Government and unions reach ‘high level of agreement’ on Sunday work

NEWS 17.05.2021 17:16
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Source: Unsplash/Ilustracija

"Representatives of social partners" said on Monday, after a meeting of the Economic and Social Council (GSV), that there was a "high degree of agreement on the issue of Sunday work," but employers remain sceptical about "administrative restrictions to freedom to work," state agency Hina reported.

The GSV discussed regulating Sunday work through the Trade Act, the action plan for the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, and revised EU guidelines for regional aid. Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic said the government planned to amend the Trade Act because most of the contentious elements concerning Sunday work appeared in trade.

“In future we wish to strengthen collective bargaining, where unions and employers can consensually establish how much the hourly wage is worth on Sunday or on other special days. We expect there to be as many consensually defined relations as possible,” he said.

The press reminded him that the Constitutional Court had rejected previous attempts to ban Sunday work, to which Aladrovic said that the new bill “balanced the contentious constitutional and legal aspects much better.”

“We are confident we will avoid any problems concerning the constitutionality of the law. A balance has been struck between the number of working and non-working Sundays. There have been no major objections in the discussions. I’m confident the law will go into force by year’s end,” Hina quoted Aladrovic as saying.

Asked whether now was the right time to change the law, Aladrovic said the crisis caused by the epidemic was “vanishing” in the “economic sense” and that the next period would bring strong recovery. “We believe the segments within the trade sector will recover and that in the period in which the law will be passed we will no longer have that economic challenge,” he added.

Aladrovic said the 16 working Sundays a year struck a balance and that they were enough to cover the peak tourist season and some holidays.

GSV chairman and union leader, Vilim Ribic, said the three social partners reached a high level of agreement at today’s meeting and that they were “all for solving the problem of Sunday work.”

Croatian Employers Association (HUP) president Mihael Furjan said HUP was generally against any administrative restrictions to freedom to work and conduct a business and that therefore it needed more time to consider the bill.

“Consumption is recovering, the economy is strongly recovering, export in Q1 grew strongly. We are confident that in Q2 already we will generate growth in relation to last year,” he said.

“Business people are very optimistic but believe that at the moment, when we still have not fully come out of the crisis, it’s not smart to adopt measures which can reduce economic growth and activity,” Furjan said.

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