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Unions unhappy with Slovakia's path

THE LEADERSHIP of the Trade Union Confederation (KOZ) says it is deeply dissatisfied with Slovakia's long-term social and economic development.

"GDP growth is still not being adequately redistributed in salaries and pensions," KOZ Chairman Ivan Saktor said.

According to Saktor, in EU terms, Slovakia is a country of low salaries and working poor, the TASR news wire reported.

"Real salaries have fallen by 9 percent and pensions by 17 percent since 1989," said Vladimír Mojš, the KOZ's vice-president for economic policy and social partnership.

The KOZ was also critical of working conditions in Slovakia. According to Saktor, many workplaces resemble those of the early 20th century. In addition, salary 'dumping' has become a problem, especially among foreign companies moving their operations to Slovakia from more expensive labour markets.

The KOZ expects that in the election year 2006, the government will make only cosmetic changes to the labour environment.

"We want a change after this year's general elections. The current government has viewed the KOZ as an enemy from the very beginning of its electoral term," Saktor said.

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