Slovenia: Developments in working life – Q1 2016

The withdrawal of employers from the social agreement, strikes by police and energy sector workers, negotiations for the new public sector wage agreement, and a new collective agreement in the private security sector are the main topics of interest in this article. This country update reports on the latest developments in working life in Slovenia in the first quarter of 2016.

Employers withdraw from social agreement

All four employer organisations have withdrawn from the long-awaited social agreement for 2015–2016 after unions pushed through legislative changes that increased the minimum wage. This will influence the success of social dialogue at national and sector levels, and social partners will have to work to rebuild trust.

Police and energy sector strikes

The police strike continues from 2015 as police trade unions and the government have not yet found a compromise solution to the police officers’ demands. The main consequences of the strike are:

  • reduced safety;
  • an increase in the number of offences, particularly property crime;
  • decreased police presence in public places;
  • fewer preventive tasks being carried out;
  • fewer penalties issued for minor offences, resulting in an estimated revenue loss of around €10 million.

In the energy sector, a general warning strike began, drawing attention in particular to the increasingly precarious situation of workers.

Negotiations on public sector wages

Negotiations for the public sector wage bill from 2017 onwards started in March 2016, in line with the last public sector wage agreement, which was signed in November 2015. At present, both negotiating sides have conflicting proposals for wage policy over the next four years.

Collective agreement in private security sector

There have also been cases of successful social dialogue. For example, in January 2016, the social partners signed the Private Security Collective Agreement, which ended a 10-year period without defined collective rights in this sector. The Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities has extended the scope of the collective agreement to now cover almost 6,000 workers.

Proposals to control labour costs

In March, the Association of Employers of Slovenia (ZDS) and the Association of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia (ZSSS) presented the Minister of Finance with their proposals to curb labour costs in the light of tax reforms. ZDS proposed lowering the tax burden for highly qualified staff whose jobs are the most taxed, while ZSSS proposed income tax changes that would help to decrease labour costs and increase net wages, purchasing power and consumption.

Changes to minimum wage rules

From 1 January 2016, three allowances for unfavourable working time (for night, Sunday and holiday work) are exempt from the minimum wage and paid separately. The minimum wage will remain at €790.73 gross per month, despite deflation, for around 38,000 workers.

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