January 14, 2015

LR Government in their program states that „solidarity and social justice based social dialogue is a necessity, no one can be forgotten. Employees and employers have to find a consensus on the basis of the dialogue in order for economy to recover more quickly and that everyone could benefit from results of its growth. Existing jobs and the necessary creation of new jobs is an essential part of reducing unemployment and emigration disastrous suspension clause“

Public speeches of the Government members, new solutions offered in public events of the new social model projects do not meet the stated objectives of the program.

Elements of social model project are presented in separate parts, without public discussions on jointly prepared documents, making it impossible to get an overall picture, to understand the substantive changes and to achieve a balance of interests of social partners.

It seems that the projects of social model are drafted in haste, without taking into account the social partners’ proposals, adulating business, but by no means without taking into account the best EU experience and interests of workers.

The project of the Labour Code is trying to establish the maximum weekly working time to 72 hours, unlimited overtime and reduce them payment for overtime. It really will only reduce the number of jobs, weaken the workforce of Lithuania, will increase the emigration. In the project of the Labour Code it is proposed – to eliminate the coordination of working time with the trade unions, the reduction of notice periods before dismissals and severance of benefits for high seniority employees (the biggest benefit – only 2 months). The proposed unregulated total work time record will force employees to work longer hours for the same pay, practically without paying for overtime work. This will reduce the income of workers and reduce the number of jobs. These proposals are contrary to the proposed Employment Law project.

Document is delivered in fragments and there are ambiguously valued innovations. Labour Code creating scientists believe that when hiring new employee in some cases written contracts are no longer needed – only verbal agreement would be enough. So far, it is difficult to imagine how this would be implemented in practice, when now so many problems arise, even with written contracts. The project does not propose to pay for the shift work, Sundays, etc.

We believe that the Labour Code should also have a principle of fair payment for work that for the same job should be paid the same salary. Each company or organization should be obliged to establish remuneration rules, and then would be clear payment according to the work performed, the qualifications and responsibilities.

This would promote employee motivation, income and consumption growth all together. It is not possible to accept any longer that the average wages in Lithuania are among the three lowest in the EU countries, and the minimum wage is paid to a third of the labour force (average EU 2-3 per cent.).

The proposal of the new Labour Code creators to provide the project to the Parliament of Lithuanian Republic (ignoring the Tripartite Council of the Republic of Lithuania) is unacceptable. This does not match the further declared principles in the project of Labour Code of strengthening of social partnership, social partners are ignored, especially then the Tripartite Council has been working for twenty years.

There are concerns about the proposed pension system reform. Proposal to amend the current practices does not change pension sizes, only imposes even greater confusion and distrust of the state. We lack the proposals on private pension funds improving the performance and control, development of occupational pension funds, the wider deployment of their activities and the role of social partners. Already, there is confusion among employees on the proposed additional social and other taxes.

Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation requires that the newly prepared project documents on social model (the Labour Code, social security, employment, pensions) should be urgently presented for the social partners. Projects of Social model documents should be provided to the Parliament only after decent amount of time for a public discussion and agreement between the social partners.

Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation proposes to take into account the views expressed by the President of the Republic of Lithuania on the possible changes after assessment of complex geopolitical situation in the country and the largest emigration among EU countries.

President of LPSK
Artūras Černiauskas