The Slovenia Times

Unions Reject Social Agreement


Representatives of the ZSSS, KS 90, KNSS and the KSJS trade union confederations, representing the private as well as public sector, told the press that they were ready to back many of the measures, while continuing to consider some of them unacceptable.

The unions, with which the government has been engaged in talks on cuts meant to save EUR 818m this year and another EUR 949m next year, will not sign the starting points for the social agreement until the contentious measures are removed from the list.

Absolutely unacceptable for the unions are interventions in provisions regulated by collective bargaining agreements, such as wages, holiday allowances, working hours, holidays.

Also being rejected is an expansion of the list of health care services not covered by compulsory insurance, the scrapping of subsidies for young families, of annual recreation allowance for pensioners, the right to free kindergarten for the second child, cuts to child benefits, to unemployment benefits and shorter and no longer fully covered parental leave.

Dušan Semolič of ZSSS, who said the unions were ready to defend certain rights with all means available, called on the government to consider using some of the funds it deposited with banks in recent years, given that the European Central Bank is now providing cheap loans to banks in the eurozone.

Semolič would also do more about tax fraud and increase tax on profit, with other union leaders agreeing the government needs to do more on the revenue side.

Branimir Štrukelj of KSJS described the concept of the starting points as good, but feels that the government is pursuing a very different goal, using obsolete neoliberal measures to intervene in the welfare state.

Labour, Family and Social Affairs Minister Andrej Vizjak nonetheless labelled today's signing an important moment, saying Slovenia was facing substantial systemic changes regarding the labour market, pensions, health care etc.

Hoping that the unions that refused to sign will not delay things and that the agreement can be signed by 20 June, Vizjak said that, focused on the austerity measures, they were not seeing the forest for the trees.

Also urging the unions the back starting points is the general secretary of the Slovenian Employers' Association Jože Smole, who said that all unions confederations had agreed with the document at Friday's session of the Economic Social Council, the main industrial relations forum.

President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) Samo Hribar Milič joined the appeal, describing the situation in the country as very serious and calling for constructive dialogue.


More from Nekategorizirano