New public administration minister expected to rapidly act on pay system

Ljubljana – Public sector trade unions expect that Sanja Ajanović Hovnik, if appointed minister of public administration, will tackle the public sector pay system as a priority. They say she should immediately state whether she supports the existing system or would want to create a new one.

Pergam president Jakob Počivavšek and KSJS head Branimir Štrukelj told the STA on Thursday that they did not know the candidate but expected her to meet with the trade unions as soon as the government was appointed.

Ajanović Hovnik belongs to the quota of Freedom Movement candidates, and is not widely known to the general public. She served as deputy director of the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy under the Marjan Šarec government (2018-2020) as a member of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB).

Štrukelj of the KSJS confederation hopes the candidate has a very good knowledge of the pay system, which he sees as the hardest test for the new government.

He would like to know whether the new government will stick to the current pay system and renew it to make it functional again, or whether it will decide that it is better to start from scratch.

In this context, Ajanović Hovnik will have to immediately state whether she supports demands of certain groups, such as doctors, university staff or the army, to exit the public sector pay system, Štrukelj said.

Počivavšek hopes for fair cooperation. He said that judging by publicly available information, the candidate has experience with the state administration and also completed studies in this area, but it remains to be seen what stances she promotes or how well she actually knows the system.

He said a number of issues needed immediate action, such as aligning pay brackets or addressing pay disparities created when some groups negotiated better pay.

These issues call for rapid action, he said adding that there had been a number of strikes, “which are in a sense frozen at the moment”.