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Another trade union protest in Bratislava

Trade unionists from the Confederation of Trade Unions (KOZ) labour umbrella group organized a protest march on December 8 from the Presidential Palace to the Slovak Parliament building. Approximately 300 protesters voiced their dissatisfaction with the government's stance toward the 20 demands the KOZ made this summer.

The unionists were accompanied by a group of supporters of the opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) party, who carried a banner with a portrait of HZDS boss Vladimír Mečiar.

The confederation has said it does not agree with the proposed 2000 state budget, and asks that it be reworded to secure citizens their "basic constitutional rights, such as the right to a job, the right to a wage enabling a dignified standard of living, the right to health care free of charge, the right to education and suitable social security for the retired."

The KOZ has stepped up its activities lately, beginning with a September 25 protest rally in Bratislava attended by about 25,000 people, and followed by a series of sparsely-attended road blockages and demonstrations around the country.

An October public opinion poll showed that only 36% of Slovaks trust the KOZ and that 44% expressed distrust in the confederation.

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