Some unions to step up strike action post-election

Ljubljana – One of the negotiating teams representing part of public sector trade unions in talks with the government has decided to step up strike action after the April general election. They wish to prevent the government from “abusing trade unions to achieve its aims in the election campaign”, said the team’s head Jakob Počivavšek.

Počivavšek, the head of the Pergam trade union association, said on Friday that in addition to a refusal to let the strike be abused by the government to score political points ahead of the election, his negotiating team also decided to postpone strike activities due to the precarious international and security situation.

Another reason to do so is the epidemic, which has not yet waned completely, he said, adding this had been confirmed by the members of the health and social care trade unions they represent.

Počivavšek noted at a press conference that the unions had indeed been deciding on whether to continue their strike activities given the inactivity of the government, which, according to him, had been avoiding negotiations with the public sector unions since May last year.

“Given what we have seen over the last year and a half, I would say that unfortunately this government is incapable of managing a system as complex as the public sector pay system in a competent and consistent manner,” he said.

But the fact that there will be no general strike in the public sector before the 24 April election does not mean that they are backing down from their demands. All the demands are still valid and if they are not met, there will be a strike, he highlighted.

After the election, the new government will have to tackle this as a priority, he added.

The unions intend to use the election campaign period to prepare for strike action. They will ask the political parties participating in the campaign to be clear and concrete on the issues regarding the single pay system, relevant agreements with trade unions, the revival of social dialogue and their demands, which include honouring 2018 strike agreements and tackling pay injustices at the bottom end of the pay scale.

Počivavšek also noted that the pre-election period did not exempt the government from negotiating with the trade unions on those matters which the law requires it to negotiate.

A similar decision was taken on Thursday by the KSJS union of public sector employees, which also insists on its demands and intends to call on all political parties contesting the upcoming election to take a position on them. They do not rule out announcing a general public sector strike in the future, the union said.