Civil servants turning to top court over Covid pass requirement

Ljubljana – The government’s decision that civil servants will need to be either Covid-19 reconvalescent or vaccinated as of 1 October to work at the office faces pushback. The Trade Union of State Bodies said it would challenge the new rule at the Constitutional Court.

The government’s decision will apply to the narrow public administration, meaning government departments and their bodies, inspection services, police and army, and administrative units.

The head of the Trade Union of State Bodies, Frančišek Verk, told the STA on Friday that there was a lot of opposition to this regulation. The union estimates that not even half of civil servants are vaccinated and many are now concerned about potential job loss.

Any employee who refuses to get vaccinated could receive a warning before termination of employment and then face being sacked.

According to Verk, this means that obligatory vaccination is being introduced for civil servants in a by-law, while many legal experts argue that obligatory vaccination may only be introduced via changes to the communicable disease act.

This is why the trade union will challenge the decree at the Constitutional Court, Verk announced. The trade unions representing soldiers and police officers are thinking about this move as well.

Verk finds it telling that the new rule will be in place just for some 30,000 of the total of 170,000 public sector employees and not for example employees in healthcare, which is a “more sensitive segment”.

By introducing this rule, the government has raised suspicion that it wants to discipline civil servants, he said.

The trade unionist noted that the way the government measures were being presented to the public had been a problem since the start of Covid restrictions and triggered revolt.

He also pointed to the absence of social dialogue, noting that the government had not consulted social partners on any of the coronavirus restrictions.