The CGSP/ACOD public service federation, part of the FGTB socialist confederation, organised a national strike on 10 October. The union was protesting against the austerity policies of the government, weakening of employment rights in the public sector, reduced pension entitlement and the increased threat of privatisation. The union is also objecting to plans to impose minimum service requirements when public service unions taken strike action. The union says that minimum service agreements are currently negotiated with public service employers and should not be unilaterally imposed by the government.
Public service union stages anti-austerity strike
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Unions from all sectors joined a national demonstration in Zagreb on 20 October in protest against changes to the pensions system, including an increase in pension age to 67. Unions are calling for a pension age of 65 and to retain rules on early retirement including the possibility of retiring at 60 with 41 years of contributions. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Earlier this month parliament approved government plans to gradually increase pension ages by five years starting from next year. The change has been widely rejected by trade unions with public service workers joining recent demonstrations to show their opposition. The issue was discussed at last month's meeting of EPSU's constituency covering Russian and Central Asia which agreed a statement expressing concern not just about the impact of the change but also about the failure of the government to carry out a proper consultation with trade unions.
A joint campaign of the three main trade union confederations has been successful in getting support for a referendum to undo legal changes that increased the retirement age to 67. The unions needed to reach a target of 373,568 signatures (10% of registered voters) in a two-week campaign that ended on 11 May. They easily passed the threshold, amassing 600,000 signatures and its now up to the government to respond and confirm that it will organise the referendum.