The SOMK education, culture and media union organised demonstrations in Zagreb and Rijeka to protest against plans to raise the retirement age for childcare workers from 65 to 67. The union argues that the change fails to recognise the nature of work in the sector and the increasing mental and physical demands made on childcare workers. EPSU sent a message of solidarity as did the BDDSz childcare workers from Hungary.
Early Childhood Education and Care, Low pay/minimum wages, Moldova, Croatia
On 12 May healthworkers in Sofia and Zagreb demonstrated over poor pay and working conditions and the crisis of understaffing. 5000 nurses, medical professionals, midwives and lab technicians joined a demonstration outside the Council of Ministers in Sofia demanding a 1500 Lev (EUR 765) minimum wage for health workers as a step towards stemming the flow of health workers out of the country. In Zagreb the call was also for improved pay and working conditions and in particular the respect for collective agreements in relation to overtime pay.
An analysis by the European Trade Union Institute shows that wage convergence between East and West in Europe was steady up until 2008. However, since then the trend has either stalled or gone into reverse. Taking national average pay as a percentage of the average across the pre-2004 EU15, Croatia and Hungary show the largest increase in the pay gap since 2008. There were also increases in Slovenia, Czech Republic, Poland and Romania.Most progress was made in Bulgaria but from a very low level (11.8%) to 17.7%, still less than a fifth of average pay in the West.