The Slovenia Times

PM Janša Announces New Public Sector Cuts


The PM said that while some 150,000 jobs had been lost in economy since the beginning of the crisis, the public sector had been employing more and more people.

It would all be very well if Slovenia's economy was growing, but in the current situation this is "a constant drilling of a hole into Slovenian public finances," added Janša.

He noted that apart from lay-offs there were other possibilities and reserves through which the public sector could be rationalised, but where these did not exists, the workforce would have to be reduced.

The government will not make assessments on the required measures, they will have to be made in individual institutions, according to Janša, who explained that at this point "we can still talk about a percentage that does not represent a drastic cut".

The daily Delo meanwhile reported today that the government was planning significant cuts in the public sector pay. According to unofficial sources, the government is to order all budget users to cut their wage bill by 7.5%-15%.

The daily wrote that 15% wage bill cuts were planned for the Justice Ministry, Economic Development Ministry, Education Ministry, Agriculture Ministry and the Infrastructure and Spatial Planning Ministry.

Apart from that, Education Minister Žiga Turk and Agriculture Minister Franc Bogovič would have to cut 15% off the wage bills in all other institutions falling under their authority.

Public school institutions, universities and hospitals are to suffer 12.5% cuts, while the lowest cuts of 7.5% are planned in the police, where the government is expected to honour the strike agreement.

The budget also plans 7.5% cuts for the intelligence agency SOVA, the Tax Administration (DURS), the army, correctional facilities administration and labour, health and market inspectorates.

The judiciary and non-governmental sector are to face 10% cuts in pay, while the Constitutional Court is to be exempt from cuts, according to documents procured by Delo.

The government will first reorganise the public sector and then determine which employees are redundant, according to Delo.

The process is to be finished within two months, while the government allocated seven to ten days for negotiations with the unions, Delo continued.

President of the opposition Social Democrats (SD) Igor Lukšič stressed that the planned cuts probably mean that "PE teachers will teach mathematics" in the public education system.

According to him, certain things were above austerity measures, explaining that norms in education were not established because the state had too much money, but rather for safety and pedagogic reasons.

Head of the KSJS trade union confederation Branimir Štrukelj suggested for the STA that the unions would not be willing to continue negotiations about the labour market reform, if the government adopts the proposal for cuts in the public sector.

"It means that it will not matter what is in the compromise proposal [of the market labour reform] - whether it is black or white. We will probably be in conflict with the government from that point on."

Court of Audits President Igor Šoltes however warned that caution is needed when decreasing workforce in the public sector, as such a measure can return like a boomerang and cause major expenses in a few years.

What is more, employment contracts must be heeded and legal terms must be fulfilled to fire workers, Šoltes noted, adding that otherwise those who will believe they had been dismissed unlawfully might go to court.

He added that transferring services to the open market could lead to an even wider gap between the rich and the poor and could decrease the accessibility of public services, especially in education and healthcare.

According to the latest data of the Agency for Public Legal Records (AJPES), 161,002 people were employed in the public sector in July, with total salaries to the tune of EUR 281.9m.


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