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Labour unions warn 50,000 will rally in fall

The Council of the Confederation of Trade Unions (KOZ), a national labour umbrella group, agreed on August 18 to start preparations for a major protest rally in Bratislava on September 25. KOZ President Ivan Saktor said that about 50,000 citizens are expected to attend the rally from all around Slovakia.

The unions want to draw attention to demands that they have made of the government, demands which they feel have gone unanswered. In late June, a special KOZ congress compiled a list of 20 requests and delivered it to the government. Most of the demands focused on improving of the standard of living of Slovak citizens.

Saktor said it is crucial to compensate voters for the impact that government-adopted economic austerity measures have had on lower income groups. He said it was the government's responsibility to find an answer to this question, because it has pledged to distribute the burden of restrictive measures equally.

Saktor promised that if the cabinet re-evaluated its position, the trade unions are ready halt the protest. But he warned that if the protest goes ahead, it may be followed by a partial or a general strike.

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