Is Lithuania's labour market reform too unsocial?
Lithuania's parliament passed new labour legislation on Wednesday, overruling the veto of the country's conservative president Dalia Grybauskaitė. The reform foresees longer working hours and fewer vacation days for employees as well as shorter notice periods. The criticism of the reform is exaggerated, some commentators write. Others take a critical view of the ruling Social Democrats' conduct on the issue.
Exaggerated horror scenarios
Criticism of the new labour laws that are to come into effect next year is completely disproportionate, the business daily Verslo žinios comments:
“So many existential fears and doubts are being formulated in the public sphere that you would think the new labour code reform was a weapon of mass destruction. As of January 1 all employers will go mad and fire their employees en masse. Employees will leave the country in droves or commit suicide. This is the macabre scenario being painted for the public, even though many honest businessmen and women have said there is no reason to fear a wave of dismissals because specialists are lacking in all areas. Do we need a law that stipulates that everyone will keep their job until they reach the age of retirement, regardless of whether they are efficient or not? … Sadly that appears to be the case in many government authorities.”
Social Democrats score own goal
With this vote the ruling Social Democratic Party, which is leading the polls in the run-up to the general election on October 9, is making a big mistake, the web portal Delfi predicts:
“For some voters on the left the Social Democrats now look like the Christian Democrats would look for conservative voters if they voted for gay marriage and adoption rights for gay couples. … If the Social Democrats think they have beaten the president with this move they are very mistaken. They have done her an even bigger favour with the vote than with all the other scandals. The presidency has nothing against the Social Democrats losing votes and the popularity of Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius sinking in the polls. The president wants a new government after the election - and in particular a new prime minister.”