Wires

Croatian university staff join nationwide pay strike by teachers

ZAGREB, Oct 23 (Reuters) - University staff in Croatia piled pressure on the government on Wednesday as their union said it would strike in support of industrial action by primary and secondary school teachers that has been going on for nearly two weeks.

Croatian teachers are demanding a wage increase of some 6% saying that the complexity of education roles is such that their salaries lag other public sector roles.

"We want to show solidarity with our colleagues in primary and secondary schools and ... fight for some underpaid categories of our staff," Vilim Ribic from the Independent Science and High Education Union said.

A one-day strike in universities and scientific institutes is planned for Thursday, Ribic said.

"The plan is to hold a strike one day each week," he said.

School teachers repeated they have no intention of ending their strike until their demands are met. The action is organized in a way that some days schools do not hold classes nationwide and some days only in several counties.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic offered a 6% wage hike for all public sector employees from next year, but the union leaders say this misses their target.

The government, which has said it cannot afford to pay more than what it had offered, is preparing a budget plan for 2020, which is likely to be proposed next week.

Plenkovic said last week the government was ready to reconsider the job complexity definition across the public sector, but this needed a thorough assessment and more time.

Croatia has run a small budget surplus in the past two years and hopes to preserve sound public finances as one of the key conditions for meeting the criteria for adopting the euro, the European Union's single currency, by 2024. (Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Alexander Smith)