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Slovak trade unions launch petition calling for referendum on Labour Code

Slovakia’s Trade Union Confederation (KOZ) continues to object to planned changes to the Labour Code and is ready to use public methods to show its discontent, the TASR newswire reported.

Slovakia’s Trade Union Confederation (KOZ) continues to object to planned changes to the Labour Code and is ready to use public methods to show its discontent, the TASR newswire reported.

Among the actions is a petition launched by KOZ on January 10 calling for a referendum on the amendment to the Labour Code that is being prepared by the government. The unions are also preparing a series of protests throughout March including rallies in front of the Government Office building and on city squares. Additionally, KOZ said it is not ruling out a one-hour general strike in mid-March.

The unions have expressed concern about new provisions proposed for the Labour Code, arguing that these are designed to introduce measures that would translate into a significant loss of protection of employees when being hired or laid off. They also have reservations about other labour-related policies such as extending the trial employment period from the current three to six months and reducing the minimum layoff notice period to one month.

The Labour Ministry said recently that it is disappointed at KOZ's attitude towards discussing the planned changes. Labour Minister Jozef Mihál said that he does not understand why the unions decided to walk out of the talks of the so-called tripartite social partners – a working group with representatives of employees, employers and the government.

Prime Minister Iveta Radičová said on January 10 that the unions should use standard ways of voicing their concerns. She emphasised that the Labour Code amendment is only being compiled at the moment and that it has not yet been submitted for review by the tripartite group.

President Ivan Gašparovič said that he may support changes in the Labour Code. "If employees are to benefit from the changes and at the same time employers won't suffer from discrimination, and vice versa, I don't see any reason why I shouldn't sign it," the president said.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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