Lithuania’s new labour code triggers revolt in ruling Social Democratic Party

Student and union protesters in Vilnius
DELFI (V. Deveikytės nuotr.)

“A group of members do not like the fact that there is no normal left-wing party in Lithuania,” said Algirdas Pieniuta, vice-chairman of the LSDP Vilnius branch.

He said that around 20 members of the Vilnius branch had registered to take part in the protest action.

Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius, the LSDP leader, criticized the protest action by the capital’s Social Democrats as an act of populism.

“There are people who like to engage in populism in a democratic party and perhaps want to make themselves noticed in the run-up to the Seimas elections,” he said.

Meanwhile, around 50 young people and members of trade unions on Monday resumed their protest against the new Labor Code in front of the government building in Vilnius.

The prime minister said on Monday that the Labour Code, passed by the Seimas last week to liberalise labor relations, was necessary to maintain the competitiveness of Lithuania’s economy. Critics say that the new code is beneficial only to employers.

The Labour Code simplifies dismissal procedures, reduces severance payments, increases the number of permissible overtime hours, shortens vacation time and introduces a wider range of labour contracts.

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