The Slovenia Times

No Pay Cutting in The Public Sector


The vote at the financial committee, the main committee for this field, came after the Local Government Committee unexpectedly proposed in an unanimous vote last week that the government-sponsored changes to the austerity act which would prohibit new hiring in the public sector be upgraded with a pay cut.

Finance Minister Franc Krizanic repeated at the outset of today's debate that the government would not make unilateral changes to the public sector pay system this year and the committee's members mostly expressed opposition to the pay cut amendment.

"What needs to be cut is the number of people employed and not the wages," Radovan Zerjav of the opposition People's Party (SLS) said, while adding that the Slovenian economy was no longer capable of managing such expenditure.

Zvonko Cernac of the opposition Democrats (SDS) said that it was "not possible to tighten the belts of those who are already using the last hole", whereas Zares's Alojzij Potocnik labelled the pay cut amendment as unwise but useful as a warning that changes in the near future would be necessary.

The head of the Local Government Committee Vili Trofenik explained that the amendment was in a way also a response to a lack of determined action on the part of the government in the past three years and before that.

He rejected speculation that in proposing the across-the-board cut in the sector the Local Government Committee had acted as a proxy for the government. "We are demanding of the government that it focuses, along with expenditure reduction, on increasing budget revenue," he said.

The session of the Finance Committee was accompanied by a warning protest in front of the parliament building of public sector trade unions representatives, who have been threatening with a strike.

A call for "sound judgement" was also issued before the session by President Danilo Tuerk, who added that "hasty decisions of this kind are not good".

He however also stressed the need to understand that Slovenia and Europe as a whole were in a situation "when saving with a feeling for priorities will be necessary".


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