The Slovenia Times

Public Sector On General Strike


Around 100,000 public sector employees are expected to join what will be the second general strike in the sector in less than a year, while 5,000 are expected to take to the streets in Ljubljana and some 5,000 more in other cities.

The strike will be held by workers in health care and social centres, by police officers, in kindergartens and schools as well as other parts of the public sector. Schools and kindergartens will mostly be closed, while health care and social centres will work at a slower or more thorough pace.

The first expected to feel the effects of the strike will be drivers at border crossings with Croatia, where customs officers have announced a work-to-rule that could cause tailbacks, especially for trucks.

Trade unions, fearing lay-offs and the lowering of standards, decided for the strike mostly because of what the government says is a 5% cut in funding for wages in the public sector in 2013.

Talks got stalled at the very outset, with the government saying it is not ready to debate the extent of the cuts but only how they are to be implemented.

Unions accuse the government of deciding for the cut without debate and an effort to come to an agreement, as had been customary in the past. The government is moreover violating existing agreements, including the May agreement which ended last year's general strike, the unions say.

The biggest confederation of private sector unions, the ZSSS, has backed the demands of the public employees. It says the government is doing all it can to divide the public and the private sector, notably with the claim that the public sector needs to share the fate of the private sector and start saving.

The two student organisations have also been stressing that austerity without development measures and investment will not take Slovenia out of the crisis.

Meanwhile, also on strike on Wednesday will be around 14,000 workers employed in companies covered by the SKEI trade union of the electronics and steel sectors. The union demands a pay rise ranging between 6.5% and 9%, depending on sector.


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