Social partners make no progress on demographic fund, minimum wage

Ljubljana – The Economic and Social Council (ESS) debated on Friday the bill on a new national demographic fund, but not much progress was made as both the employer and trade union representatives still do not support it. The two meanwhile remain on the opposite sides regarding plans to freeze the scheduled increase in the minimum wage.

Lidija Jerkič, the head of the ZSSS trade union confederation, told the STA after the session that the negotiations on the bill, which is scheduled to be debated in parliament next week, would be continued.

Sonja Šmuc, the director general of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), added that employer representatives had not changed their positions either.

The talks on the long-term care bill were somewhat more successful, but according to Jerkič “it got stuck when it comes to sources of financing.” Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj will send a financing plan by the first week of January, she added.

The session also discussed plans to freeze the scheduled increase in the minimum wage, and no agreement has been reached.

Šmuc said that the raise had not been acceptable for employers before the coronavirus crisis, let alone now, while the trade unions maintain that the freeze is unacceptable. If it happens, they threaten a strike and other forms of industrial action.

This proposal is not part of the draft of the seventh anti-coronavirus legislative package that was presented today to the social partners. Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek told the Kanal A broadcaster that this would stay so if compromise was not reached.

Počivalšek presented at the ESS session a compromise proposal under which a new formula for calculating the minimum wage would enter into force on 1 April and not on 1 January.

The state would cover the costs of the raise until September, and employers would take over after that. “Unfortunately, this proposal was rejected,” the minister said.