The Slovenia Times

Unions step up pressure on govt amid public sector pay talks

Public sector trade unions protest against government foot-dragging in ongoing talks on reform of the public sector pay system. Photo: Boštjan Podlogar/STA

Slovenian public sector trade unions staged a rally in front of Government Palace on 7 December to escalate pressure on the government in ongoing talks on reform of the public sector pay system that are bogged down in disputes over how much pay should rise and when.

The rally was organised by a group that comprises roughly three-quarters of public sector unions, and was endorsed by the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions, which represents the remaining trade unions.

Jakob Počivavšek, one of the leading unionists, said the unions stood united despite being very diverse "which gives our demands particular weight and legitimacy. This is why our voice cannot be ignored."

Armed with banners and whistles, protesters told the government they are running out of patience. "We've had it with the broken promises, ignored commitments, foot-dragging, changes of positions and concepts, and new conditions," Počivavšek said.

Talks on reform of the pay system have been ongoing for more than a year. They were supposed to finish by the middle of the year but agreement has so far proved elusive.

After the floods hit in August, the government proposed that implementation of the reform be postponed to 2025, a year later than planned, which the unions accepted.

They now expect that rollout of the new system will start no later than on 1 January 2025 and finish by June 2026. But in exchange for accepting a postponement, they demand full indexation of wages to inflation.

The government has proposed that wages be indexed at a rate corresponding to 40% of the annual inflation rate, which is expected to be around 5%, which would be done in the second half of next year.

"This is disgraceful, it is an attitude to civil servants that the government counts on whenever there is a natural disaster, epidemic or any other crisis," Počivavšek said.

The Public Administration Ministry said it saw no reason why unions had to protest given that negotiations are ongoing and both sides are working hard towards a compromise.


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