Labour Minister Ján Richter has offered a compromise to college and university students who have threatened to take to the streets in protest at the introduction of a significant rise in the levies they are supposed to pay on so-called work-performance contracts (by which many students are employed in short-term or vacation jobs) as of next year, the TASR newswire reported on Thursday, October 11.
The minister, however, was reluctant to give details of exactly what he had offered the students, indicating only that the higher levies ought to apply only to earnings above a certain threshold. He was speaking after a meeting with representatives of the University Student Council at the presidential palace that was also attended by President Ivan Gašparovič, Education Minister Dušan Čaplovič and Finance Ministry State Secretary Peter Pellegrini.
"The idea is to preserve the current levies, that is 1.05 percent on earnings up to a specific sum," said Richter. It remains to be seen whether students will accept Richter's plan; a general meeting of the University Student Council is due this weekend. However, council head Katarina Stoláriková said on Thursday that she personally was happy with the idea. Regardless of the conclusion reached at the council's general assembly, students will take to the streets in Bratislava, Košice, Banská Bystrica and Žilina on October 23. If agreement has been reached by then on the levies issue the gatherings will serve as an open public discussion about higher education, Stoláriková said.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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