Union leader quits

Ivan Saktor, the president of the Confederation of Trades Unions (KOZ) stepped down today after a 10-year stint in the leadership of the labour umbrella group. He was replaced by moderate Miroslav Gazdík, who was elected with the support of 86 out of 96 delegates to a KOZ special congress.

Saktor intends to run as mayor of the central Slovak town of Banská Bystrica in December’s municipal elections.

Gazdík is regarded as a reformer and as a better diplomat than Saktor, who led protests against government policy and strikes of railway workers, cultural staff, bus drivers and many other industrial labourers.

“Sometimes Saktor acted without the authorization of the KOZ presidium. If the unionists didn’t take a clear stance, Saktor would tell them what to say to the public,” said Gazdík, adding that one of his priorities was a new Labor Code giving greater protection to workers.

Slovakia has 640,000 unionists associated in over 6,000 unions.

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