Croatian workers are overworked because they work overtime and their working hours are among the longest, the director of the Croatian Institute for Health Protection and Safety at Work, Marija Zavalic, said on Wednesday, adding that working hours should be reduced to six hours a day, which has already been introduced in some countries because it has proven to be equally efficient, resulting also in fewer injuries at work and workers retiring at a later age.
That way we would have more people employed and young people would have the opportunity to live a decent life, Zavalic told the conference "Healthy Job for Every Age Group" organised by the SSSH trade union federation.
Only a healthy worker can be productive and in order to ensure that, it is necessary to act preventively, the conference heard.
Zavalic warned that according to the current situation, considering existing labour conditions, workers often "experience burnout at the age of 50."
The chairman of the parliamentary Labour, Retirement System and Social Partnership Committee, Mirando Mrsic, said that the proposed amendments and reforms to the Labour Act were a direct blow to workers.
When someone aged 50 loses their job, he said, it is hard to find a new job and they most often end up on the dole, receive an allowance for a short period and then become a welfare case because they cannot go into early retirement until they turn 62 and then they are penalised for retiring early. The government is listening more to employers than to workers, Mrsic said, adding that there was no need for restricting workers' rights.
He claimed that the pension insurance system, with the current conditions, was sustainable if new jobs were created.
Ana Sijakovic of the Croatian Institute for Health Protection and Safety at Work warned that professional illnesses were the main cause of work-related deaths. Professional illnesses most often occur among people 60 years of age or more (47%). Men are more susceptible to professional illnesses (69%).