Slovakia: Latest working life developments – Q2 2016

Collective agreements in the metal industry, the settlement of a dispute in a transport company, a new law on posting of workers and figures on workplace accidents are the main topics of interest in this article. This country update reports on the latest developments in working life in Slovakia in the second quarter of 2016.

Metal trade union concludes collective agreements

At the end of April 2016, after eight months of difficult negotiations, the Metal Trade Union Association (OZ KOVO) concluded two multi-employer collective agreements:

  • one agreement with the Employer Association of Metallurgy, Extractive Industry and Geology of the Slovak Republic (ZHTPG) for 2016–2018; 
  • one agreement with the Association of Electromechanical Engineering of the Slovak Republic (ZEP) for 2016–2017.

Wages in companies covered by the agreement in the metallurgy, mining and geology sector will increase, on average, by 2.8%. Wages in the electromechanical engineering sector will increase by an average of 4.4%.

Negotiations between OZ KOVO and the management of steel producer U.S. Steel Kosice were difficult and 11 bargaining rounds took place before a collective agreement was reached. The agreement for 2016–2020, which was concluded on 18 April 2016, covers more than 10,000 employees. It keeps all previous benefits for the employees and includes a 3% average wage increase in 2016.

Collective agreement for bus company removes strike risk

After four months of disagreements, trade unions and management concluded the 2016–2017 collective agreement at the ARRIVA Liorbus Company in Ruzomberok in northern Slovakia on 29 April 2016. Conclusion of the agreement settled an ongoing dispute and removed the strike alert in the company. Average monthly wages of the 370 employees covered by the agreement will increase by €25 and all drivers will receive a fixed additional wage supplement of €0.19 per hour.

New law on the posting of workers

Act No. 351/2015 Coll. on cross-border cooperation in the posting of workers performing service jobs came into effect on 18 June 2016. At the same time, the Labour Code and the law on labour inspection were amended.

The new legislation is designed to improve cooperation between Member States in terms of provision of information, including resolutions on implementation of financial penalties or sanctions they have imposed, and control activities

It also provides better conditions for wage equality for workers temporarily posted to another Member State. The user employer is responsible for the payment of wages to temporarily assigned workers, and wages must be comparable with the salary of workers employed in similar roles by the user employer.

The government expects that the new legislation will allow more effective control and deter undeclared employment. However, employers believe increased bureaucracy will reduce Slovakia’s competitiveness.

New figures from labour inspectorate

The government’s National Labour Inspectorate issued its Annual report on the state of labour protection and activities of state administration bodies in the field of labour inspection in Slovakia in 2015.

The report states that, in 2015, labour inspectors performed checks at 26,847 organisations and found 46,155 weaknesses – 2.3% fewer than in 2014. Improvements were detected mainly in large manufacturing companies.

Alongside these positive results, there was an increase in the number of registered accidents at work. Of the 9,036 registered accidents at work, 57 were fatal (compared with 40 in 2014). The incidence of accidents at work with serious health impacts increased by 6.6% and the number of other registered accidents increased by 7.8%. These increases could be attributed to increased efforts by labour inspectors.

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