Unions threaten referendum if minimum wage law gets changed
Speaking at a press conference in Ljubljana on Wednesday, representatives of the trade union confederations ZSSS and Pergam said that they were ready to push for a referendum on the minimum wage law if it was changed.
ZSSS president Lidija Jerkič said that there was an increasing number of signs lately that employer organisations wanted to prevent the provisions eliminating all bonuses from the minimum wage from entering into force in January 2020, as scheduled.
Jerkič said that this was suggested by the statements by PM Marjan Šarec that an agreement should perhaps be found on minimum wage law changes, as well as by Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek about employers warning him about the consequence of the exclusion of all bonuses from the minimum wage.
She also pointed to the recent round table debate of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry discussing the "domino effect of the minimum wage law" and certain statements by representatives of employees.
"If this is intended for testing the will of trade unions, let me reiterate clearly that we will not allow unilateral attempts at changing the legislation," Jerkič said.
If the law gets changed without the consent of trade unions, they will use all available means, including referendum, she said, adding that talks about a postponement of the exclusion of bonuses was out of the question.
The minority government's partner in the opposition, the Left, also sided with the trade unions and said it would help collect the needed signatures to have a referendum called.
Luka Mesec, the leader of the Left, said that profits were growing in "leaps and bounds", going from EUR 169 million in 2013 to EUR 4.2 billion last year.
Aljoša Čeč, the secretary general of Pergam, also said that employers were undermining social dialogue by trying to change the minimum wage legislation.
ZSSS vice-president Ladi Rožič said that, given the announcements that the Slovenian economy as a whole made EUR 4.2 million in net profit last year, claiming that the minimum wage would destroy the economic model was "unwise and unproductive".
The Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Ministry responded by saying that it detected no anomalies or derogations that would require a change in legislation.
It added that the minimum wage must be high enough to allow a decent living without the aid of social transfers.