The Slovenia Times

Rail workers on strike


The strike started at 10 AM at the Zalog marshalling yard on the outskirts of Ljubljana, one of the biggest such facilities on the national rail network, and featured freight train drivers and shunters (persons who move the trains between yards).

The industrial action was restricted to the single yard and did not cause major disruptions. Union head Albert Pavlič said that the action had been planned so as to cause the least disruptions.

The Trade Union of Railway Workers of Slovenia, whose 2,000-plus members make it the largest among several unions at Slovenske Železnice, demands a 10% higher base pay and changes to the pay system.

They demand equal treatment and equal pay for the same work, pointing out that some staff are stretched so thin that they have no time to take breaks during the workday or take a holiday.

Slovenske Železnice CEO Dušan Mes said that a pay rise was out of the question in his response to today's strike. He said that the gross average pay at the company had increased by 20% since 2012 and that the employees received several bonuses, among other things.

The union hopes to continue talks with the management and unless an agreement is found, it will also hold strikes between 21 June and 3 July.

While Pavlič's trade union insists on its demands, nine other unions, representing two-thirds of the company's employees, signed collective bargaining agreement annex today.

The annex introduces several changes, among them an years-of-service bonus and financial aid to those who became disabled on the job and now received low disability pensions, trade unionist Zdenko Lorber said after the contract was signed.

Pavlič said that the changes signed today were agreed upon already a year ago and that his trade union agreed with them as well.

He was very critical of the other trade unions, calling them bourgeois, and saying they forgot to fight for the workers and were working together with the management.

The changes also include a stipulation under which Pavlič would get a pay cut. He was recently sacked as the workers' representative in the company's board but his salary had remained the same.

He said today that he did not feel comfortable receiving the high salary after he was no longer on the board and that he donated half of his salaries to the strike fund.

An additional set of changes is still in the works and is to be signed by September.


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