The Slovenia Times

Strike-averting agreement with three trade unions reached


The deal with the SVIZ teachers' union, the Trade Union of Healthcare and Social Care and the Trade Union of Healthcare Workers means that the strikes scheduled for early December will not happen, the government's chief negotiator Peter Pogačar announced.

"This was the goal the government had worked for the entire time," he said of the strikes announced by the SVIZ for 5 and 6 December and by the other two unions for 5 December.

The agreement for the entire public sector, unofficially worth around EUR 300m, is to be initialled on Wednesday, but it could hit a snag as every deal with regards to the collective bargaining agreement for the public sector requires a quorum to become valid.

But talks with another group of public sector trade unions, led by Jakob Počivavšek, took a turn for the worse today, with the workers' side walking out of the talks a mere hour after the start.

Počivavšek said their move was motivated by the government's unwillingness to discuss a key matter for them, the issue of tackling "undermined [wage] ratios caused by potential exceptions stemming from government deals with certain trade unions".

The government has lent an ear to the SVIZ and the healthcare and social care trade unions and agreed to higher wages for the most demanding jobs in education and health and social care in addition to a general raise in wages.

But, according to Pogačar, Počivavšek's group now demands that they log additional jobs within the next year.

It is unclear how many there would be and what that would mean for the pay bill, the chief government negotiator said.

Meanwhile, the head of the Healthcare and Social Care Trade Union, Zvonko Vukadinovič, said that the necessary quorum for the deal to be approved could be reached in two ways - with the required share of trade unions that sign it, or with the share of membership the trade unions that sign it represent.

And the KSJS public sector trade union confederation, to whihc the three unions that made the deal belong, has enough members for the deal to be valid.

Nevertheless, they will invite other trade unions from healthcare and social care to sign the deal, which significantly improves the situation in the branches.

In addition to pay rises, the deal includes raising some bonuses for night and holiday work as well as a higher holiday allowance for those who get the minimum or lower wage. These would get an additional EUR 200 this year.

Nevertheless, Pogačar expressed hope in the afternoon that Počivavšek's group would listen to the government's reasons as well as to the other trade unions.

"This way we can ensure that public sector workers, in particular those whom we have assessed need it the most receive higher pay as of 1 January," he said and added that Počivavšek's group was the only one that could prevent that from happening.

The government invited all trade union groups it had been negotiating with for joint talks today, but in addition to Počivavšek's group, the two police trade unions, which stepped up their industrial action today, did not attend.

The unions have been demanding the fixing of pay discrepancies and benefit issues stemming from austerity measures taken during the recession and from separate deals with individual groups.


More from Nekategorizirano