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Smer signs deal with unions

THE OPPOSITION left wing Smer party signed an agreement with five labour unions on March 23 hoping to secure greater support ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections. The unions have more than 84,000 members and say they represent around 700,000 people.

THE OPPOSITION left wing Smer party signed an agreement with five labour unions on March 23 hoping to secure greater support ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections. The unions have more than 84,000 members and say they represent around 700,000 people.

As part of the agreement, Smer pledges to promote union aims, provided it becomes part of the next government, while the unions will publicly support Smer in the June elections, the TASR news agency wrote.

"Smer will do everything it can to restart a regular tripartite [dialogue between labour, business and government] in Slovakia," Smer chairman Robert Fico said.

Smer also pledged to roll back changes in the Labour Code by former Labour Minister Ľudovít Kaník to a "classic European standard".

The party aims to increase the minimum wage within five years to 60 percent of the average national wage, as well as to raise taxes on what it described as "above-standard income".

Milan Hort, deputy chair of the ruling SDKÚ party, said some unions were misusing their power for political ends.

"The public has to be able to recognize who is really trying to defend their interests and who is just trying to get lucrative posts in this way," Hort told The Slovak Spectator.

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