UNI Europa denounces union-busting in Slovakian care home


UNI Europa denounces an attack on care workers in Slovakia who face retaliation for blowing the whistle on patient abuse and organising their workplace.

UNI Europa denounces union-busting in Slovakian care home

UNI Europa denounces attacks on the rights of long-term care workers in Slovakia who face retaliation – even unjust firing – after they blew the whistle on patient abuse and organised their workplace. The fired workers at the care home ‘CSS – DOMOV JAVORINA’ in Trenčín region, Slovakia, should be reinstated and management should stop all forms of union-busting.

In cooperation with UNI Care, the Slovak union uniJA organised of workers in the home since organising began in March 2023. With the support of its Austrian sister union and UNI affiliate GPA, they braved multiple anti-union efforts by the employer.

Now, after they exposed abusive conditions, malpractice and cover-ups, the facility’s management fired four trade union representatives. However, making use of European legislation transposed into Slovak law, the union won official whistleblower status for the workers, offering them protection.

Patient abuse exposed

The workers exposed the abusive treatment of a man in wheelchair during the Covid-19 pandemic, which ultimately led to him getting raped in a prison hospital. National media like TV Markíza reported on the case. This was just one in a series of malpractices at the facility. A Ministry of Social Affairs investigation confirmed there are multiple risks to health and life of patients, including forcing staff without adequate training to administer medication. The Ombudsman for people with physical disabilities found 20 types of misconduct, 13 of which have to be addressed immediately.

UNI Europa denounces the retaliation workers and trade unionists. They are organising and speaking up out of care for the health and life of their patients. We demand an immediate end to attacks on workers’ fundamental rights – and a full investigation into the malpractices at the home.

Oliver Roethig, UNI Europa Regional Secretary said: “The brave workers at ‘CSS – DOMOV JAVORINA’ have done nothing more than their moral duty by speaking up about patient abuse in their workplace. We demand that management stops retaliating against them and all forms of union-busting.”

This is an egregious example of union-busting. To prevent such cases from happening in the future, state authorities need to treat union-busting as a crime under criminal law. In its EU election manifesto, UNI Europa therefore calls for “proper enforcement and prosecution of managers for wage theft and union-busting. While changing criminal law is a matter for member states, European-level coordination will maximise deterrence of such criminal behaviour.”

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