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No agreement over minimum wage for 2016

SOCIAL partners have again failed to agree upon next year’s minimum wage level, with the Republican Union of Employers (RÚZ) and Association of Employers’ Unions (AZZZ) advising against any hikes, while the Trade Unions Confederation (KOZ) proposed an increase by €30 to €410 per month.

Labour Minister Ján Richter (Source: TASR)

“According to the law, the ball is now in the government’s court,” said Ján Richter, Labour Minister as cited by the TASR newswire. “We agreed that if the next session of the Economic and Social Council (HSR) is slated for September, I’ll table a proposal – a cabinet’s proposal this time – which will be greenlighted by the government.”

RÚZ is not happy to see the minimum wage become part of the government’s social package.

“I talked openly about this, conveying the message that employers don’t like to see the minimum wage become part of the social package, particularly when its figure is discussed in advance before the social partners have a chance to meet and talk,” Ľuboš Sirota, RÚZ vice-president said as cited by the TASR newswire. “We don’t take kindly to this and believe that it poses a significant obstacle to a dialogue between employers and trade unions.”

The unionists, on the other hand, insisted that the minimum wage should increase from the current €380 to €410 per month.

“For us, unionists, every single hike in the minimum wage is welcome,” said KOZ president Jozef Kollár. “We want a wage that will allow people to lead dignified lives, and €410 is not the kind of astronomical sum that could cause mass lay-offs and the bolstering of unemployment.

The Labour Minister noted that in the wake of a series of minimum wage hikes the number of registered unemployed has dropped and new jobs have been created.

“The minimum wage is an extremely motivating factor for people to start working,” said Richter. “Slovakia boasts an environment advantageous for businesses and, in light of increasing productivity, there’s a need for the minimum wage to go up. The opinion of the Labour Ministry has nothing to do with politics. Every single political party, particularly a social-democratic one, needs to have and has an opinion regarding minimum wage hikes.”

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