The Government Has Deployed a Weapon of Mass Destruction

Increasingly, we can see that the government declares something, but in practice does the exact opposite. There is not almost a single day without some governmental representative claiming that the priority for government is to tackle unemployment and create jobs. And still, at the same time, and in addition to these statements, the same government, and its majority in parliament, is approving measures, which are likely to increase unemployment and destroy the process of creating new jobs.

Expanding collective agreements of a higher level without the approval of a particular employer can become a weapon of mass destruction of job opportunities. Those most responsible for its development, also with the help of international experience, are the trade unions. Its construction and putting into practice was the government’s business. And some larger employers’ associations are planning to use it against their smaller competitors.

The trade unions not only stubbornly insist on expanding the collective agreements, but also ruthlessly enforce them in their naive belief that it will help stop the on-going process of weakening trade unions and decreasing organisation of the employees in the trade unions. The government fulfils its political commitment given to the unions as organizations representing a significant group of voters.

And the companies? Expansion could satisfy especially those which are now providing higher wages and better working conditions than their smaller competitors, forcing other firms to accept the same conditions, to help themselves ‘cope’ with what they call unfair competition. The real outcome, however, would only be releasing staff that the smaller companies could no longer afford to employ.

If the unholy alliance of trade unions, government organisations and some larger firms fulfils these pessimistic expectations, the expansion of higher level collective agreements to degenerate and give rise to the unfair technique of tackling competition will complete the work of destruction in the labour market. We cannot prevent it from happening. But it is our obligation to point out who will benefit from all these reforms.

Translation: Peter Blaha

Jan Oravec