By protesting against an amendment to the Labour Code, trade unions are delivering on their agreement with the opposition Smer party, said Jozef Špirko, the vice-chairman of the Republican Union of Employers (RÚZ), on March 28, as reported by the TASR newswire.
"Their agreement is to attack the government at any cost and to increase some sort of tension in society. The Smer party isn't making itself heard on the amendment just yet but it doesn't even need to as the unions are doing the job for it," said Špirko. Slovakia's labour law and unemployment rate ought to be dealt with at the negotiating table rather than via protest rallies, he added.
"But the trade unions aren't interested in the issue of unemployment and their activities are a clear testament to this," Špirko stated. "Their stated commitment to employee protection is designed to cover up the real incentive – that they're eager to retain their privileges, funds and power," he commented.
RÚZ plans to propose that trade unions be obliged by law to publicly state their funding, its sources, amounts and use. The RÚZ vice-president stated that employee contributions reach €25 million per year and that the public has the right to be informed about this.
Slovakia’s Finance Ministry expressed surprise at the trade unionists' protest in front of the Government Office earlier on March 28 in a protest aimed against price increases and higher living costs.
"In 2008, when prices grew significantly faster – at 4.6 percent compared to 3.5 percent this year – trade unions not only didn't protest, but they openly supported Robert Fico's (Smer) government and its policies of squandering and stealing," said Finance Ministry spokesman Martin Jaroš. The spokesman added that the current government had to "slam on the brakes" and introduce many austerity measures, including a temporary VAT hike, which he called "the Fico tax". He said that the main culprit behind current food price increases is global prices for food and crude oil which cannot be influenced from Bratislava no matter who occupies the Government Office.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
29. Mar 2011 at 14:00