KOVO Unionists: We Don’t Want to Be Cheap Labour Force

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OZ KOVO trade union chair Emil Machyna, left (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, June 26 (TASR) – Unionists want to regain back for the people the certainties, which have been taken away by the incumbent Government, KOVO Labour Unions Council head Emil Machyna stated at a public protest held in Bratislava on Saturday.

According to Machyna, the unionists refuse to serve as a cheap labour force or “economic colony”, but rather want to be treated as partners and honest employees.

The unionists protested against the increase in minimum wage that had grown slower against the original projections. “Groups of employees were deprived of €33 monthly, which amounts to €395 in a year,” said OZ KOVO vice-chair Monika Benedekova, stressing that Slovakia has the seventh lowest minimum wage in the EU.

Another reason for the protest was the failure to exempt the thirteenth and fourteenth salaries from social levies, the freezing of minimum pensions and scrapping of thirteenth pension.

The unionists also don’t take kindly to changes in representation in tripartite meetings, where employees are no longer representated solely by the Confederation of Labour Unions but also by more minority union organisations.

About 1,500 people attended the protest, which began in front of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family and later moved to the SNP Square in Bratislava. The protest was supported also by opposition political parties on social networks.

In its response, the ministry stated that it respects the right of employees to protest, but views this particular protest march as a political event designed to drum up support for Smer-SD party. “If OZ KOVO chair Emil Machyna had had a genuine interest in the standing of the employees in Slovakia, he would have asked for a meeting at the labour ministry. He has never done so, however. The tripartite is fully functional and social partners slated to meet on Monday, June 28,” claimed the ministry.