The Frente Comum group of public service unions has criticised the government for failing to respect existing collective bargaining arrangements in the public sector. The government has put forward reforms to public sector pensions without going through the proper procedure for consultation. Instead of negotiating directly with public sector unions the government will use a social dialogue forum that includes private sector employers. The Frente Comum unions are concerned about the impact of the proposed pension reforms which could reduce rights for workers to retire from 60 with 40 years' service, for example.
Unions criticise government for undermining collective bargaining
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Trade unions have reacted angrily to the decision by the government to curtail debate over pension reforms by using a constitutional mechanism to pass legislation by ordonnance rather than the normal parliamentary process. Some unions organised demonstrations across the country at short notice to underline their continuing opposition to the reforms. Others were concerned about the method used to close down debate when there are still major issues still to be resolved, particularly in relation to pension for workers in arduous occupations.
Unions from all sectors joined a national demonstration in Zagreb on 20 October in protest against changes to the pensions system, including an increase in pension age to 67. Unions are calling for a pension age of 65 and to retain rules on early retirement including the possibility of retiring at 60 with 41 years of contributions. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.