The Slovenia Times

Talks on collective agreement in chemical industries break down

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The KNG head, Bogdan Ledinek, said that five years since the cancellation of the last agreement the talks had fallen through due to disagreement on two issues - the norms and pay brackets.

"This is despite the fact that we have prepared a compromise proposal which did not set the pay brackets but merely envisaged a job classification based on the level of difficulty," he said.

While signals from the main employers indicated they would be willing to accept such a solution, a "Ljubljana-based foreign-owned pharmaceutical company" blocked the agreement, he said without specifying.

Ledinek and the head of the employees' negotiating team, Jo┼że Bovhan, stressed at today's press conference that they had demanded no more than what the previous bargaining agreement envisaged.

"We only wanted to have it in writing how much a worker must do and at what price," Ledinek said, noting that all companies paid their staff much more than was determined in the previous agreement.

He said the company whose victim were now the employers' association, the chamber of commerce and industry and workers used a foreign pay system.

"They do not have a pay system as determined in the collective bargaining agreement. They changed it while the agreement was still valid, based on an agreement with their in-house trade union, but officially they were breaking the rules for ten years," he said.

The KNG, although open for dialogue, has now decided to step up pressure and does not exclude the possibility of a strike. It presented a new proposal for the collective bargaining agreement with "much higher" demands and a "different pay model."

Although the trade union did not name the company which had allegedly blocked the new agreement, it could be recognised as Lek, which is owned by Novartis.

Lek confirmed for the STA that its representatives had taken part in the talks and regretted the talks had broken down.

"In the absence of such an agreement, we as an employer would like a new collective bargaining agreement to be reached," Lek said in a written statement.

The company said the negotiating group had managed to come to a solution acceptable for both workers and employers, with only two articles still partly open.

Regret that the unions quit the talks was expressed also by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), which said the chemical industry was the only industry without a collective bargaining agreement.

The GZS's Chemical Industry Association said that the collective bargaining agreement would cover almost 30,000 workers in almost 800 companies.

It urged dialogue on the basis of what had already been agreed with a view to "signing the collective bargaining agreement as soon as possible".

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