Parliamentary committee wants to beef up labour inspectorate

Ljubljana – The parliamentary Labour Committee called on the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities on Tuesday to hire more labour inspectors by the end of next year. The ministry is meanwhile working on legislative changes to improve oversight.

The session was called by coalition MPs in the wake of reports revealing grave labour and hygiene conditions in fish-processing companies Marinblu and Selea.

The Left’s MP Miha Kordiš called for systemic solutions to prevent worker exploitation. “It’s only right that the inspectorate gets a sensible strategy, but we have to be aware that even a perfect strategy will be nothing but paper without additional work force.”

Dan Juvan, a state secretary at the Labour Ministry, said legislative changes were being drafted and had already been sent to the Economic and Social Council; they concern record-keeping and social security. The committee urged that these be filed in parliamentary procedure as soon as possible.

Chief labour inspector Jadranko Grlić welcomed the changes and told the committee that the Labour Inspectorate intends to set up inspection units specialised in employment of foreigners.

Goran Lukić of Delavska Svetovalnica, an NGO protecting the rights of workers, especially migrant workers, also attended the session, saying that in spite of grave violations found at Marinblu and Selea and a number of oversights that followed, the companies were still operating.

“Today they started at 6am. A worker injured herself and was able to go to the emergency only after a strenuous negotiation,” said Lukić, adding that one of the employees recently worked 23 or 24 hours straight despite the close scrutiny of the companies.

While the opposition Democrats (SDS) boycotted the session, the opposition New Slovenia (NSi) MP Aleksander Reberšek said the session was a show staged by the Left. “The Labour Ministry is headed by your coordinator,” he told Kordiš, referring to the Left’s leader and Labour Minister Luka Mesec.

“I suggest you draft the changes and bring them to the National Assembly, it is your duty to do this,” said Reberšek.