Trade unions accept small pay increase in public sector
The global economic crisis has curtailed the rate of wage growth in Slovakia. After four months of negotiations, the social partners have concluded the multi-employer collective agreements for the civil service and public service for 2010. The agreements allow for a modest 1% pay increase, which is several times lower than in previous years. Terms and conditions of employment in the public sector were also agreed without significant changes.
Social partners conclude new collective agreements
The State Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family (Ministerstvo práce, sociálnych vecí a rodiny Slovenskej republiky, MPSVR SR), Emília Kršíková, and the Vice-President of the Confederation of Trade Unions (Konfederácia odborových zväzov Slovenskej republiky, KOZ SR), Ján Gašperan, issued a press release on 5 October 2009. After four months of negotiations, the social partners had concluded a multi-employer Collective Agreement for Civil Servants and a multi-employer Collective Agreement for Public Servants for 2010. The participants in the collective bargaining round included representatives of the government and regional self-governments, led by the main negotiator Ms Kršíková, and representatives of KOZ SR, the Independent Christian Trade Unions of Slovakia (Nezávislé kresťanské odbory Slovenska, NKOS) and the General Free Trade Union Association (Všeobecný slobodný odborový zväz, VSOZ), led by the main negotiator Mr Gašperan.
The new collective agreements increase the pay scales of employees in the public sector and establish better working conditions for them than the standards set out in the Labour Code. The Collective Agreement for Civil Servants covers employees working in public administration – that is, in bodies of central and regional governments. The Collective Agreement for Public Servants is applied to employees performing tasks of public interest – for instance, in the education and healthcare sectors. Both collective agreements will enter into effect on 1 January 2010.
Content of agreements
The main features of the Collective Agreement for Civil Servants include the following:
- a 1% increase in pay scales;
- a standard working week of 37.5 hours for jobs performed in a single shift;
- a minimum of five weeks’ annual leave;
- an employer contribution to employees’ supplementary pension scheme amounting to at least 2% of the payroll.
The Collective Agreement for Public Servants stipulates the same elements as outlined for civil servants, as well as an increase in the severance payment to dismissed employees of at least one month’s salary above the standards set out in the country’s Labour Code.
Apart from the salary increase, the collective agreements for 2010 determine practically the same employment and working conditions for civil servants and public servants, compared with the agreements for 2009. The largest difference between the collective agreements for 2009 and those for 2010 is the level of salary growth, which will be several times lower for the coming year. Due to the economic crisis, a minimum increase in public employees’ salaries was negotiated for 2010 – 1% in both agreements. The collective agreements for 2009 determined a 4% rise in pay scales for civil servants and a 5%–7% increment for public servants.
According to the Slovakian Statistical Office (Štatistický úrad Slovenskej republiky, ŠÚ SR), salaries in public administration actually increased by more than 8% in 2009, when compared with the previous year. However, these salaries had grown by only 1%–2% in the previous five years, according to an article in the daily newspaper SME of 2 October 2009 (‘Súťaž platov vedie verejná správa’).
Ludovit Cziria, Institute for Labour and Family Research