THE LABOUR unions are pledging to do their utmost to have the amendment to the collective bargaining law re-passed in parliament without changes, the Trade Union Confederation (KOZ) head Jozef Kollár told a press conference on November 18, as reported by the TASR newswire.
KOZ’s statements were made in reaction to President Ivan Gašparovič’s decision not to sign the amendment and to return it to parliament for changes.
The amendment received heavy criticism from employers, especially its provision to automatically extend higher-level agreements to all companies within a certain industrial sector - with or without the consent of the firms concerned.
The president believes such an extension would run counter to the results of collective bargaining within individual companies. At the same time, Gašparovič disapproved of the limit on the size of companies that would be exempted from the measure. This was set for small companies, which - according to the disputed legislation - have up to 20 employees.
The president has therefore proposed making two major changes to the legislation. The first would involve setting the employee limit for companies exempt from the law to 50; while the second would exempt all companies that have signed their own binding collective agreements with their employees as of the date a higher-level agreement in the given sector comes into effect.
Kollár conceded that KOZ was taken by surprise by the president's decision.
"The president had always declared his social feelings during meetings with representatives of employees, but he didn't confirm this stance when he referred the legislation back [to Parliament]," Kollár said, as quoted by TASR.
If the legislation is approved by parliament, including the two changes, this would destroy the original plan to protect the right of employees to decent remuneration for their work, KOZ believe.
Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.