The Slovenia Times

Wednesday Strike in Public Sector will Proceed as Planned


The government came into the talks thinking that the methods for a 5% reduction in the public sector wage bill were on the table, but the unions insist on discussing the very amount of the cut, which is enshrined in the budgetary documents for 2013.

The two sides hit a wall when it became clear that the government's chief negotiator, Public Administration and Justice Minister Senko Pličanič, did not have a mandate to negotiate the 5% cut.

Pličanič said he would check with the cabinet to see whether the cut itself is negotiable, but he noted that the government has so far been unwilling to put that on the table and that was unlikely to change.

Janez Posedi, the chair of the unions' negotiating team, said the only way the strike could be averted was with the signing of an agreement that would address all of the unions' demands.

He also noted that it was still unclear what the wage bill was in 2012 and what it would be in 2013. "They say they have issues with the wage bill, but somehow they don't even know what that is," he said.

Meanwhile, the Education Ministry urged SVIZ, the trade union of teachers, to refrain from striking now that it has withdrawn controversial new standards that would lead to massive layoffs and, in the union's view, worsen the quality of education.

However, SVIZ said that the new standards were only one problem, its elimination doing nothing to address the wage bill cut. SVIZ instead called on the government to adopt a supplementary budget and reconsider the 5% cut.

Talks were also held with the Police Trade Union of Slovenia (PSS), which has been on strike since last week, but it said activities would continue after the Interior Ministry and the police management failed to "take a proper stance on the strike demands". The talks will continue on Tuesday.


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