Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Minister Josip Aladrović Says Union Tax Only a Proposal

ZAGREB, 5 May, 2021 - Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy Minister Josip Aladrović on Wednesday denied reports that "a union tax" would be introduced, noting that media had wrongly interpreted the social dialogue on the new labour law and that that was just one of the proposals. 

"I must specifically decline the possibility of introducing a so-called union tax in the form that the media tried to depict it," Aladrović told reporters after a meeting of the inner cabinet.

As for speculation that the government could accept the union proposal for the introduction of such a tax, that is, obligatory payment of a union membership fee even for workers who are not union members, Aladrović said that "the media had misinterpreted the social dialogue."

In the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and talks with unions on the new labour law, the government has decided to strengthen and encourage social dialogue and collective bargaining but that does not mean that all proposals are automatically accepted, he said.

"Certain proposals and solutions have been interpreted as if they are going to go into force immediately, but that is only one negotiating possibility, one of the proposal by workers and nothing more," said the minister.

He added that consultations with unions and employers on the new labour legislation were finished, that agreement had been reached on many issues and that soon a task force would be set up to draw up a new law.

No comment on court ruling in case of gay couple's motion for adoption 

Aladrović would not comment on the Zagreb Administrative Court ruling in the case of life partners Mladen Kožić and Ivo Šegota, stressing that it was a non-final ruling.

The Rainbow Families association of LGBTIQ couples and individuals who have or want to have children said earlier in the day that the court had decided that Kožić and Šegota had been discriminated against when in 2016 they were prevented from undergoing the process of evaluation for adoption.

In 2020 the two men were granted the right to provide foster care.

The association's president, Daniel Martinović, said the court ruled that the two men must not be discriminated against because they are life partners.

The ruling, Martinović said, confirms that life partners in Croatia can adopt.

He noted that the ruling was still not final and expressed a wish for the Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy not to appeal against it, thus respecting a Constitutional Court ruling of 2020 in which the court concluded that everyone should be enabled to participate in the provision of  foster care under equal terms.

"We saw the ruling this week, we are still analysing its effects and legal possibilities," said Aladrović.

He noted that the HDZ party had expressed its political position on the matter through the Family Act and the Foster Care Act.

"We will act in line with decisions of Croatian courts, but this is only a non-final ruling," said the minister.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia Joins Global Appeal "Vaccines For All"

ZAGREB, 6 April, 2021 - The SSSH trade union federation has joined a global union drive to declare COVID-19 vaccines a common good on which private profit should not be made.

The appeal was signed by more than 110 unions, social movements and civil society organisations on the occasion of World Health Day, 7 April.

Huge public funds have been invested in developing the COVID-19 vaccine, so it is a political and moral obligation to ensure vaccination for all of the world population without discrimination on the grounds of income or nationality.

The serious health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic is destroying millions of jobs while making others precarious, which results in an increase in poverty and deprivation and economic and social inequality around the world. The global crisis requires and calls for saving lives and protecting jobs, reads the appeal.

The signatories call for mobilising workers around the globe on World Health Day and demand from governments and agencies to take action based on the "vaccine for all" criterion by guaranteeing universal and urgent access to vaccines for all people around the world.

They seek implementation of international law based on global justice, right to health and prevention of vaccine nationalism.

They also demand programmes and financial resources for the transfer of technologies and knowledge necessary to manufacture the vaccine in all regions and states as well as access to medicines, supplies, programmes and equipment necessary to treat COVID-19 patients.

The signatories to the appeal believe that financial support should be secured for all workers, farmers, family businesses and families who live and work in an informal economy and who have lost their income, in the form of minimum pay, and that a comprehensive emergency investment plan should be implemented for the recovery of millions of lost jobs and job preservation.

For more about health in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Health Sector Unions Refuse Gov't Offer

ZAGREB, May 27, 2020 - Health sector unions on Wednesday did not sign an annex to the collective agreement for public sector employees, expressing disappointment with the government's offer and noting that they had enabled the relaunching of the economy and the reopening of borders and were against the restriction of their rights.

Considering the crisis caused by coronavirus pandemic, the government had proposed that the planned 2% base pay increases in June and October, and the holiday allowance for public and government sector employees be suspended.

"Most public sector and government employees' unions have said that they will accept the government's annex. We are against it. The doctors' union, the nurses' union, the independent union of healthcare and social workers, the Preporod teachers' union, and some of the government employees are against signing such an annex," HLS doctors' union leader Renata Culinovic Caic said.

She added that the unions could not agree to any restriction of previously agreed entitlements.

"I particularly want to warn that the government has completely forgotten about medical workers, it has forgotten that we were the ones who created conditions for the relaunching of the economy, the reopening of borders and for salvaging tourism," she stressed.

The leader of the nurses union, Anica Prasnjak, said that nurses had asked to be rewarded rather than see their rights restricted.

The leader of the SSZSS independent union of healthcare and social welfare workers, Stejpan Topolnjak, said that the government's offer was unacceptable while the leader of the Preporod teachers' union, Zeljko Stipic, said that his union was the only teachers' union to refuse the government's offer.

"There are 11 representative unions of public sector workers, six did not accept the government's offer and five did. According to the law on representativeness, this is a borderline result but sufficient to have the offer accepted. One should consider finally amending the law on representativeness," said Stipic.

He added that the government would pay the holiday bonus to all public and government sector employees as had been the case so far.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Teachers', Health Sector Unions Against Gov't Proposal For Base Pay Rise Suspension

ZAGREB, May 27, 2020 - Unions representing workers in the health and welfare sectors said on Wednesday, ahead of a meeting with government officials, that their members were against a government proposal for the suspension of planned base pay increases of 2% in June and October and of the holiday allowance.

Renata Culinovic Caic of the HLS doctors' union told reporters that it was owing to the work of medical and social workers that the relaunching of tourism and economy after the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic had been made possible and that given the circumstances, doctors could not accept the government's proposal.

The Preporod union of school employees said earlier in the day that most of their members were against the government's proposal while a representative of the NSZVO union of employees in the science and higher education sectors said the union's central body had accepted the government's offer.

Talks between government negotiators and union representatives about the signing of annexes to collective and basic collective agreements for the public sector and government employees continued at the Labour and Pension System Ministry today.

The negotiations will be held separately with representatives of public sector unions, unions of employees in the science and higher education sectors, teachers and high school employees, and unions of government employees.

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