children need to go back to school and for us to continue 

"(Striking) teachers and children need to get back into the class room and for us to continue," he said and added that the line in the budget has to be drawn somewhere. 

He does not agree that education and the public service are in last place because in addition to pensions, they have received the highest wage increases.

Maric underscored that he is aware that without economic activities, economic growth, employment and wages there cannot be any budget revenue and that a clear measure for that has to be found. "Distinguishing certain segments is quite ungrateful," he said.

Text: Hina

News | Maric Zdravko