Milanović: Government’s Proposal on Sunday Work an Election Gimmick

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Edina Zuko
Edina Zuko

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković announced amendments to the Commerce Act on Thursday, under which the number of Sunday shopping days would be limited to 16 a year. He said that the move was not contrary to the government’s desire for greater employment and higher growth, stressing the need to balance work and family life.

Answering questions from the press during a visit to the eastern city of Đakovo, Milanović said that the government’s proposal was insincere. “It’s always the same election gimmick by the government. They don’t need it. Again, it won’t change anything,” the President said.

“People work from morning to night, and they don’t have time to go shopping” except on Sundays, he said, noting that he personally would prefer if shopping centers were closed on Sundays, “but that is not about work.” He said that another problem was that “we would be telling people when they can go to the shops.” 

Milanović said that he personally does not go shopping on Sundays but that he is aware that most people “do not have this comfort.”

Asked to comment on the union’s proposal for workers who are not union members to be taxed, Milanović said that he generally supported the work of the unions, particularly those in private companies.

“However, this has become very difficult because of atomization. People used to work in large companies, and it was relatively easy to organize them, while that is more difficult today. This is now reduced to public-sector unions in which fewer people work because most work in the private sector. If the unions are weak, the employers will trample them. The state is still the most decent employer,” Milanović said, reiterating that “in the end, it all boils down to the trade unions in the public sector, state administration, and hospitals.”

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