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OZ KOVO wants 8-percent minimum wage increase in 2014

The metalworkers’ trade union KOVO proposes boosting the minimum wage in Slovakia by 8 percent in 2014 in order to see it reach at least the poverty level of €315 per month. The Labour, Social Affairs and Family Ministry does not agree however, as it plans to increase the figure by only 2.4 percent.

The metalworkers’ trade union KOVO proposes boosting the minimum wage in Slovakia by 8 percent in 2014 in order to see it reach at least the poverty level of €315 per month. The Labour, Social Affairs and Family Ministry does not agree however, as it plans to increase the figure by only 2.4 percent.

“A proposal [to increase the minimum wage] has been submitted to the Economy and Social Government Council [i.e. tripartite – labour unions, government and businesses] and is due to be discussed at its session on Monday [August 12],” KOVO vice-chair Monika Benedekova said at a press conference on Wednesday. “The labour unions, however, demand a higher increase, as the minimum wage also has a social, not only an economic dimension.” According to Benedeková, the 2012 Social Situation Report in Slovakia ascertains that some 20.6 percent of the Slovak population is at risk of poverty, and that 6.3 percent of working people are at risk of poverty.

“At the moment, the minimum wage represents €337.70 [per month], with the subsistence level for 2011 being set at €315. If an individual in Slovakia is employed on the minimum wage, they're netting only €292.40, which is even below poverty level,” claimed Benedeková, as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that this is the reason why the unions want to see an 8-percent hike.

“All economic parameters such as labour productivity as well as overall industrial production of Slovakia are growing at a rate highly surpassing our demands,” stressed KOVO chairman Emil Machyna. He pointed out that the minimum wage in Slovakia is the eighth lowest in the EU, despite the fact that Slovakia in seeing the most dynamic growth in labour productivity.

“The problem is that the percentage of wage/GDP ratio is falling, with benefits being translated solely into companies' profits or the liquidity of companies' economic parameters but not into employee wages in any way whatsoever,” added Machyna.

“The reality (of the wage/GDP ratio) in 2012 was 37 percent, for the year 2013 so far it is 36.8 percent, for 2014 it is to be 36 percent,” he said, as quoted by the SITA newswire. “In the Czech Republic the share of wages in GDP remains at 43 percent. But at present, hourly labour productivity here is higher than in the Czech Republic,” he says.

Employers do not agree with the trade unions’ proposal because according to them, such an increase will lead to rising unemployment and deepening poverty. The National Association of Employers is demanding a freeze on the minimum wage until the unemployment rate in Slovakia drops below ten percent. At the beginning of this year, the government increased the minimum wage in Slovakia by 3.2 percent to €337.7. In 2012, the lowest wages also rose by 3.2 percent, to €327.2. At the beginning of 2011, the minimum wage rose by 3 percent to €317, according to SITA.

(Source: TASR, SITA)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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