The Slovenia Times

Hospitality and tourism industry union present grievances


The trade union secretary general Breda Črnčec said at Thursday's press conference in Bled that employees from the industry had been facing these problems for a number of years, including in state-owned companies.

While the Employment Service has estimated that the industry needs more than 5,000 additional workers, including more than 2,200 waiters and 1,315 cooks, the trade union believes the number to be at least as twice as big.

It noted that many employees in the industry were looking for labour force through temping agencies, advertisements and on Facebook.

Črnčec noted that tourism was an industry which recorded a constant growth in the number of arrivals and overnight stays. Slovenia was visited by more than 5.9 million tourists last year, who generated almost 15.7 million overnight stays.

Foreign tourists generated 11.2 million overnight stays, which is 15% more than in 2017, while the number of workers in the industry was up by only 6.9% (from 19,359 in 2017 to 20,694 in 2018), which means that the employees are overworked, she added.

There are many reasons for a shortage of staff, including unfavourable working time, difficult work conditions, low wages and the profession not being appreciated, Črnčec said, adding that a lot of foreign workers were already present in the industry who speak little or no Slovenian at all.

According to her, workers work overtime and are burned out due to the shortage of staff. "We have been warning about these problem for years, but nothing changes," she said, adding that the situation is worsening as an increasing number of skilled staff, primarily young staff, was leaving the country.

While the lowest average wage in the industry in Austria is EUR 1,500 gross and EUR 1,700 gross for a waiter, Črnčec noted that a lot of workers in the industry in Slovenia were still on the minimum wage. "This means that we are at the bottom in the services sector."

Noting that the average wage in Slovenia was EUR 1,723 gross, while in the hospitality industry it was EUR 1,195 gross or 69% of the average wage, the trade union said that the wage model in the industry needed to be changed.

The lowest basic wages do not reflect the true situation, and the lowest wages by professions in the industry need to be determined, but employers are not responsive, Črnčec said, adding that they wanted to talk about reforming the wage model in September, when negotiations about higher wages would start.

"Employees in the industry, owners and the state, which has 43% of Slovenian tourism in direct ownership, are those who should solve the problem of the lack of staff and motivate the young, which are switching to better paid professions or look for opportunities abroad, to stay."

The trade union believes that this required measures in education and legislation, which was the responsibility of the relevant ministries, the Tourism Directorate, Slovenian Sovereign Holding and other competent bodies.

"Workers in the hospitality and tourism industry have had enough. Enough of promises, enough of waiting for better wages, enough of poverty of workers who work and whose wages do not ensure decent living," Črnčec added.

The trade union secretary general did note that the situation in the industry employing around 32,000 workers would by examined by the Labour Inspectorate, which will focus on companies where violations were being recorded. She added that the number of inspectors, 40, was too low.


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