The Slovenia Times

Social dialogue re-established, PM meets employers, unionists


It was agreed at the meeting with Šarec that the rules and procedure of the Economic and Social Council (ESS) will be changed so as to be able to debate bills sent to parliament by the opposition.

Social Affairs Minister Ksenija Klampfer said after the meeting that the rules and procedure of the ESS did not take into account a minority government, as Slovenia has never had one before.

Many of the bills that had not been discussed by the ESS were filed in parliamentary proceedings by the Left, the government's partner in the opposition.

Before Šarec's government took office, the opposition-sponsored motions usually did not get past the relevant parliamentary committees, as governments preferred to draft their own legislation, coordinating it with the social partners before passage.

The minister also said that everybody agreed today to continue social dialogue, which she sees as an important foundation of a welfare state, social peace and economic development.

The head of the Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business (OZS), Branko Meh, was happy as well, saying that "social dialogue was alive again".

He said that employers did not protest the right of the Left and other parties to file their legislative proposals. They do want, however, that the government take action to prevent bills bypassing the ESS and the government.

Meh said that Šarec was very critical at the beginning of the meeting, but also showed agreement with some of the partners' positions later on.

Lidija Jerkič, the head of the ZSSS, the biggest trade union confederation in the country, was also happy with the outcome of the meeting. She believes a discussion on social dialogue content was more than needed.

To her understanding, the government will make sure in the future that any bill it supports would also be discussed by the ESS. Two weeks ago, Jerkič resigned as ESS chair out of protest and was replaced today by Klampfer.

Now, a special commission will draft changes to the rules and procedures aimed at preventing that legislation bypass the ESS. The council is set to discuss these changes next Friday.

Meanwhile, Matej T. Vatovec of the Left believes the outcome of today's meeting was expected. He reiterated the party's position that the government could send to ESS bills for discussion, warning, however, that the ESS could not dictate the pace of National Assembly's work.

He also said that a potential new rule under which certain bills would have to be okayed by ESS would be constitutionally contentious and unacceptable. This would give too big a role to the ESS, which is not foreseen neither in the Constitution nor the legislation, he warned.


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