Unions Against Employers’ Demand for Amending of Labour Act

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, April 27, 2020 – Unionists on Monday sharply objected to employers’ demands for fast-track change of the Labour Act and appealed for support from the government while employers responded saying the amendments are necessary to regulate the “grey zone” in the economy during the coronavirus epidemic.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of the Economic and Social Council (GSV), which was convened at the request of the unions, union leader, Krešimir Sever told reporters that the meeting was convened to discuss the easing of the lockdown introduced during the coronavirus epidemic.

Sever added that it was more than certain that due to the vociferous demands by employers the Labour Act would also be on the agenda. However, he announced, the unions will “instantaneously close that topic.”

“There is no way what they are calling for to pass because they have called for this previously and negotiated with the government when they proposed that the Labour Act be put out of force, as well as collective agreements, labour regulations…,” he said.

“Now they are trying again,” he claimed and said that employers are trying to disguise their attempts with the story of working from home even though small, and micro employers are already having problems and laying off workers and that they should be allowed to do so without any explanation.

He recalled that this had been in fact one of the proposals put forward by the SDP-led government of Prime Minister Zoran Milanović and that the unions had rejected that idea and would do so again this time.

“Their goal with which they are going against workers needs to be cut in the bud because many of them have used various opportunities to pressure the government. They are getting whatever they have asked and even more. It’s time for the government to stand on side with unions, if not – the election will,” Sever said.

President of the Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia Mladen Novosel said that they had called for today’s meeting of the GSV in order to be informed of the implementation of the government measures.

It is important for the government to include social partners, particularly the unions, when discussing its measures.

The head of the Croatian Employers’ Association (HUP) Davor Majetić said that he would present the issue of the Labour Act and see what the response will be.

Addressing reporters, he said that two issues need to be resolved urgently.

“We know that during the crisis employers have less possibility to pay wages based on working contracts in many fields,” he said and advocated a legislative framework so employers can alter wages without having to negotiate each individual working contract.

“Where unions exist that is easier but where there isn’t a union, you have no one to negotiate with and that needs to be simplified,” Majetić explained.

The other issue related to the Labour Act is the need to resolve the issue of working from home, “because when the corona crisis ends, I believe that a great number of people will choose the option of at least temporarily working from home. Clear conditions, working hours, breaks need to be defined and currently that is not the case and we are in some sort of ‘grey zone,'” said Majetić.

More economy news can be found in the Business section.


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