Bargaining and Social Dialogue at the Public Sector (BARSOP) Country Study: Slovakia
This report examines the evolution and role of industrial relations in the public sector in Slovakia since 2000 and studies three sub-sectors of the public sector: primary education, hospitals and a part of local government, childcare facilities. The report uses document and data analysis, semi-structured interviews with policy makers at national level and social partners’ representatives (at national, sector and local levels), interview transcripts, analyses and findings of authors’ earlier projects, which also focused on industrial relations in public sector. Unlike in other countries, the crisis in Slovakia did not yield significant employment cuts, however, austerity measures concentrated on wage freezes across various domains of the public sector. The crisis indirectly affected industrial relations and working conditions in Slovakia, including the public sector, which has witnessed heightened mobilization via the new actors that engaged in new strategies and became active via protests, petitions and demonstrations. This means that the strategies for gaining influence shifted from established bargaining channels to the public space. Despite that, multi-employer and single-employer collective bargaining structures remained stable. Increasing regulation of working conditions via legislative solutions became the other trend. This paper argues that a focus on legislative solutions together with the tendency of unions to seek political support by political parties in the government undermines the role of collective bargaining. Across all studied subsectors, social partners actively voiced their criticisms on reform proposals as well as proposed legislative changes, which in most cases concerned wage regulations. Nevertheless, a direct relationship between reform efforts and changes in the quality of provided public services is difficult to establish.
Supported by the European Commission, Industrial Relations and Social Dialogue program (VS/2016/0107)