Croatian state workers strike in demand for higher pay

State workers across Croatia, including police, administration and court officials, launched a one-day strike Wednesday to protest the government's refusal to raise their salaries. The strike threatened to paralyze state services but police, firefighters and the army pledged to work if an emergency arose.

The labor unions, which say that as many as 90 percent of their members joined the strike, took action after the government refused to grant each state worker an additional 300 kuna (Ђ41; US$48) a month, promising instead a 3 percent raise in 2006.

The unions also demanded more benefits and better working conditions. They claim the state workers earn only up to 3,100 kuna (Ђ419; US$495) a month, or 60 percent of the average monthly salary in Croatia. The government insisted the 2006 budget could not cover unions' demands, reports the AP. I.L.

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