Parliament passes collective bargaining amendment without changes

PARLIAMENT passed the amendment to the law on collective bargaining, which has been met with criticism from businesses, without accepting the suggestions of President Ivan Gašparovič, who refused to sign the amendment.

PARLIAMENT passed the amendment to the law on collective bargaining, which has been met with criticism from businesses, without accepting the suggestions of President Ivan Gašparovič, who refused to sign the amendment.

The law, authored by the Labour Ministry, automatically extends the binding nature of higher level collective agreements to additional firms employing more than 20 people in a given sector without the consent of the individual firms. Prior to the amendment, an employer’s agreement was necessary in order to apply collectively bargained agreements to the given enterprise.

A so-called tripartite commission, composed of representatives from unions, employers and the state and set up by the Labour Ministry, will have the final say on proposals for the extension of collective agreements as well as objections from employers. Ministry and Statistics Office officials will represent the state, according to the SITA newswire.

The President said higher-level collective agreements should not apply to firms with fewer than 50 employees. The parliament-approved amendment stipulates that the agreements will not be applicable to firms with fewer than 20 employees. The head of state referred to European legislation, which defines a business with 20-50 employees as a small enterprise.

Former Labour Minister Jozef Mihál said the new collective bargaining rules are harmful for the Slovak economy, employees, and companies.

“Even Mr President realises that, but you only press the button and follow the orders of the union bosses,” he told the Smer MPs in parliament, as quoted by SITA.

The Slovak-German Chamber of Commence said that the amendment is contestable at the Constitutional Court, according to the Sme daily.

Opposition parties grouped within the People's Platform announced immediately after the parliamentary vote that they will contest the law at the Constitutional Court.

Source: SITA, Sme

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
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