The Slovenia Times

Minimum Wage Initiative Gathers Momentum as Coalition on Board


While such grassroots legislative motions were quickly voted down in the past, the ruling coalition has already come out in support of the initiative.

In line with the motion, bonuses for night, weekend and holiday work would be excluded from the minimum wage, meaning that they would have to be paid separately on top of the minimum wage.

"We are satisfied. We have done what we can and must to eliminate the great injustice which is built in this law - that those working at night, on Sundays or holidays and have minimum wage do not have the right to bonuses, the right that everybody else enjoys," Dušan Semolič of the ZSSS told reporters.

"We hope that reason will prevail in the National Assembly and that a majority will be found to endorse the proposal of all seven trade union associations," he said.

Simona Kustec Lipicer, the head of the deputy group of the ruling Modern Centre Party (SMC) told the press that the coalition parties had agreed that the rights of workers should be equalised regardless of the income they earned.

"This means that the coalition will support this proposal and facilitate the procedure," she said, announcing that the first reading was expected to be held as part of the September plenary of the National Assembly.

Employers have been fiercely against the proposal as they maintain that an additional burden on wages would result in closure of jobs. They would instead carry out a tax reform and lower labour costs.

The Association of Employers warned today that such an act by the trade unions represented a denial of the social dialogue and violation of the social pact for 2015-2016.

"The minimum wage is one of the most important categories in labour legislation, which we...agreed to regulate by means of social dialogue and in agreement with social partners," secretary general Jože Smole said in a written statement.

Likewise, Finance Minister Dušan Mramor said when the signature collection campaign started that a raise in the minimum wage would result in fewer job opportunities, in particular for young people.

"Minister Mramor is perhaps a good professor, but this statement does not befit a politician - it directly encourages a conflict between the young and other workers," Semolič was critical.

While Public Administration Minister Boris Koprivnikar agreed today that the current regulation was not fair and that changes were needed, he also warned that labour costs would increase, which could hurt competitiveness of the economy.

"Increased labour costs means reduced competitiveness of certain employers," he said, adding that the government was also preparing a legislative package to to help maintain competitiveness of the economy at the current level.

The minister warned that costs brought by the changes to the minimum wage would not be small, as an additional EUR 1.3m would needed per year in the public sector alone.


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