Business representative destroyed Farmer proposal to raise wages

Sputnik / Scanpix

In the Government’s instrument plan there is a point in which the Government is committed to reach a national agreement on wages up to this year’s third quarter, reported.

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis to this question has said: “I think it should include business, as a major employer, policy makers, as decision-makers that are able to influence the business climate, investments, decrease the pay of labour and create jobs. And the third side are the most important social partners – representatives of the employees. It is more of a social commitment. It shows the will of all: politicians and business representatives, and trade unions, whether we are capable to negotiate, and if we see the same strategic goal.”

President Dalia Grybauskaitė said that the governing people promised to sign an agreement with employers to increase the wages, which is impossible because there are no instruments and the promises are empty.

Social Democratic Party representatives, the opposition representatives and employers, who were ready to start for the dialogue, even the leader of the trade unions has the same opinion.

But the Farmers Green stay with their opinion that the agreement is necessary for the Labour Code to enter into force. The Farmers changed their minds after the PM expressed such ambitions – to vote for the Labour Code, but in return, employers must sign an agreement.

Tomas Tomilinas the representative of the ruling Farmers and Greens Union and the vice-chairman of the Parliament of Social Affairs and Labour Committee, stated that the Labour Code that is written at the request of the business, states that the Government will comply with the commitments to the business representatives – the Labour Code will be adopted by the Parliament and will come into effect in July. However, these businesses will be required to sign a tripartite agreement with the Government and trade unions, and commit to raise the wages.

“The business need a liberal Labour Code, the public as well, the state needs bigger salaries. This is a normal exchange and a normal conversation.”, – said T. Tomilinas.

Social Security and Labour Minister Linas Kukuraitis says that there is only one and a half per cent of enterprises that have collective agreements with employees. Allegedly they promote the tripartite agreement between the Government, employers and trade union representatives. He said that he hopes that the tripartite agreement will be effective.

“I see it a as a symbolic step that promotes agreement in various levels. Our Ministry is responsible for the promotion of a social dialogue “, – said L. Kukuraitis.

Algirdas Sysas, the representative of the ruling coalition partner Social Democratic and the chairman of Social Affairs and Labour Committee has a different view: the salaries will not be increase because of the agreement.

In reality, to achieve this the Government itself need to increase the pay in the public sector, which was cut during difficult times. Then the business would be forced to do the same. The dialogue between employers and employees can become reality if the representation of employees in company boards happened.

Then they could normally represent the employees and negotiate salaries and other social benefits. But after the tripartite talks were postponed, I think that is can disappear from public and municipal institutions”, – said A. Sysas.

Ingrida Šimonytė, member of the Homeland Union, an agreement like this cannot force employers to raise wages. For Farmers Greens, this agreement is required to mask the failure of negotiations between representatives of employers and trade unions, and only by slight changes in the Labour Code. Although they promised to protect workers but later even postponed the Code entering into force.

“This agreement is declarative because this is in accordance to the Government’s macroeconomic prognosis that is the average growth of wages. Here the business doesn’t have many commitments, and it’s just a way for the Government to save themselves, “- said I. Šimonytė.

Liberal Movement fractions leader Eugenijus Gentvilas called this just a smokescreen, which doesn’t ensure the raise of pay.

“We need to show that something is being done, that the Governments would do something, they say – we reached an agreement. Trade unions and employers are aware that the economy will grow, wages will rise and let’s pretend that’s what will happen and that no one has to do anything. You know the philosophy of a lazy person is what I call a smokescreen “, – said E. Gentvilas.

Artūras Černiauskas, the chairman of Trade Unions Confederation, argues that agreements between employers and employees could lead to wage increases. He calls the agreement more for morals, but it does not ensure wage raises. He admits that after the Labour Code enters into force, the amendments made in the Tripartite Council are cosmetic. According to him, during the negotiations, the Government warned that if any provisions are not agreed in the Tripartite Council, the old ones will remain and employers’ representatives were not interested in changing them.

“When we are talking about an agreement at a national level, which is more declarative in nature, it not obligatory and we had numerous similar agreements. But there is little hoe that in we agreed and the wages will rise in half a year and all of us will be happy”, – doubted A. Černiauskas.

Rimantas Šidlauskas, a representative of Commerce, Industry and Crafts, said that this arrangement is populist. Salaries depend on the state of the economy and no employers’ association can take up the responsibility and decide whether to increase the wages in the companies.

“Who can force brewers to raise wages when they are forced to reduce staff because we increased the taxes in the region and the number of people who are buying products abroad is only increasing. There are many other examples, such as state control over the import of Belarusian cement. Akmenė is operating at loss, over six hundred people. Who will force Akmene cement to increase wages? No one. How can I take the commitment that they will increase the salaries? Only owner of the company and the shareholders can do that. My colleagues, who are doing this and the claim that they could manage to do it by signing something – this is just populism and politics “, – said R. Šidlauskas.

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