Trade unions strive for changes in the Labour Code
Trade unions have evaluated the practical implementation of the amended Labour Code and its impact upon the employment conditions of the employees. Representatives of trade unions informed the professional public about the results of their analyses at the end of November 2005. They specified several provisions of the Labour Code, which they consider problematic and disadvantageous for the employees and the changes of which they will request.
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).
Now, after more than one and half year of enforcement of these changes in the Labour Code the trade unions evaluate their implementation in practice. Following the information of the enterprise and sectoral trade union organizations the experts of Confederation of Trade Unions (Konfederácia odborových zväzov Slovenskej republiky, KOZ SR) have analyzed, how these changes have influenced the employment and working conditions of the employees. According to the information available the trade unions have concrete objections to several provisions of the Labour Code valid since 1 July 2003.
Representatives of KOZ SR and sectoral Trade Unions in the Chemical Industry (Odborový zväz Chémia, OZ Chémia) have informed the wider professional public about the results of their analyses. On 29 November 2005 the Social Discussion Forum on the topic 'Changes in the Labour Code from the perspective of trade unions and employees' was organized by Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Slovakia (the Foundation regularly organizes discussion forums on up-to-date economic and social topics).
The vice-president of KOZ SR, Vladimír Mojš and the legal expert of OZ Chémia, Zdena Dvoranová have informed about the results of the analysis of the implementation of the amended Labour Code in practice, which was carried out by trade unions. After clarifying those areas of changes in amendment of the Labour Code, with which the trade unions disagreed, the vice-president of KOZ SR specified the essential provisions, which are disadvantageous for the employees and which the trade unions attempt to change. From among several of them these can be mentioned as the most important:
- to specify better the reasons enabling the employer to dismiss the employee, especially the reasons enabling an immediate dismissal
- to increase the compensation of wage for that employee, whose dismissal by the employer was proclaimed invalid by the court
- to adjust conditions for collective bargaining in those organizations, where more trade union organizations exist, in such a way that one trade union organization cannot block the collective bargaining
- to specify the maximum limit of 48 working hours weekly in such a way that this holds also in the case when the employee works for more employers
- to acknowledge a three-month compensation payment for all employees who agree with termination the employment relationship before the expiration of the term of notice.
The legal expert of OZ Chémia emphasized that the changes in labour legislation have diminished the role of the state in extension of collective agreements. In her opinion also the possibility to enforce the law in individual labour disputes has deteriorated and a serious problem represents also the fact that the employees who worked for their employer as employees are often forced to work for them externally as self-employers. The employment conditions of an employment on the basis of the Agreement on execution of work are also problematic, eg because of lower social security, no contributions to the insurance funds. Moreover, this form of employment is often used also for temporary work mediated by agencies.
After a wider discussion of the subject the trade unions’ representatives informed that at present their experts are still evaluating some issues and in a short time want to discuss them with representatives of Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family (Ministerstvo práce, sociálnych vecí a rodiny Slovenskej republiky, MPSVR SR). The aim of the trade unions is to achieve changes in the problematic provisions of the Labour Code, which are, in their opinion, disadvantageous for the employees.
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