Policemen organised in Trade Unions are protesting
Policemen, trade unionists, organised for the first time a public protest action in Slovakia. They asked for higher wages, better technical equipment and maintaining of social security. Their protest was negatively accepted from the side of the Ministry of Interior according to which the wages of policemen are indeed low however they will be expressively increased in the near future. In connection with the protest activity the head of the Police trade unions was recalled what was highly criticised by the Confederation of Trade Unions. At present unionized policemen are planning next protest actions.
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).
The Ministry of Interior (Ministerstvo vnútra Slovenskej republiky, MV SR) responded very critically to the protest of policemen. According to the minister´s speaker, Boris Azaltovič 'to protest just at the moment when the wages of policemen will increase by 13.2% and it was achieved to secure also advantages of social and pension security, is an incomprehensible and false step'. The minister of interior, Vladimír Palko agrees with the fact that the policemen have low wages, he just does not understand why they protest now when he managed to negotiate increase of their wages during approval of the state budget for 2006. After increase of wages in 2006 the average wages of policemen and soldiers should be comparable. According to data available should the average monthly wage of policemen reach approximately SKK 28,000 in 2006. Policemen would be satisfied with such wages however, the chairman of the Policemen Trade Unions said that the wages will actually increase much less in 2006.
The minister of interior reacted to the protest also in such a way that he immediately recalled the chairman of the Policemen Trade Unions from his position (director of the Department of scientific and technical development) at the Ministry. According to the minister, Miroslav Litva has lost his trust because he did not say the truth about the level of policemen wages - 'police officer, even though a member of the trade unions, cannot publicly say gross untruth'. The commencing gross wage of a policeman is indeed according to the basic wage regulation SKK 9,000 but with different surcharges, 13th and 14th wages and indexation it could reach the amount of SKK 13,000.
The chairman of the parliamentary Committee for Defense and Security, Robert Kaliňák (opposition political party SMER) said 'such act of revenge has no place in our form of democracy'. According to the chairman, those who try to defend policemen as trade unionists cannot be recalled 'even if he or she did not say the truth' (daily SME 27 October 2005).
Confederation of Trade Unions (Konfederácia odborových zväzov Slovenskej republiky, KOZ SR) also supported the chairman of Policemen Trade Unions and called an extraordinary meeting of board of directors KOZ SR to deal with this issue on 27 October. KOZ SR organized a press conference and informed the public about their objection against the recall of the chairman of Policemen Trade Unions from his position and about the actions that KOZ SR plans to do in connection with this issue in the future. According to the data available (daily SME 22 November 2005), representatives of unionized policemen called the next protest meeting on 3 December 2005. The European Confederation of Policemen Eurocop was informed about the case. Also the European Parliament and the European Commission are dealing with the issue.
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