New confederation wants to return to original meaning of trade unions

Five trade unions are launching a new umbrella organization.

Five trade union organisations have founded a new trade union confederation called Spoločné Odbory Slovenska or the Joint Trade Unions of Slovakia in English (SOS). They signed the memorandum on October 24.

Their goal is to provide mutual support, coordination and assistance in protecting salaries and the occupational and social interests of employees. They want to be an alternative in representing employees in non-functioning situations.

So far, the only organisation sheltering trade unions in Slovakia is the Confederation of Trade Union Organisations (KOZ), a successor of the communist-era trade unions’ confederation.

“Slovakia needs real trade unions,” said head of the New Police Trade Union Vojtech Klučarovský, as cited by the TASR newswire. “It needs trade unions that will return to their original roots; trade unions that won’t act as travel agencies, redistributors of Christmas packages or obedient tools of political parties.”

Apart from the New Police Trade Union, SOS’s founding members are the Modern Trade Union AIOS, the Modern Trade Union Volkswagen, the Nurses and Midwives Trade Union and the New School Trade Union. They underline that the confederation is apolitical and independent.

SOS’s lawyer Marek Švec explained that the founding of the confederation was motivated by efforts to protect employees, as the unions aren’t satisfied with the way in which employees are represented. He added that the advantage of the new confederation is that it is not burdened by the past.

They claim that they do not want to engage in competition with KOZ, just to act as its counterbalance in defending employees’ rights, said Monika Kavecká, head of the Nurses and Midwives Trade Union.