New sectoral collective agreement increases civil servants´ salary
07 februari 2006
A new sectoral collective agreement for civil service employees, covering 2006, was signed on 16 November 2005. The sectoral collective agreement took effect on 1 January 2006 and expires on 31 December 2006. Unlike the previous collective agreement signed after some longer disagreement between representatives of the government and trade unions only in February 2005, the negotiations were obviously easier this time.
New sectoral collective agreement has brought along only small changes for public servants
07 februari 2006
Sectoral collective agreement for 2006 creates a legal framework for employment conditions in public sector organisations and institutions in Slovakia where are employed more than 300,000 employees. Unlike the previous year this time the new collective agreement was signed earlier what signalized a less difficult collective bargaining which resulted in more favourable pay increase in comparison to the previous year (2006 pay increase was already provisionally agreed in the sectoral agreement for 2005). The collective agreement for 2006 was signed by the same representatives of social partners as the previous agreement for 2005 (SK0502101N ).  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/2005-collective-agreement-signed-for-public-service-employees
Social partners push for changes in sickness insurance
25 januari 2006
Contributions to compulsory insurance funds (for unemployment, sickness, health, accidents, old age and disability insurance) - which are divided between employers and employees by a ratio three to one - are generally considered to be high. Taking into account the contributions of employers as well as employees, the total rate of these levies is fixed at 48.6% (self-employed persons pay almost the same rate at 47.15%). Therefore, employers in particular require that their contribution rate be lowered. The government is also interested in decreasing the insurance burden while maintaining the present insurance system. In the field of sickness insurance, there is some room for lowering insurance rates because the Social Insurance Company (Sociálna poisťovňa, SP) has a surplus of income from insurance benefits relative to the sickness benefits that it pays out.
Trade unions strive for changes in the Labour Code
10 januari 2006
Trade unions fought a harsh battle against fundamental changes in the new Labour Code at the beginning of 2003 (SK0303101N ). Finally they achieved only a partial success, as the proposals of several changes, which have decreased the protection of employees and also have influenced the operation of trade unions in companies, were adopted and enforced by 1 July 2003 (SK0312103F ).  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/labour-code-to-be-revised  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/fundamental-changes-made-to-labour-code
Policemen organised in Trade Unions are protesting
07 december 2005
On 25 October 2005 unionized policemen organized a protest meeting in front of the Office of Slovak Government. More than one third out of approximately 20,000 policemen are members of the Policemen Trade Unions (Odborový zväz policajtov). Approximately 2,000 policemen who participated in the meeting asked for higher wages, appropriate technical equipment for effective fight against the organized crime and maintaining of current social benefits for policemen. It was for the first time that the policemen decided to organize a public protest in Slovakia. According to the chairman of the Policemen Trade Unions, Miroslav Litva, policemen compared with the soldiers have worse wage conditions what is unique among the EU member states. He mentioned that a policeman in the first year of his service does not earn more than SKK 9,000 gross while a soldier has a significantly higher wage - approximately SKK 15,000. According to the trade unionists opinion the work of a policeman should be appraised in the same way as work of a soldier (daily Pravda 26 October 2005).
Slight increase in part-time work
21 november 2005
The recently published /EU Labour Force Survey - Principal results 2004/ shows that only 1.4% of Slovakian workers work part time, the lowest rate in the EU. (The Slovakian labour force survey reports a higher, but still very low, rate of 2.7%.) However, these low rates are not due to the legal environment. The Slovakian Labour Code has for some time permitted part-time employment and the new Code creates even better conditions for it (SK0207102F ).  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/new-labour-code-takes-effect
Rapid growth of real wages
06 november 2005
According to recent data of the Slovak Statistical Office (Štatistický úrad Slovenskej republiky, ŠÚ SR) fast increase in wages continued in Slovakia also in 2005. While in 2004 the average monthly nominal wage of an employee in the national economy was SKK 15,825, in the first half of 2005 it increased up to SKK 16,272. This wage increase meant also a significant increase in real wages. Though in 2004 in comparison with 2003 the nominal wages increased more than at present (by 10.2%), the real wages increased only by 2.5%. In the first half of 2005 in comparison with 2004 the real wages increased more than twice and that increase represented 5.6%. Although it could be assumed that the increase in real wages will be probably slowed down before the end of 2005, mainly due to the gas price increase since October 2005, it could be predicted that the increase in real wages will be much higher than in the previous year. Development of real wages in selected branches of the national economy in August 2005/2004 and in August 2004/2003, is shown in Table 1.
Trade unions do not want to abandon their right to OHS supervision
09 oktober 2005
Participation of the trade unions in the supervision over occupational safety and health (OSH) has around 80 years tradition in Slovakia - it dates back to the first Czechoslovak Republic. According to the provisions of the Labour Code and the Act on OSH trade unions in Slovakia actively participate in social supervision over OSH. During supervision the trade unions act independently of the labour inspection bodies and health protection bodies. The main purpose of the trade union supervision over OSH at the employers is prevention. This is provided for by individual trade unions in economic sectors and branches through their specialists on labour protection - inspectors of occupational safety. Local trade union organizations nominee also employee representatives for OSH to the company OSH committees. The trade union inspectors of occupational safety can propose measures for removal of observed shortcomings to the employers. However, since the amendment of the Labour Code in 2003 they do not have the right to give the employer a binding instruction for suspension of work in a case of observation of serious shortcomings in OSH.
Reaping the benefits of pension reform
14 augustus 2005
On 1 January 2004, a new Act No. 461/2003 Coll. of Laws on Social Insurance came into force, which revised the way in which pensions are set up (SK0404102F ). Since then, pensions have been higher than those set up according to the old system. In the previous model, the maximum level was limited to about SKK 9,000. Since the new legislation, a definite, relatively small group of people now receive a much higher pension. Now, some pensions are worth SKK 20,000-30,000, or higher. At the end of 2003, some 77% of pensions were in the range SKK 5,600-8,999; in comparison, in the first quarter of 2005, up to 91% of these pensions ranged from SKK 5,600-10,999. According to information from the Social Insurance Agency (Sociálny poisťovňa, SP), nearly 4,850 pensioners hold pensions ranging from SKK 11,000-15,999 (the average wage in the first quarter of 2005 was SKK 16,022); some1,265 pensions range from SKK 16,000-20,999 and almost 500 recipients receive even higher pensions. In total, more than 1 million people are in receipt of pensions in Slovakia.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/pension-reform-finally-a-reality
Employees have won a dispute with the employer
11 augustus 2005
In the autumn of 2004 a labour dispute over the wages arose in the paper mill company SCP Neusiedler in Ružomberok (currently Mondi Business Paper SCP). A group of employees was not satisfied with the results of the wage negotiations of the local trade union organization in the company. These employees established a petition committee, which demanded higher wages for the employees and also organized a protest action in the town. The management of the company accused five employees, who were at the forefront of the protesting, of doing harm to the reputation of the company by providing the media with incorrect information about the wages in the company. On the grounds of serious violation of the working discipline they were immediately dismissed. The dismissed workers brought a charge against the employer for unfair dismissal.