A former director general of the legislative section at the Health Ministry, Milan Tomkuliak, has been identified as the man who has been on a hunger strike in a tent erected in front of the Government Office building in Bratislava since Friday, August 27. Tomkuliak claims he was unjustly sacked from his job as a civil servant in 2003. He says the courts have confirmed his claim.
He told the SITA newswire he wants to see that constitutional principles are observed in Slovakia at the level of constitutional bodies, mainly the principles of free access to information, non-discrimination and the rule of law. In his opinion, these are not currently observed as the Health Ministry ignores the decisions of courts. The arrival of the new minister, Ivan Uhliarik, has not brought a positive change, he alleges. He said he plans to continue his hunger strike “until the end”.
Tomkuliak headed the Legislative Section at the Health Ministry until December, 2003. His employment as a civil servant was reportedly terminated at his own request, something which he denies, claiming he did not give notice. He appealed the ministry’s decision with the Office for State Service but was unsuccessful. Then he turned to courts and finally the Supreme Court accepted his arguments and ordered the case to be returned to the office. The office concluded that the decision to termination his employment should be cancelled.
During the previous government’s term, Health Minister Ivan Valentovič ordered the case to be re-examined by the courts. However, the decision had already been enforceable so, according to Tomkuliak, he should have been re-employed. He eventually returned to his job, but was shortly afterwards dismissed without being paid past wages. The courts decided in his favour for a second time but, in his opinion, the case did not progress. He then turned to the Government Office, which asked the Health Ministry to inform it about the development of the case. The answer should have been sent by August 27, which is when Tomkuliak went on hunger strike. The Office of the Health Minister responded to the hunger strike with surprise, saying they had arranged a meeting between Tomkuliak and the minister for September 3 to discuss his grievances.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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1. Sep 2010 at 10:00