This paper aims to examine how the Slovak Labour Code has evolved as a result of the “velvet revolution” which saw Czechoslovakia begin the transition from a “command” to a “market economy, the establishment of a separate Czech Republic and a Slovak Republic and Slovakia's accession to membership of the European Union.
The paper attempts to provide an empirical contribution to the understanding of how the process of industrial relations is evolving in the new democracies of Eastern and Central Europe in the post‐communist period.
The paper highlights how the detailed codification of trade union rights of the communist era have been drastically reformed in light of the Slovak Republic adopting a market economy and adopting the EU's social acquis communautaire. The governments desire to liberalise and encourage a more flexible labour market has seen many of the old powers of the trade unions transferred to other forms of employee representation such as works councils and works trustees.
The author has described the strategy of the government to marginalise trade unions by introducing works councils and transferring functions to them, which had previously been performed by the trade unions.
The paper provide an interesting insight into how “players” in the “employee relations game” perceive the re‐codification of the Slovak Labour Code. There seems to be a mixed response to the changes, for whilst the union claims that it is able to boast a 95 per cent success rate in winning cases in the courts arising out of the rights and protections provided for employees in the Labour Code, and not withstanding the very low incidence of industrial action, the paper notes with some irony that there is significant school of opinion amongst Slovak trade unionists that the price that they pay for all of this is some of the lowest wages in the region.
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