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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Friday, 08.12.2023, 06:16

Around 1,500 people protest outside Lithuanian Seimas against new social model

BC, Vilnius, 10.09.2015.Print version
Based on preliminary information, nearly 1,500 demonstrators have joined the rally organised by trade unions outside the Lithuanian Parliament. This is the biggest rally since 2008, reports LETA/ELTA.

Protesters arrived with 30 busses from all across Lithuania. They were carrying banners opposing the social model proposed by the Government. Lithuanians are supported by representatives from Latvia, Germany and the Nordic countries.


Numerous police forces are protecting the territory around the Parliament, which is surrounded by a protective fence. After delivering speeches, demonstrators will walk towards the Government building, to hand in the social model to the Cabinet of Ministers.


Protesters oppose the dismissal with 3-day notice, reduction of wages and severance payment as well as notice periods, introduction of 60-hour working week, fixed-term employment contracts for permanent work, prolongation of working experience by 5 years before being able to retire, reduction of guarantees for working parents and restriction of activities of trade unions.


Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius urges the Lithuanian Parliament to support the new social model which, according to him, will be historically significant.


Greeting the Seimas on the commencement of its autumn session, the prime minister stated that the social model is aimed to make Lithuania more competitive, allow Lithuanians to earn more and be entitled to greater social guarantees. According to Butkevicius, besides the new social model – more flexible labour relations that will enable business expansion – the Government commits to raise the minimum monthly wage by EUR 25 to EUR 350 from the beginning of 2016.


The prime minister claimed that labour relations in Lithuania are stuck in the past. He reminded MPs that Lithuania is placed 124th in the World Economic Forum's competitiveness ranking.


"During our discussions with the Estonian prime minister, he mentioned on several occasions that rapid reduction of unemployment in Estonia was directly related to the shift to new labour relations," said Butkevicius.


Butkevicius ensured that he is on the same team with trade unions protecting people's right to employment and social guarantees.


According to the prime minister, a package of nearly 40 laws is socially oriented and allows to implement what was promised to voters by the 16th Government – to care not only for the employed but those who wish to work.


"We must create more favourable environment for new jobs, create preconditions to raise wages and pensions, attract investors, strengthen Lithuania's economic competitiveness. Jobs are created by businesses and investors – European countries, not to mention the Baltic region, are competing for their attention. Outdated Code, which no longer meets the idea of modern labour relations is Lithuania's weak spot. Thus we have resolved to assume responsibility to reform the area fundamentally. We have submitted to the Seimas a complex document regulating more flexible labour relations, reliable social guarantees, more effective social security of the unemployed and more effective control of employers so that there is no abuse. Therefore the trade unions would become a more influential social partner striving for better working conditions," said Butkevicius.


According to the head of Government, the reformed State Social Insurance system, first of all the pension system, would allow to index pensions regularly based on objective economic criteria. Thus they would grow not before elections but would be connected to growth of wages.

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