Lithuanian PM seeks opposition support to overturn presidential veto on Labour Code

Algirdas Butkevičius
DELFI / Domantas Pipas

On Monday, Butkevicius himself leaked the information about the meeting with the opposition leader Andrius Kubilius, the first tete-a-tete over the past four years.

Kubilius, the leader of the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, said he was aware that the ruling parties were five votes short of overturning it due to opposition among the Social Democrats.

“The prime minister had indeed met with the opposition leader for lunch, they discussed the Labour Code, heard his opinion, stated his opinion and the opinion of the ruling party about the Labor Code. As Kubilius has already stated his opinion that the Labor Code is indeed necessary, the prime minister expects support from the opposition, when the issue of approving or overruling the presidential veto is addressed at the Seimas,” said the prime minister’s spokeswoman Evelina Butkute-Lazdauskiene.

It has not yet been decided whether the parliament would call an extraordinary parliamentary session in connection to the Labuor Code or discuss it at the next session due to start on Sept. 10.
However, the extraordinary session would ony be called “definitely after the prime minister’s vacation, possibly in the second half of August,” said Butkute-Lazdauskiene.

The opposition leader confirmed that the prime minister had indeed asked for the Conservatives’ support.

Kubilius said he had stated his opinion, although he objects some major changes proposed by the president, overruling the veto “would be a plan difficult to translate into reality,” and the prime minister’s “stance was” that the veto needed to be overruled.

“As far as I understand, the ruling bloc is short of votes to overrule the veto. That is my understanding from the meeting. I could not guarantee any major support to the overruling move, I stated our stance (…) of finding a compromise decision,” Kubilius said.

After six months of discussions, the parliament adopted the new Labour Code in early July, however, President Dalia Grybauskaite last week vetoed the law as an insufficient guarantee of employee rights. Grybauskaite suggested scrapping the so-called zero-hour employment contracts, tighter control of fixed-term contracts for remote work and higher severance pay.

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