Police commissioner issues dismissal warnings to trade unionists

Ljubljana – Police Commissioner Anton Olaj has allegedly signed dismissal warnings for the heads of the two police trade unions, Kristjan Mlekuš from the SPS trade union and Rok Cvetko from the PSS, the newspaper Dnevnik reported on Saturday.

Mlekuš reportedly received the warning because of statements he made in an interview with the newspaper Svet24, which Olaj believes have caused big moral damage to the police force and were a violation of his employment contract.

The dismissal warning, which cannot be appealed to, is in place for one year. If Olaj finds that Mlekuš again violated his contract or any other obligations in this period, he will be fired.

According to Dnevnik’s unofficial information, Olaj also signed the dismissal warning for Cvetko, who gave an interview in mid-October.

The general Police Administration told the paper on Friday that “because of untruthful and harmful claims in the public, an employment measure has been introduced against a representative of a membership organisation in the police force in line with regulations on employment relationship”.

Web portal Nova24 published a facsimile of a dismissal warning for Mlekuš, which suggests that Mlekuš is being reprimanded over his statement that inferior officers take the blame for their bosses’ mistakes in the police force, that the general atmosphere in the police is apathy and discontent, and that people are being intimidated with threats that they will be fired.

Olaj reportedly also did not like Mlekuš’s comments that he abused the dismissal warning institute when he issued it to the head of the Ljubljana police over intervention against the neo-Nazi group Yellow Jackets.

Olaj sees Mlekuš’s statements as containing the elements of slander, and as damaging for the reputation of the police commissioner.

While acknowledging Mlekuš’s freedom of speech, he said that public servants were also committed to loyalty and discretion, Dnevnik reported.

There have been tensions between the two trade unions and the leadership of police and Interior Ministry for a while. Olaj has also ordered a supervision over the work of key trade unions but according to Dnevnik’s unofficial information no irregularities have been found.

Still, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs pushed for an agreement through Olaj with trade unions under which the heads of trade unions would not longer be able to dedicate their working hours merely to trade unionist work.

According to the paper’s sources, the representatives of the two trade unions discussed this at a meeting with with Olaj on Friday. According to sources close to the trade unions, Olaj was left without arguments at the meeting and then signed the dismissal warnings on Monday. The documents had reportedly been written a while ago.