The cabinet on December 16 approved the third in a series of economic 'austerity' packages which threaten to increase prices for the average Slovak family by 1,118 crowns per year, according to the KOZ Trade Union Confederation. Here is what people had to say:
"I think that price hikes can only worsen my social situation. I am running a small tailor shop, and I can already see the recent price increases reflected in the bills I get. Our bills are increasing every single month. Despite the fact that my husband works at [steel factory] Železiarne Podbrezová, with our three children we can hardly make
"I also think that the trade union's calculation, saying that this year's increase will cost one family 1,118 crowns, is very friendly towards the governmnt's strict policy. I believe it will be much more."
Eva Katriňáková, 37, a seamstress from Podbrezová.
"We are retired, and every month we get about 8,500 crowns [$200]. We only have two rooms in our tiny house, and you know since we are old we don't need to live in warm rooms as young people do. That's why we usually save on hydro and get some money back from SE [the state energy monopoly] at the end of the year. But after the latest increases in prices we won't save anything. We won't suffer because we have some money saved but ... why doesn't the government increase pensions too? We don't see any justice here, but ....people got what they voted for."
Ján and Zuzana Brachnoví, 67, pensioners from Levice
"I live with my mother in our family house, so price hikes don't influence me directly. But my mother, who is a retired teacher, has big problems living on the pension she gets. If the prices of heating, electricity, gas and water increase it will be much worse for us, because I earn only 6,200 crowns [$147] a month. With that salary I can't support my mother as much as I would like to.
In the past I used to travel abroad a lot because I like travelling. Now, it's something that I can only dream about."
Eva Kovalčíková, 29, a teacher from Brezno