The Slovenia Times

Unionists Fear Rising of Tensions in Autumn


Rebolj believes Slovenia faces five key problems - stagnation of its economy, lingering unemployment without the prospect of new jobs, difficulties in public finance, uncertain situation in the banking sector and a dangerous trend of encroaching on workers' rights.

"These problems lead into a stormy autumn. While some of these problems are political, every single one of them affects the workers. If the coming reforms are passed without the consensus with the unions, the situation in Slovenia will only get worse," he said in an interview with the daily Večer.

Semolič, ZSSS' chief unionist, reckons the instrument of social agreement has often and still is ignored by the policymakers.

He believes a compromise between the government, the employers and the employees would be a "strong and positive" message to Europe and the financial markets.

"If we could hammer out the necessary compromise the message to Europe and the capital would be that Slovenia can indeed agree on certain things," Semolič believes.

But he fears the politicians are trying to ignore the idea of social agreement, in particular with the upcoming reforms of the pension system and the labour market.

He is critical of the proposal to abolish the 30-minute paid lunch break, saying that trying to overcome the crisis on the backs of workers is "unacceptable in the 21st century".

"Abolishing the lunch break is a de facto cutting of wages," agrees Rebolj. Such a law has no chance of being adopted this year, "but if somebody goes over the social partnership, the things will be struck down," Rebolj warned.

He also touched on the planned pension reform, saying the thinking should also move towards a stronger relation between contributions paid in and the benefits received. But he opposes individual pension accounts. "Such accounts undermine the entire idea of solidarity".


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