Croatian Medical Workers Join Teachers on Strike, TV Says

Croatian medical workers and scientists joined teachers in a one-day strike against the government’s plan to reduce their benefits, state TV said.

Educators at primary and secondary schools and universities are pressing the government over its Sept. 17 decision to cancel collective contracts that stipulate benefits for public workers, according to the teachers’ union.

Croatia, which is set to join the European Union in July, is struggling to emerge from a renewed recession. The 11-month-old government led by the Social Democrats plans to cut costs by 4 billion kuna ($690 million) this year to narrow the budget deficit and preserve the country’s credit rating.

Fitch Ratings today lowered the country’s outlook to negative from stable, citing a projected widening of the budget deficit.

Health Minister Rajko Ostojic appealed to medical workers to continue to provide medical care and keep the country’s health system running, according to national news agency HINA.

The average take-home salary in August was 5,541 kuna, while unemployment in the country of 4.2 million was at 19.6 percent in November, according to the statistics office in Zagreb.

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