Janša announces police pay reform

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Ljubljana – Prime Minister Janez Janša has announced that the “operative part” of the police force would be extracted from the single public sector pay system to make pay ratios fairer. Public sector trade union representatives expressed disagreement and called for social dialogue.

Janša, responding on Twitter yesterday to the controversy following the release of pay data of almost 8,700 Interior Ministry employees, including police, said the problem of police pay was not its being public or not but rather pay ratios in the force.

In his view the real problem “is the ratio between many (not all) lounging in (overfilled) offices with all the bonuses possible and police officers and crime investigators who work in difficult conditions and risk their own health for everyone’s safety”.

After one of the two police trade unions went on strike on Monday to demand higher pay, the Interior Ministry released the names, gross pay and work posts of public employees of the Interior Ministry, police and the affiliated inspectorate.

The union argued the release was a breach of privacy that could threat personal safety of certain police officers and investigators and the security system. The information commissioner has found no breach of personal data, while the parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Commission will discuss potential breach of security data on Friday.

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The prime minister announced as early as September plans to extract “the services part of the public sector” from the single public pay system. This was when he talked in parliament about the problem of long waiting times for health services.

Public sector trade unions said they had not been acquainted with any concrete proposals and that the situation was the same as a few months ago when the relevant minister had assured them that there would be no changes without social dialogue.

Jakob Počivavšek, who heads one of the two groups of public sector trade unions in negotiations with the government, reiterated for the STA that the group advocated a single pay system. The group will meet next week to discuss this issue.

Branimir Štrukelj of the KSJS trade union confederation pointed to Janša’s announcement in September and assessed that the latest announcement on Twitter was not well-argued.

He is convinced that the issues mentioned by the prime minister could be resolved within the existing pay system, “especially if the government accepts the demand from police officers to get a collective bargaining agreement of their own”.

“Tearing apart the joint pay system because of this issue does not seem as a particularly rational or well thought-out move,” Štrukelj concluded.

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