Bakers: Minimum Wage Increase to Hit Food Sector’s Stability

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illustration picture (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, October 3 (TASR) – Bakers view the minimum wage increase from €520 to €580 per month approved by the Government on Wednesday (October 2) as a reckless intervention in the stability of the food sector, the Slovak Association of Bakers, Pastry Cooks and Pasta-makers (SZCPP) stated on Thursday.

According to bakers, the regulation doesn’t reflect the situation in the food sector and has been approved without any calculation of the impacts on business.

They stated that despite the sector’s economic instability, they’ve had to bear repeated and substantial increases in salary costs over the past two years without being able to compensate themselves for this with higher prices.

“Since 2018, bakers have had to cope with critical minimum wage growth from €480 to €520 and then face another significant increase in salary costs in the form of the introduction of new bonuses or increases in them from May 2018 up to now. Bakers’ costs will thus increase four times in the period between January 1, 2019 and January 1, 2020. It’s simply impossible to cope with such an intense burden in the form of constant increases in salary costs,” SZCPP head Tatiana Lopuchova told TASR.

Bakers have repeatedly asked the prime minister for a face-to-face meeting, proposing compensatory measures in the form of easing the legislative impacts of the social package, but they’ve received no response. “We’re extremely disappointed that despite our efforts and attempts at dialogue, the prime minister evidently isn’t interested in serious problems in the food sector,” stated Lopuchova.

Slovak bakers stress that their products are among the few that can’t undergo a shift from production at bonus-exposed times to standard working hours. “If consumers want fresh buns and rolls on the table every day, bakers must produce them at night, even at weekends and on public holidays, thereby bearing the full weight of introduced bonuses without the possibility of any compensation,” stated Lopuchova.