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EPSU: Lithuanian Government promoted labor law reform is a straight path to poverty and insecurity

Published: Thursday, 08 September 2016

On September 8, EPSU (European Public Services Union) has sent a letter to  the Parliament Speaker Loreta Graužinienė and all the Parliament groups which implies support to Lithuanian trade unions on the eve of protest action which will be held on September 10, near the Parliament building.

The letter also promts the parliamentarians to support the President's veto on the new Lithuanian Labour Code which was speedily passed on the end of June 2016.

The text of the EPSU support letter is given below: 

Dear Member of the Seimas,

We have been following the discussions over the reform of the Lithuanian Labour Code. The government announced it would seek changes in autumn last year. Workers and their unions, as well as many young workers have been protesting the changes. We agree with our colleagues of the Lithuanian unions. The changes proposed will not improve the situation of workers and young people. The changes proposed are all about more flexibility for the employer and less security and weaker protection for workers.

The new Code will make it easier and cheaper for employers to dismiss employees. Rules on fixed-term work and working time will also be relaxed. It is no surprise that the union campaign slogan has been “No to slavery at work”. Lithuanian youth organisations have been supporting the campaign as young workers will suffer particularly from more precarious employment conditions. The evidence is clear that these changes undermine basic rights for workers and trade unions. There is further no evidence that they contribute to the kind of improved economic performance claimed by the Lithuanian government. In fact, by creating much more precarious employment conditions they will undermine the economic recovery. Such reforms do not fundamentally improve the strength of the Lithuanian economy. These proposed reforms do create more inequality. ILO and OECD have published research on the negative impact of growing inequality. They throw Lithuanian workers and people in a downward spiral. Because what will Lithuania do if other countries follow a similar path. Ultimately it is the strategy of poverty wages and precariousness.

There is an alternative path of investment in education and skills, decent pay and conditions, strong bargaining rights, well performing public infrastructures as well as quality public services. This is a strategy that will fundamentally change the economy and improve its sustainability.

We agree with the Lithuanian President Ms Dalia Grybauskaitė  who vetoed the legislation. It makes the situation for workers and young people worse. We ask you to follow the workers that are protesting and the President. Please reject the proposals for amendments and enter into a profound dialogue with the unions to strengthen the economy, create jobs and improve working and living conditions for the people of Lithuania.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Jan Willem Goudriaan

EPSU General Secretary