The Slovenia Times

Govt Has to Seek Consensus


Commenting on public union strike, Pahor said in the interview that the strike was part of pressure tactics by the unions. But he warned against a referendum, saying that a rejection of the reforms could plunge Slovenia into a political, economic and social crisis.

"If this attempt fails, any that would follow will be harder, regardless of who proposes them," Pahor warned. Both sides must negotiate in good will and reach at least some sort of progress, he stressed.

He added the latest union proposal of reducing public sector pay by 7% while leaving promised raises frozen was fiscally sustainable. "While we won't save EUR 800m, we at least won't have to interfere with social rights which do not justify social sacrifices," he said.

Janković meanwhile sees the strike as a consequence of gaps between the unions and the government that were too big to bridge.

"The unions are right this time," he said, pointing to an agreement signed shortly after the elections that said no one-sided actions would be taken. The agreement was signed by six political parties bar the senior coalition Democrats (SDS).

Saying the government was trying to divide the public and the private sectors, he noted that the public sector too "creates society and gives it substance".

"We need to motivate people, but (the measures) go towards de-motivation. Why would people keep working at all," he observed.

Pahor meanwhile stressed that the golden fiscal rule, set to be enshrined in the Constitution, was necessary as it binds the government "to be fiscally more disciplined".

Janković disagreed, saying talk around the rule generated "unhelpful hype" that would do little to lift Slovenia from the crisis.

The opposition leaders also commented on the procedures to secure state guarantees for the construction of a new generator for the coal-fire TEŠ power plant.

Today's green light for further passage of a guarantee bill in parliament is "less bad, but not ideal", said Pahor, while Janković stressed the project needed to be put to official scrutiny.


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