The Slovenia Times

Debate calls for definition of precarious work


"Since precarious work brings numerous negative consequences both for the economic and social security of an individual, it is high time to introduce measures at the systemic level," said Labour Minister Ksenija Klampfer.

Noting that this was one of the priorities of her ministry, Klampfer said that it was "crucial to create these measures in cooperation with those who meet with precarious work in practice, and to put worker protection in the forefront."

Alojz Kovšca, the president of the upper chamber of parliament, where the debate took place, added that a lot had been written and said about the topic, but that the situation was very complex.

This is why Črt Poglajen from the Institute of Precariat Studies believes it is important that the state, civil society, experts, trade unions and businesses join forces in fighting precarious work. He admitted that the term is hard to define and that it is not a legal term.

Labour Ministry State Secretary Tilen Božič said that an inter-ministerial task force for the planning and implementation of measures tackling precarious work was expected to prepare a strategy by next spring.

Helping the task force is the Ljubljana Faculty of Law, whose Labour Institute is preparing a multi-disciplinary analysis of precarious work, which is examining the legal, economic, social and healthcare aspects of the topic.

Katarina Kresal Šoltes of the Labour Institute said that precarious work was being studied as a departure from the standard form of employment relationship in terms of pay, working hours, occupational safety and health, social security, training and access to collective negotiations.

According to her, the amount of work mediated by temping agencies is increasing in Slovenia twice as fact as in other European countries. "Our labour legislation is good, but its implementation in practice is a problem," she added.

Poglajen believes that the state can do the most to eliminate precarious work. "The state could penalise precarious work and employers who abuse this, and it could reward and encourage social responsibility," he added.

Precarious work undermines welfare state, because it destroys solidarity, economy and democracy, he said, adding that social responsibility, ethics and values needed to be strengthened in order to eliminate it.

Tea Jarc of Sindikat Mladi Plus, the wing of the ZSSS trade union confederation dealing with youth issues, rejected the notion that young people prefer precarious work because they cherish freedom.

"In a survey, 74% of the young respondents said they would like to have an open-ended contract," Jarc said, adding that more than half of them said they were involved in undeclared work. "The first measure by the state should be to employ additional inspectors. It is not normal to have 210,000 companies and 45 labour inspectors."

Jože Smole, the secretary general of the Employers' Association, noted that they "demand from every government to create inspection services which would reduce such anomalies". Too much is spoken about security, while flexibility, which employers need, gets neglected, he added.

The director of the Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business (OZS), Danijel Lamperger, said that generalising precarious work was detrimental and noted that economic development and digitalisation brought new forms of work.

But Jakob Počivavšek of the Pergam trade union confederation said that "new forms of work frequently get abused as an excuse", adding that the problem was that student work and similar forms of work had started to be used for something they had not been intended for.

Chief labour inspector Jadranko Grlić called on precarious workers to contact the Labour Inspectorate, noting that reports from such workers were few and far between. He also noted that procedures to establish alleged abuses were complicated and lengthy, and that it would not be possible to solve the problems with additional inspectors alone.


More from Nekategorizirano