The Slovenia Times

Unions, Left hit back at GZS over minimum wage


Andreja Poje, executive secretary of the union association ZSSS, said there was no data to back up claims by economists that higher minimum wage could cause job losses.

"We don't think the effects will be so drastic. However, there will always be companies unable to cover minimum standards," she said.

Luka Mesec, the leader of the Left, said the GZS claims "do not stand up to reasonable scrutiny" and were "purely ideological."

The statement comes after GZS hosted a panel on the minimum wage Thursday at which several economists issued dire projections about the impact on the economy of the changes to the minimum wage law passed under the previous government last year.

These raised the minimum wage from EUR 638 net to EUR 667 this year, with another increase to EUR 700 in 2020, when the minimum wage would also be rid of all the bonuses currently still allowed to be included in it.

GZS director general Sonja Šmuc, who already raised the ire of trade union once by implying that higher minimum wage would create "a land of the rich poor," reiterated her stance today saying the intervention had been unnecessary as "the market worked".

But Mesec stressed this was not the case, as a fifth of the people below the poverty line in 2017 had been employed. "I'm sorry, but the market did not work," he said.

The overarching message of the GZS debate today was that further increases of the minimum wage ought to be prevented, but ZSSS's Poje said this was out of the question.

There is "no way unions will accept" changes to the minimum wage act or deferral of the planned increases into the future, she said.

"Slovenia must proclaim that it does not want to build its competitiveness on the back of low worker pay, this is not the vision of the future we want. But it is up to company boards to improve productivity and find new markets," she said.


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