Labour Minister Accuses Unions of Conspiring with Opposition

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, May 8, 2019 – Labour Minister Marko Pavić said on Wednesday that he would not step down despite the unions’ demand to that effect, accusing the unions of conspiring with the opposition ahead of European elections in order to weaken the government’s influence.

The leaders of three trade union federations on Tuesday demanded Pavić’s resignation, saying that the minister had deceived the public about the amount of taxpayers’ money spent on a campaign against the unions’ referendum initiative “67 is too much”.

The three unions – SSSH, NHS and MHS – are collecting signatures until May 11 for their petition for a referendum against raising the statutory retirement age to 67.

“I will not resign, the unions are quite nervous but the government knows what it is doing, it is informing citizens responsibly,” Pavić said in an interview with Croatian Radio.

He said that in the course of the day his ministry would forward to the Constitutional Court a report on the financing of videos on the comprehensive pension reform, adding that it was evident from Constitutional Court President Miroslav Šeparović’s statements that it was legitimate for the government to conduct an informative campaign simultaneously with the union-led signature-collection drive so that it could warn citizens of the consequences of union proposals.

The minister added that there was no other way for the ministry to finance the informative campaign but with public money.

Pavić also accused the unions of having conspired with the opposition ahead of EU elections. “We have been saying that the statutory retirement age of 67 was not introduced by the current government but by the SDP government. That’s why I’m surprised at the opposition’s support for the union initiative. I understand the unions’ nervousness as their having become a participant in EU elections. I believe that people understand that the union initiative is politically motivated… and that the unions are not credible. This is not about the pension reform, this is an attempt to weaken the government’s influence ahead of EU elections,” Pavić said.

More news about the referendum campaign can be found in the Politics section.


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