The Slovenia Times

Tough Negotiations on Pay Cuts in Public Sector


The talks will resume Thursday, when the two sides will sign a strike agreement (formally the unions have still not called off a strike suspended since the autumn) laying down the demands to be resolved.

The government is seeking to trim EUR 158m off this year's public sector wage bill in order to meet budget targets, but the very baseline is questionable for the unions.

Interior and Public Administration Minister Gregor Virant, the government's top negotiator, said the government's baseline scenario is based on the supplementary budget for this year.

However, Janez Posedi, one of the main union negotiators, said the budget implementation act itself was "problematic" in that it budgeted the pay cuts without prior consent from the unions.

Virant cautioned, though, that "careful handling of public finances" was required in order "to not send a wrong signal to international financial markets. It would be very irresponsible to talk about a supplementary budget at this point."

The talks are a part of efforts to stabilise the budget, which is facing a bigger-than-expected shortfall this year.

Almost half of the budgeted pay cut has already been implemented as a result of the 2012 act on the balancing of public finances, which leaves EUR 158m in savings to be found for the remainder of the year.

Virant suggested last week that "linear measures will be needed" considering that the budget for 2013 is based on the assumption of a 6.4% reduction in the public sector wage bill.


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