Slovenia: Annual Review - 2011

  • Observatory: EurWORK
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  • Published on: 28 November 2012



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Slovenia has been hit severely by the economic crisis during 2011, as available data display, especially with regards to the construction sector. This has resulted in anticipated general elections, as the government lost confidence vote in the parliament due to failed attempts to introduce structural reforms to counter the economic crisis. To contrast the effects of the crisis, services aimed at supporting people at risk of unemployment or unemployed have been extended and people included in active labour market measures have significantly increased. During the year several strikes in companies which were fighting for survival and were on the verge of the bankruptcy took place, as in such companies there were big problems of wage arrears. At the end of the year, the National Assembly unanimously passed a fiscal austerity bill to keep social benefits, pensions and public sector pay frozen at 2010 levels.

1. Political and economic developments

Please give very brief details of:

  • The government (s) in office during 2011
  • Any general or significant regional/local elections held in 2011
  • Any other significant political events which took place in 2011
  • Any forthcoming national or important regional/local elections or significant political events
  • Any major economic developments which are likely to impact upon employment and industrial relations.

If a new government took office during the year, briefly summarise the implications for policy on employment and industrial relations.

The government in office during 2011

Political crisis and snap election were the buzzwords on the Slovenian political scene in 2011, which saw the government crumble and a new party emerge as the election winner. At the beginning of a busy 2012, Slovenia got its tenth government, which immediately had to work on structural reforms and stabilisation of public finances. Voters will head to the polls in the second half of the year for the presidential election.

Five years ago on 1 January 2007 Slovenia adopted the euro as the first among the new EU member states to do so. The anniversary came amid the most serious crisis in the 13-year history of the currency. At an exchange rate of 1:239.64, the euro replaced the Slovenian tolar, which surveys consistently showed to be the most trustworthy Slovenian institution.

Entering the eurozone was one of the priorities of Slovenia after the accession to the EU in 2004, with the goal requiring above all a curbing of inflation and the budget deficit. Inflation proved the harder nut, but was nonetheless cracked by November 2005. Due to bad experience in older eurozone members, the adoption of the euro in Slovenia was accompanied by extensive efforts to prevent price increases, but bars and providers of smaller services where competition is scarce would not be deterred. A cause for more serious concern were price hikes caused in 2007 by the economic boom and an overheating economy as well as global food and energy prices shocks. Slovenia had the highest inflation in the eurozone in 2007 and 2008. The euro however also helped the economy and encouraged trade, which is significant for Slovenia as an extremely export-oriented country, which exports more than half of its goods and services to eurozone countries. Accompanying the expansion on other hand was a turning away from investment into development to financial investment and ownership consolidation. Like elsewhere, debt levels ballooned, which contributed to a lending crisis and eventually to a systemic crisis.

In the general election in 2008 Social Democrats (Socialni demokrati, SD) narrowly emerged as the largest party led by Borut Pahor. His coalition government ended the four years in power of a centre-right coalition under Slovenian Democratic Party's (Slovenska demokratska stranka, SDS) leader Janez Jansa. The centre-left SD, Zares and LDS, formed the core of the new governing coalition. However, with three votes short of an outright majority they needed at least one coalition partner, which they found in the DESUS.

The political parties represented in the Parliament in 2011 were:

  1. Social Democrats (Socialni demokrati, SD) – 29 deputies
  2. Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka, SDS) – 28 deputies
  3. Zares – New Politics (Zares - nova politika, ZARES) – 9 deputies
  4. Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (Demokratska stranka upokojencev Slovenije, DESUS) – 7 deputies
  5. Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (Liberalna demokracija Slovenije, LDS) – 5 deputies
  6. The coalition of Slovenian People's Party (Slovenska ljudska stranka, SLS) and the non-parliamentary Youth Party of Slovenia (Stranka mladih Slovenije, SMS) – 5 deputies
  7. Slovene National Party (Slovenska nacionalna stranka, SNS) – 5 deputies
  8. One representative of the Hungarian minority
  9. One representative of the Italian minority.

However, in 2011 it foundered on the deepening European financial crisis. A new Slovenian law on small work, which had been vigorously opposed by unions and youth organisations, was roundly defeated in a national referendum in April 2011 with a surprisingly high ‘no’ vote of more than 80%. The outcome was seen as a clear vote of no-confidence in the government, and it was then defeated again in July in a triple referendum on crucial economic policies such as pension reform and the prevention of undeclared work (SI1106019I).

Against a background of mounting public debt - which by the end of 2010 stood at 13.6bn euros, or 37.9% of GDP - this setback to its plans threw the ruling coalition into disarray. It collapsed in September 2011 after losing a confidence vote in parliament, triggering early elections.

A parliamentary election for the 90 deputies to the National Assembly of Slovenia was held on 4 December 2011. This was the first snap election in Slovenia's history.

Positive Slovenia (PS), the centre-left party led by Serbian Zoran Janković, Mayor of Ljubljana, emerged as the surprise victor. Although it only had a narrow two-seat lead over its nearest rival, the result had confounded expectations that the electorate would shift to the right. The centre-right Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) led by Janez Janša (Prime Minister from 2004–2008), which had topped all public opinion polls ahead of the election, came second with 26% of the vote.

Seven parties had won seats in parliament:

Two seats are constitutionally allocated to one representative of the Italian minority and one from the Hungarian minority.

Positive Slovenia is not the only new party to have performed well in the election. The conservative LGV, winner of eight Assembly seats, was also formed just weeks before polling day.

Three parties previously in parliament, Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS), Zares, and the Slovenian National Party (SNS) have lost all their seats, all securing less than 4% of the vote. However, the N.Si has returned to the Assembly after losing its seats in the 2008 election.

Janković, then the most likely candidate for Prime Minister, had to seek partners to form a centre-left coalition government consisting of PS, SD, LGV and DeSUS. Janković, who managed Slovenia's largest food retailer Mercator before becoming mayor of Ljubljana in 2006, had previously ruled out a coalition with Janša's SDS. The small parties proved to be crucial in forming a coalition, as PS’s natural allies alone had too few votes to build a government. PS and SD together had 38 votes, while the right bloc had 36.

After Slovenia entered the new year without an operational government Zoran Jankoviæ, the head of winning Positive Slovenia (PS), was appointed as PM-designate. However, he had not been able to get enough support to form a majority in parliament with his coalition agreement after coalition talks with a smaller LGV failed, leaving Slovenia in political limbo.. He only had the SD, the third largest party, on his side.

Just before Christmas holidays, the SDS sent a draft coalition agreement of its own to the Nsi, the LGV, the SLS and the DeSUS. Later on these five partties formed a new centre-right coalition.

On 28 January 2012 the National Assembly endorsed Janez Janša for prime minister-elect by 51 votes to 39, opening the door for Slovenia to get a full-fledged government after weeks of political deadlock in the wake of early elections. On 10 February 2012 the National Assembly (the Parliament) confirmed the cabinet of Janez Janša in a 50-10 vote completing the formation of the 10th Slovenian government following the 4 December general election. Janez Janša officially took over from Borut Pahor as Slovenia's new prime minister after members of the new centre-right cabinet had been sworn in. This marked the end of political crisis in Slovenia Janša had told parliament his coalition would work on three key priorities: stabilising Slovenia's public finances, restarting the economy and enabling job growth. The opposition PS and SD were not convinced but promised to be a constructive opposition.

The new government has to be a government of reform facing the challenge of turning around Slovenia's economy, which slided into a new recession and risks a further credit rating downgrade. At first, the government will have to prepare a supplementary budget and public sector austerity measures package and submitt the draft to the Economic and Social Council of Slovenia (Ekonomsko socialni svet Slovenije, ESSS) for discussion and negotiations. Most likely the fiercest oponents of these measures will be public sector trade unions.

At the noment the measures that the social partners are to agree on are divided into three sections. The first one will affect the public administration and includes merging of several government agencies, management of state-owned real estate, lowering of travel costs to public office holders and cutting of funds for political parties and religious communities. The second group of measures is aimed at the public sector and involves changes to the rules on hiring, norms in education and prices of health services and medicines, but also regulates public sector pay. The third section refers to investments and state subsidies. The money for investments this year should come exclusively from EU funds.

Presidential elections in 2012

In the secon half of 2012 the elections of the President of the Republic of Slovenia will be held. The role of president is largely ceremonial, but carries authority in defence and foreign affairs.

Leftist Danilo Tuerk won the presidential runoff elections in November 2007 ahead of a government-backed conservative. Mr Turk was a diplomat and academic before running for the presidency. He garnered 68% of votes compared with the 32% gained by his rival, former prime minister Lojze Peterle. Most probably Mr Tuerk will be the candidate again in the 2012 elections.

Mr Tuerk has spent most of his career abroad. He was Slovenia's ambassador to the United Nations from 1992, when the country gained international recognition, until 2000, when he became an assistant to the then UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. He returned to Slovenia in 2005.

2. Legislative developments

Please give brief details of important legislative developments with implications for industrial relations and working conditions, where these are not covered in other sections of your response. For example, this might include new or amended legislation on issues such as employment rights, working time, pay and conditions of employment, termination of contract, equality, social security (with implications for the employment relationship), training, new forms of work, the labour market, health and safety etc.

The amount of gross minimum wage determined

According to the Law on Minimum Wage (LMW) (adopted 11 February 2010; Article 6 and Article 10, third paragraph) on 6 January 2011the minister responsible for labour determined the amount of minimum wage and the transitional of minimum wage. The amount of gross minimum wage for the work of full working time and valid for all economic sectors amounted from 1 January 2011 on to €748.10. The transitional amount of gross minimum wage for the work of full working time amounted from 1 January 2011 on to €698.27.

On 13 January 2012 the the minisster responsible for labour determined that the amount of gross minimum wage for the work of full working time amounted from 1 January 2012 on to €763.06.

The Agreement between Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on the employment of BiH citizens in Slovenia and the implementation of the Agreement signed

In July 2011 on the meeting between the Minister of Labour, Family and Social Affairs, Ivan Svetlik, the Slovenian Minister for Labour, Family and Social Affairs, and the Minister of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sredoje Nović, the Ministers also signed an Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Slovenia and the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on the employment of the BiH citizens in Slovenia and the implementation of the Agreement.

 

The Agreement (SI1109039I) comprehensively regulates the conditions (for example conditions to get unemployment benefit) and procedures of employment and seasonal employment for migrant workers coming from BiHin Slovenia. It stipulates the general principles for managing relations between the parties to the Agreement regarding employment in Slovenia, which consider the reference framework of EU policy on comprehensive migration policy, emphasising the strengthening of partner dialogue with third countries, the significance of circular migration, lessening the effect of the brain drain, ethical staffing, etc. With this agreement, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have taken a new step towards improving the position of migrant workers in Slovenia, particularly because jobs will be dealt with by the Employment Service, so workers will receive information about their employers in advance, and recruiting will no longer be done through informal networks.

 

Upon signing the Agreement on employment, Mr Svetlik also stressed the significance of promptly implementing the Agreement on social security which was signed by the ministers in December 2010 and ratified by the Slovenia National Assembly in March 2011, but which needed to be ratified by Bosnia and Herzegovina for it to be implemented ( SI1109039I). This enabled Bosnian workers without permanent residence in Slovenia to receive financial compensation (unemployment benefit) when they are unemployed, after meeting some conditions. 

The new Law on European Works Councils (LEWC) Adopted

On  14 June 2011 the parliament (the State Assembly) adopted the new Law on Works Councils (LEWC). The new LEWC transfers into the legal order of the republic of Slovenia the Directive 2009/38/EC from 6 May 2009. It defines more exactly the terms information and consultation and eliminates some unclarities. It also gives greater role to the union representatives engaged as outside experts (about the old LWC see SI0208103F).

No EWC exists yet in Slovenia which would have its seat in Slovenia although some companies fulfill conditions to found a EWC. According to the Union of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia (ZSSS) in 2011 there were four companies where a EWC could be founded but management feared new costs during the economic crisis. However, there are some companies where there are EWC members. These companies are owned by foreignn companies where EWCs are established.

The new Law on Employment and Work of Aliens (LEWA) adopted

On 29 March 2011 the parliament adopted the new Law on Employment and Work of Aliens (alien: a person without citizenship of the Republic of Slovenia) (LEWA) (Employment and Work of Aliens Act, unofficial translation)). The new LEWA sets out the conditions under which aliens may be employed or work (for example work permits, accommodation of the aliens, obligations of the employers and others) and related tasks of the Republic of Slovenia for the regulation and protection of the labour market. It also says that the parliament (the National Assembly) shall establish the bases for the policy on employment and work of aliens by a resolution on migration policy, which shall be carried out in accordance with this Act and with international treaties binding in the Republic of Slovenia.

The new Law on Health and Safety at Work (LHSW) adopted

On 24 May 2011the parliament (the National Assembly) adopted the new Law on Health and Safety at Work (LHSW) (Law on Health and Safety at Work (unofficial translation)). It lays down the rights and duties of employers and workers with respect to healthy and safe work and measures to ensure health and safety at work (mutual information and consultation of employers andd workers, employer’s financial obligations, education and training concerning health and safety at work and other issues). It also transposes into the legal order of the Republic of Slovenia the Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work, which was amended by Regulation (EC) No 1137/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2008. Furthermore, it also partially transposes into the Slovene legal order the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council 2006/123/EC of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market (OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, p. 36).

3. Organisation and role of the social partners

Please provide brief details of any major changes in the organisation and role of the social partners in your country during 2011. This might include trade union or employers’ organisation mergers, changes to social dialogue structures, or changes in membership levels and representativeness.

On 5 July 2011, a group of subcontractors in the construction sector founded a new chamber, or employer organisation (SI1107019I). The new Chamber for the Construction Sector (ZGS) is a sectoral employer organisation and as such is independent and not a member of any umbrella organisation. It now competes with the old reformed ZGS, which has been accused of not supporting the subcontractors when they organised several protests across Slovenia against the state-owned motorway company DARS, which owes them €9 million for completed work. The subcontractors decided to leave the old organisation and found the new ZGS.

According to a Cranet survey conducted in 2001, works councils were present in nearly 77% of surveyed companies with more than 200 employees. By 2004 a Cranet survey of larger companies found that works councils were present in less than 64% of companies, which indicates a substantial decrease. Given the high proportion of SMEs in the Slovenian economy, an estimate by the ZSSS that in 2011 about 50% of Slovenian employees are represented by works council and/or local trade union organisation seems realistic.

For Slovenia the EIRO comparative study (EIRO 2010) estimated that 43% of workplaces with 10 or more employees have a union and or a works council representing some or all of the employees. 68% of employees were covered by a union and/or a works council (this proportion is always higher than establishment coverage because of the predominance of larger companies in employment terms).

In Slovenia the trade union density rate (TUDR) declined sharply between the years 1991 and 2008. TUDR fell first from practically 100% before 1990 to 66.5% in 1991. In 1994 the TUDR fell to 63.5%. The September 1994 survey found that 59.6% of the total active population were members of trade unions (and 4.6% of the non-active population), and 63.5% of all employed persons (23.3% of unemployed people). Some 54.9% of 'white-collar' workers and 75.9% of 'blue-collar' workers were union members. In 1999 the TUDR declined to about 42% (according to another telephone survey). In 2003 the trade union density rate was 43.7% and it fell to 26.6% in 2008. Our estimate is that the downward trend of the trade union density rates continued during 2010 and especially during 2011 because of the economic crisis and a strong restructuring process (an explosion of bancrupcies) that the whole Slovenian economy is going through.

The ECS 20009 Report says that Slovenia has medium to high coverage of employee representation structures compared with Europe as a whole, with 42 of the establishments involved in the ECS 2009 survey and 66% of workers being covered by some form of body, and a further 15% of establishments using ad hoc representation when necessary. Trade unions have the highest incidence of single-channel representation (23% of establishments covering 25% of employees). In terms of employee coverage, dual-channel representation is most widespread (15% of establishments with 39% of employees). Works councils as single channel representative bodies are very rare, and occur predominantly in smaller establishments (4% of establishments, covering only 2% of employees).

The coverage in public services in general is substantially higher than in private services (92% and 43% respectively), while the production sector falls somewhere in between (65%). In very small enterprises with fewer than 20 employees the coverage is only 27%, but it rises to 60% and more in bigger enterprises, reaching 85% in companies with 250 or more employees. Trade union representation is particularly high in public services. The union scene is Slovenia is also fairly consolidated, with 76% of establishments reporting the presence of only one union.

Also here our estimate is that, similarly as the downward trend of the trade union density rates continued during 2010 and especially during 2011, there was the downward trend of the coverage of employee representation structures during 2010 and espacially during 2011 when the economic crisis and a strong restructuring process (an explosion of bancrupcies) intensified.

4. Developments in collective bargaining and social dialogue

Please give details of the number of collective agreements negotiated in 2011 by level (eg. national, sectoral, company), compared with numbers of agreements negotiated in 2010. Outline any trends/shifts between levels of bargaining, or changes in bargaining coverage.

  • To what extent are there derogations from collective agreements? Describe any trends in terms of derogations.
  • If there have been any major bipartite or tripartite initiatives at national level, please provide details. (Do not include initiatives which deal specifically with the economic situation as these should be covered in question 5)
  • Other conditions of employment (these might include training and skills, job security, occupational pensions, equal opportunities and diversity issues)

Information on developments in pay and working time in the course of 2011 is being collected in the Annual Updates on working time and pay, and therefore does not need to be reported here.

It is impossible to obtain an overall picture of bargaining activity and to analyse collective agreements in Slovenia as there is no central register/archive of collective agreements (SI0401102F). No data exist on company collective agreements.

According to the Law on Collective Agreements (LCA) (SI0604029I) the collective agreements concluded for the whole country are entered into the Records of Collective Agreements kept by the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs (Ministrstvo za delo, družino in socialne zadeve, MDDSZ) (SI0703019Q). On 8 April 2012 the records contained the following 45 collective agreements covering practically the whole economy:

  1. Collective Agreement of the Activity of Commerce of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba dejavnosti trgovine Slovenije), extended validity, ( SI0711019I) (SI0604019I);
  2. Collective Agreement for Agriculture and Food Processing Industry of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba za kmetijstvo in živilsko industrijo Slovenije);
  3. Collective Agreement on the Pay Adjustment Method, the Refund of Work-related Expenses and the Annual Leave Bonus (Kolektivna pogodba o načinu usklajevanja plač, povračilu stroškov v zvezi z delom in regresu za letni dopust), (SI0607039I);
  4. Collective Agreement Between Workers and Private Employers (Kolektivna pogodba med delavci in zasebnimi delodajalci), cancelled, the Supreme court of Slovenia decided that the cancellation of this collective agreement was legal;
  5. Collective Agreement of the Construction Activities (Kolektivna pogodba gradbenih dejavnosti);
  6. Collective Agreement of the Communual Activities of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba komunalnih dejavnosti Slovenije);
  7. Collective Agreement of Activities of Catering and tourism of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba dejavnosti gostinstva in turizma Slovenije), (SI0709019I);
  8. Collective Agreement for the Activities of Metal Materials and Foundries of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba za dejavnost kovinskih materialov in livarn Slovenije, extended validit y);
  9. Collective Agreement of Cellulose, Paper and Paper Processing Activities (Kolektivna pogodba celulozne, papirne in papirno predelovalne dejavnosti);
  10. Collective Agreement of Graphic Activities (Kolektivna pogodba grafične dejavnosti);
  11. Collective Agreement for the Activities of Electro Industry of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba za dejavnost elektroindustrije Slovenije – extended validity);
  12. Collective Agreement of the Newspaper-Informative, Publishing and Bookselling Activities (Kolektivna pogodba časopisno-informativne, založniške in knjigotrške dejavnosti);
  13. Collective Agreement for the Metal industry of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba za Kovinsko Industrijo Slovenije); extended validity;
  14. Collective Agreement for the Insurance Sector of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba za zavarovalstvo Slovenije);
  15. Collective Agreement for the Activity of Road Construction and Maintenance (Kolektivna pogodba dejavnosti cestnega gospodarstva);
  16. Collective Agreement for the Activities of Extraction and Processing of Non-metal Ores of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba za dejavnosti pridobivanja in predelave nekovinskih rudnin Slovenije) – cancelled in 2010;
  17. Collective Agreement for the activities of Textiles, Clothing, Leather and Leather Processing (Kolektivna pogodba za tekstilne, oblačilne, usnjarske in usnjarsko predelovalne dejavnosti) (SI0610029I) – extended validity;
  18. Collective Agreement for Wood Processing of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba za lesarstvo Slovenije);
  19. Collective Agreement for Road Passenger Transport of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba za cestni potniški promet Slovenije) – extended validity;
  20. Collective Agreement for the Chemical and Rubber Industry of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba za kemično in gumarsko industrijo Slovenije) – extended validity;
  21. Collective Agreement for Health and Social Care Activities of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba za dejavnost zdravstva in socialnega varstva Slovenije);
  22. Collective Agreement for Non-economic Activities in the Republic of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba za negospodarske dejavnosti v Republiki Sloveniji);
  23. Collective Agreement on the Shaping of Pension Plan for Public Employees (Kolektivna pogodba o oblikovanju pokojninskega načrta za javne uslužbence);
  24. Collective Agreement for the Activities of Leading and Control of Air Traffic (Kolektivna pogodba za dejavnost vodenja in kontrole zračnega prometa) – company agreement;
  25. Collective Agreement for the Employees in Health Care (Kolektivna pogodba za zaposlene v zdravstveni negi);
  26. Collective Agreement for the Activities of Railway Traffic (Kolektivna pogodba za dejavnost železniškega prometa);
  27. Collective Agreement for the Coalmining of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba premogovništva Slovenije);
  28. Collective Agreement of the Electricity Industry of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba elektrogospodarstva Slovenije);
  29. Collective Agreement for the Forestry of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba za gozdarstvo Slovenije);
  30. Collective Agreement for the Public Sector (Kolektivna pogodba za javni sektor);
  31. Collective Agreement on Common Methodology for Placing Orientation Work Places and Titles into Pay Classes (Kolektivna pogodba o skupni metodologiji za uvrščanje orientacijskih delovnih mest in nazivov v plačne razrede);
  32. Collective Agreement for State Administration, Administration of Judicial Authorities and Administration of Self-managed Local Communities (Kolektivna pogodba za državno upravo, uprave pravosodnih organov in uprave samoupravnih lokalnih skupnosti);
  33. Collective Agreement for the Activity of Kindergardens and Education in the Republic of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba za dejavnost vzgoje in izobraževanja v Republiki Sloveniji);
  34. Collective Agreement for Doctors and Dentists in the Republic of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba za zdravnike in zobozdravnike v Republiki Sloveniji);
  35. Collective Agreement for Cultural Activities in the Republic of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba za kulturne dejavnosti v Republiki Sloveniji);
  36. Collective Agreement for Research Activities (Kolektivna pogodba za raziskovalno dejavnost);
  37. Collective Agreement for the Activities of Compulsory Social Security (Kolektivna pogodba za dejavnost obvezne socialne varnosti);
  38. Collective Agreement for the Activities of Professional Fire Fighting (Kolektivna pogodba za dejavnost poklicnega gasilstva);
  39. Collective Agreement for the Activities of Environment and Physical Surface (Kolektivna pogodba za dejavnost okolja in prostora);
  40. Collective Agreement for the Activities of Agriculture (Kolektivna pogodba za kmetijsko dejavnost);
  41. Collective Agreement for the Activities of Forestry (Kolektivna pogodba za gozdarsko dejavnost);
  42. Collective Agreement for Craft and Business (Kolektivna pogodba za obrt in podjetništvo);
  43. Collective Agreement for Post and Courier Activities (Kolektivna pogodba za poštne in kurirske dejavnosti);
  44. Collective Agreement for the Banking and Savings Bank Activities in the Republic of Slovenia (Kolektivna pogodba dejavnosti bank in hranilnic v Republiki Sloveniji).
  45. Collective Agreement Between Workers and Small Scale Companies (Kolektivna pogodba med delavci in družbami drobnega gospodarstva).

Two out of 45 collective agreements were cancelled. Five of the remaining 43 in force are intersectoral covering specific issues, public sector, certain groups of employers etc. Others concern different wider or narrower sectors or occupations. 23 of these agreements concern the private sector (no. 1-20, 29, 38, 42 and 45), three concern public sector industries (public companies in electricity- no. 28, coal mining- no. 27, and railways- no. 26), five concern public sector services and 13 agreements concern public sector social services. From time to time they are amended or their pay part negotiated anew (most often annually in August). After the new LCA came into force on 6 May 2006, 45 of these agreements were amended or negotiated anew and 38 in 2008. The number of collective agreements which acquired extended validity increased from two to six.

There is also a small list of collective agreements which were concluded before the LCA came into force. Those which were not cancelled will be entered into the Records of Collective Agreements at the first change or conclusion of the new collective agreement:

  1. General Collective Agreement for the Private Sector - cancelled as of 30 September 2005 (Splošna kolektivna pogodba za gospodarske dejavnosti – odpovedana s 30.septembrom 2005) (SI0510306N);
  2. Collective Agreement for the Activities of Real Estate Business (Kolektivna pogodba za dejavnost poslovanja z nepremičninami);
  3. Collective Agreement for the Activities of Private Security - cancelled in 2007 (Kolektivna pogodba za dejavnost zasebnega varovanja – odpovedana 2007);
  4. Collective Agreement for Journalists (Kolektivna pogodba za poklicne novinarje)(SI0410302F) (SI0410301N, valid only for the public broadcaster Radio and Television Slovenia);

After six months of negotiations between management and trade unions in 10 Primorje construction company subsidiaries, a new company collective agreement was concluded on 11 January 2012 in Primorje construction company (SI1202019I). It gave employees better working conditions than the sectoral collective agreement for construction sector. This agreement was an important step towards successful restructuring of Primorje. Although similar to the collective agreement that was in force from June 2006 to the 4 January 2011, the new agreement's amendments define all relationships between management and workers more precisely than before.

5. Responses to the economic situation

With regard to the current economic situation, please give brief details of:

  • cross-sectoral and sectoral level initiatives, the responses of the social partners in your country, with a focus on any bipartite or tripartite initiatives to tackle any economic problems;
  • government responses to the economic situation with an impact on industrial relations and on labour law;
  • and any significant effects of the economic situation on the industrial relations system.

If initiatives have been reported in an earlier Annual Review, please provide an update.

The Government and the Social Partners discuss the Sale of State Assets

As a response to the economic crisis in 2011 the previous government prepared the strategy on the management of state-owned companies that envisaged the privatisation of key state holdings. The strategy was being put together by the State Capital Assets Management Agency (AUKN).

The strategy envisaged the privatisation of key state holdings, such as that in the NLB and NKBM banks and insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav, but under specific conditions, including that the state retain a controlling stake.

On 17 June 2011 the Economic and Social Council of Slovenia (ESSS), the country's main forum for tripartite cooperation, discussed the draft version of the strategy. The government faced the opposition of social partners.Both unions and employers opposed the sale of state assets. However, considering Slovenia's financial situation, they believed that the sale of state assets could not be avoided.

The strategy was not put innto practice because the centre-left government lost confidence vote in the parliament in September 2011due to failed attempts to introduce sructural reforms to counter the economic crisis. The first premature elections were then held on 4 December 2011and a new centre-right government was formed.in February 2012 (see above).

Draft supplementary budget endorsed

On 14 July 2011 the government endorsed a draft supplementary budget for 2011 envisaging EUR 360m in savings. The total spending cuts were less than initially planned in the blueprint of the document that has been debated since late June, which envisaged savings of EUR 450-500m. The draft austerity plan envisaged spending of EUR 9.65bn compared to a little over EUR 10bn in the original 2011 budget. Revenues in the supplementary budget were planned to stand at EUR 7.95bn, down from EUR 8.3bn in the original budget for the year. The document envisaged savings of around 1% for labour costs and 4% for material costs. Additionally, some non-essential investments were curbed.

 

The biggest cuts were proposed for the Transport Ministry, where spending is to be slashed by EUR 128.2m to EUR 537.1m. Among the main cuts at the department are for road maintenance provided by the Roads Directorate, which will see its budget shrink by EUR 40.4m to EUR 187.8m.

 

Some of the ministries would obtain additional funding, foremost the Labour Ministry, which wouldl be provided an additional EUR 142.5m for unemployment benefits due to the higher-than-expected unemployment rate.

The government submitted a draft restructured government budget to parliament with a package of intervention measures to address the budget deficit (SI1109019I). Among other things the Law on Intervention Measures to Tackle Economic Crisis included the following measures concerning the public sector:

  • a ban on recruitment in the public sector until the end of 2012;
  • not replacing recently retired workers;
  • a cut in the 2011 public sector pay budget of 1% of the 2010 figure;
  • the possibility of moving workers from one to post to another, and a ban on promotions and premium payments;
  • no outsourcing of work in the public sector, except by universities and research institutes;
  • €4,000 fine for those who exceed the pay budget.

When discussing the draft, the parliamentary committee for local self-management added an amendment, cutting the pay of the 160,000 public sector employees by 4%. The Confederaton of Public Sector Trade Unions (KSJS), announced that in case of the pay cuts, the whole public sector would go on strike (SI1109019I). The pay was not cut and there was no strike in 2011.

National referendums against the reforms

In 2011 the government of Borut Pahor foundered on the deepening European financial crisis. A new law on small work (a paid periodical work or permanent temporarily limited work of people such as students, pensioners, and unemployed people), which had been vigorously opposed by unions and youth organisations, was roundly defeated in a national referendum in April 2011 with a surprisingly high ‘no’ vote of more than 80%. The outcome was seen as a clear vote of no-confidence in the government, and it was then defeated again in July in a triple referendum on crucial economic policies such as pension reform and the prevention of undeclared work (SI1106019I). Against a background of mounting public debt - which by the end of 2010 stood at 13.6bn euros, or 37.9% of GDP - this setback to its plans threw the ruling coalition into disarray. It collapsed in September 2011.

On 21 September 2011 the National Assembly voted out the cabinet led by Borut Pahor in a 36-51 confidence vote on paving the way for a snap poll in Slovenia in the winter. The outcome of the confidence vote had largely been expected as Pahor, who has been leading a minority government since June, struggled to find votes for a necessary cabinet overhaul following the departure of two of the four coalition partners. In a showdown with his critics in parliament, who have repeatedly accused him of not being up to the task, Pahor made one last appeal against a full-blown "paralysing political crisis" in Slovenia in a time of mounting debt problems in the eurozone. But the majority opinion in the parliamentary benches was that the minority government was already paralysed and that Slovenia needed a strong government formed based on the outcome of fresh elections.

Fiscal austerity bill passed

On 23 December 2011 the National Assembly unanimously passed a fiscal austerity bill to keep social benefits, pensions and public sector pay frozen at 2010 levels in the first half of 2012, securing €65 million in immediate savings. The bill was the result of a concerted effort by the outgoing government and parties forming the new parliament which, headed by Speaker Gregor Virant and prospective PM-designate Zoran Jankovic, hammered out a compromise with the social partners in a matter of days. The first motion to be passed by the new parliament, the law stipulates that salaries of public employees and officials, pensions and social transfers, with the exception of unemployment allowance will remain frozen in the first half of 2012. estimated that the law would bring about €65 million in immediate savings. These would amount to €260-300 million if the freeze was valid throughout the year 2012 as initially proposed. But this attempt at enacting a freeze that would prevent the rises agreed in 2008 to go ahead failed.

However, this first package of austerity measures was far from bringing enough immediate savings. It was followed in 2012 by a second package with much more radical cuts where immediate savings would amount to more than €800 million in order to diminish budget deficit from 6% to 3%.

6 Developments in working conditions

Please report the most important developments in the field of working conditions and quality of work and employment during 2011 in your country. The following topics should be taken into consideration:

  • career and employment security – including job security, income, information, consultation and participation and equal opportunities;
  • health and well-being of workers – including health problems, risk exposure, impact of changes in work organisation, and violence, harassment and discriminations;
  • developing skills and competences – including qualifications, skills and competences, career prospects and training opportunities
  • work-life balance – including issues such as working time, time management at work and social infrastructures.

For answering this question, please make use of all national sources of data on working conditions such as national surveys, quantitative and qualitative research and administrative reports (for example, from the labour inspectorate or health and safety authorities). Please report also on policies, programmes or initiatives implemented at national and regional/local levels by public institutions and social partners. Please make sure you are not reporting the information already provided in question 2.

On 1 January 2011 a new Law on Labour Market Regulation (LLMR) came into force and strengthened the role of Employment Service of Slovenia (ESS) in implementing active employment policy measures.

Data for 2010 shows that 75,457 unemployed persons were included in AEP measures (35.7% more than in year 2009) and a similar trend is continuing for the first nine months of 2011 (37,178 unemployed included).

Career and employment security

Employment Service of Slovenia provides advice and assistance in finding employment and promotes employment and self-employment aimed at long-term unemployed, recipients of unemployment benefit and social assistance, unemployed aged 50 years and more, young up to 25 years, first time job seekers (mainly those without formal education), disabled, Roma and other unemployed persons with identified employment barriers and workers in the process of job loss.

In the first nine months of 2011, ESS provided advice and assistance in finding employment to 11,476 unemployed persons (16,203 unemployed in 2010), while in the promotion of employment and self-employment 11,653 unemployed were included (24,482 unemployed in 2010). In November 2011 ESS under the first measure carried out the following sub-activities: assistance in career planning and job search (139 people included), involvement of unemployed in the new development projects (12 people included), experimental programs to assist in career planning and job search (463 people included). Under the second measure the following sub-activities were implemented: project “Employ me” (376 people included) and reimbursement of employer`s contributions (9 people included).

Developing skills and competences

According to data from the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SORS), 6650 Slovene enterprises out of 9202 enterprises were in year 2010 training enterprises; 786 enterprises provided initial vocational training and 4294 enterprises provided continuing vocational training courses (CVT) for 281.961 employees. Data from the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs shows that skills development and training activities programmes in the period from 2008 till 2011 included 308 employers and 7045 employees. In June 2011, Slovene Human Resources Development and Scholarship Fund announced a public invitation for the implementation of projects within the programme “Training and education of employees in 2011” and 1100 companies came forward to this public invitation. Other two Fund`s projects are “Competence centres for HR development” and “Life-long career orientation for employers and employees”. The aim of competence centres is to encourage co-operation among companies, to develop a competence model for defining sectoral competence profiles for specific professions and to contribute to the reduction of deficits in the competencies of employees by providing target oriented trainings. Fund in 2011 co-financed 7 competence centres with 100 members of which 93 were companies and 7 were organizations. For the period 2011-2014, Fund envisaged to help to establish and implement 15 competence centres that would include 200 member companies and provide training programmes for 4.000 employees. The purpose of the life-long career orientation is to focus on the development of personal skills for self management, planning and career development in line with personal life goals, abilities and interests of employees. Fund envisaged involvement up to 300 companies and up to 8.000 employees in the life-long career orientation programmes for the period 2011-2015.

Health and well-being of workers

Labour Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia (IRS) reports that employers in 2011 for safety and health at work devoted fewer resources than in 2010, while workers complained over preoccupation with work tasks and over inadequate working conditions, especially the light and cold in winter and too high temperatures in warm time. Labour inspectors in 2011 recorded 12,154 work-related accidents, of which 20 were fatal (mostly metalworkers, construction workers and public defence employees). Data on violations of health and safety at work (15,857 cases) is only available for 2010 and mostly covers training of workers on work safety, preventive health checks, Safety statement with risk assessment, provision and use of personal protective equipment and regulation of employment in the open.

Work-life balance

According to data from the Labour Force Survey (SORS) on reconciliation between work and family life in Slovenia fathers are becoming more active in taking care of and educating their children, using paternity leave and being present at childbirth. According to SORS, 74% of fathers in the 2nd quarter of 2010 took maternity (3 months) or paternity leave (15 days) when the youngest child was born and the number is constantly increasing. Data from the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs (MDDSZ) shows, that the share of fathers who used less than 15 days of paternity leave increased from 17,534 in 2009 to 18,042 in 2010, the share of fathers with more than 15 days of paternity leave (unpaid leave) increased from 3,329 in 2009 to 3,734 in 2010 and the share of fathers using childcare leave increased from 1,382 in 2009 to 1,415 in 2010. The share of parents working part time due to parenting is also increasing, from 9,000 persons in 2010 to 10,300 persons in 2011.

7. Industrial action (200 words)

Please give brief details of strikes and other industrial action during 2011, including:

  • statistics on the number of strikes, workers involved and working days lost (absolute number and per 1,000 workers) for as much of 2011 as is available (please indicate briefly what types of action are or are not included in these figures – eg. are only strikes with a minimum number of workers or days lost included, or is only “official” action included?), and how this compares with previous years; and
  • any particularly large or significant strikes/lockouts or other disputes;

No reliable official data on strikes

No reliable official data on strikes exist in Slovenia. Formerly, the main source of information was the Association of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia (Zveza svobodnih sindikatov Slovenije, ZSSS) (SI0903029Q) (SI0210102F, SI0703019Q), which produced figures on strikes for their own purposes and needs.

Until few years ago the ZSSS produced figures on strikes organised in individual companies by its sectoral member unions (SI0211101F, SI0403103F). Therefore the ZSSS data did not include the general strikes, strikes organised by other unions, strikes in the public sector etc. It was not possible to calculate the number of working days lost per 1,000 workers. Afew years ago the author of this report was informed by the ZSSS that they stopped the pteparation of their reports on strikes because the strikes were practically non-existent in this period.

New principles on the collection of data on strikes and on the resolution of labour disputes

In December 2007, the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs (Ministrstvo za delo, družino in socialne zadeve, MDDSZ) adopted the Instruction on the Content and Manner of Reporting of the Data on the Methods of Resolution of Collective Labour Disputes at the Employer. In 2008 the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (Statistični urad republike Slovenije, SURS) began to collect data on disputes including strikes with the new system.

These data on strikes would be comparable to the data in the EU and the methodology in accordance with the documents of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Eurostat recommendations. The data would be collected for each calendar year and would include: data on the employer (activity and location), number of workers involved, duration, cause, costs of the strike and other data. However, the employers practically did not sent back the questionnaires on collective labour disputes (very poor reply rate) and thhis project failed.

Preparation of the new Law on Strikes

The Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs (Ministrstvo za delo, družino in socialne zadeve, MDDSZ) planned to prepare the new Law on Strikes (LS), which should be discussed by the government in October 2009 and the parliament in March 2010 (regarding the existing Law see SI0211101F). This did not happen and the draft LS was only in 2011in preparation. The experts were also discussing the proposal for a paragraph which should say that the employers are obliged to send SURS information on strikes by filling the questionnaires provided. The work on this Law did not continue because the centre-left government lost confidence vote in the parliament in September 2011due to failed attempts to introduce sructural reforms to counter the economic crisis. The first premature elections were then held on 4 December 2011and a new centre-right government was formed.in February 2012 (see above). Until now the new government did not continue the work on this Law.

However, during the economic crisis there were many strikes in companies which were fighting for survival and were on the verge of the bancrupcy. In such companies there were big problems of wage arrears. The workers were left without any financial means for survival and pressed the management to decide on the fate of the company to be able to get at least the unemployment benefits. However, the management (often the owner of the company which management took over by management buy-out) delayed the bancrupcy as much as possible with false promises of new strategic partner which never appeared etc. The longer the delay of the bancrupcy lasted the more vulnerable situation the workers faced. Such was the strike in the company TVM (employing 140 workers) which began at the beginning of 2011.

At the end of December 2011 a long strike in the company Elektro Primorska began because the employer did not respect the collective agreement.

On 29 July 2011 a big and long strike in the state owned company Luka Koper (Port of Koper) began. The reasons for strike were catasthrophical working conditions of port workers.

On 27 October 2011 arouns 140 nurses employed in the University Clinical Center of Ljubljana (UKC), department for intensive care, went on strike. The reason for strike was non-rrespect of contracts of employment and concerned the pay.

On 24 August 2011 the workers of the company Karoserije in the city of Maribor went on srike again. With interruptions the strike already lasted for around two months. The reasons were huge wage arrears.

In July 2011 the 270 workers of the Konstruktor construction company went on strike which lasted more than a month. The reasons were huge wage arrears and the management delayed the bankrupcy for a long time (see above).

In April 2011 142 workers of company Vemont went on strike. Vemont was one of the last still functining daughter companies of big Vegrad conctruction company which went bankrupt. They got the last wage for January 2011 and could not apply for unemployment benefit at the Employment Service of Republic of Slovenia (ZZRS) because Vemont did not have the dirrector (CEO) and therefore could not went bankrupt (banccrupcy of the company was the condition was the condition that workers could apply for unemployment benefit – see above).

In April 2011 the workers of the company Rotomatika went on strike. The reason was very low pay of production workers. When a new company collective agreement was concluded the strike was over.

On 28 March 2011 around 90 workers of the Gradis Gradnje construction company in the city of Ptuj went on strike. Te reasons were huge wage arrears – see above.

On 18 March 2011 the workers of company Novoles went on strike. The causes were wage arrears.

On 26 January 2011 the workers of company Lipa Plus went on strike. The reasons were big wage arrears.

On 25 February 2011 the 40 workers of the MTB construction company went on strike. The reasons were wage arrears.

On 21February the workers of the company Pohištvo Brežice went on strike. The reasons were wage arrears.

On 1 February 2011 the dentist assistants and nurses of the public (state) Primary Health Center in the city of Celje ended their strike which lasted from 7 December 2010.

8. Restructuring

Please give brief details of major and significant incidences of company restructuring and workforce reductions in 2011 and how they were dealt with, especially where these led to important industrial disputes or collective agreements, or had other notable industrial relations implications.

By 25 August 2011 the Primorje construction company was on the verge of bankruptcy. Accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers was called in by the banks to examine the company to see if was worth saving. Primorje’s main problem was liquidity, leaving it with no means to buy raw materials and difficulty paying subcontractors. On 15 September 2011 Primorje reached an agreement with its creditors, the banks Nova Ljubljanska Banka, Nova Kreditna Banka Maribor, Abanka and Banka Koper. The banks approved a moratorium on the company’s debt repayment for six months. Management drew up a plan which was expected to make 150 of the company’s 992 workers redundant. Overall at least 400 workers, out of the 2,251 workers were expected to be made redundant. On 3 November 2011, management announced redundancies for 135 workers with permanent contracts and for 35 workers with fixed-term contracts. Eight workers would be given retirement. An agreement on the criteria for the selection of workers for redundancy was concluded. The most important criteria for assessing those who would go were length of service, professional qualification and personal mark (this is the assassmen of how well the worker performed his work). The redundant workers would have the right to a severance pay, although it was not clear where would Primorje would get the money to pa them. A new company collective agreement was concluded on 11 January 2012 (SI1202019I)

In 2011 the crisis in the construction industry in Slovenia (SI0207102N) intensified. Eurostat reports that among the 14 Member States for which data were available in May 2011, construction output fell in nine countries and rose in five. The largest decreases were registered in:

  • Slovenia (-30.1%);
  • Spain (-17.3%);
  • Bulgaria (-16.5%).

The highest increases were in:

  • Poland (+24.7%);
  • Sweden (+11.2%);
  • Germany (+8.0%).

Of Slovenia’s three biggest construction companies, two (Vegrad, SCT) went bankrupt and the third (Primorje) is fighting for survival. Consequently, subcontractors had not been paid and many of these also went bankrupt. Even so, a report (in Slovenian, 88Kb PDF) by Boštjan Vasle, Director of the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (UMAR), explained his belief that the crisis in the construction sector has not yet reached its peak. He expected redundancies to have increased in the second half of 2011, with a resulting increase in the number of unemployed people in Slovenia. Below are some of the cases reported to the European Restructuring Monitor.

Recent bankruptcies in the construction sector

Announcement date

Company

Type of restructuring

Planned job reductions

08-06-2011

SCT d.d.

Bankruptcy

760

10-05-2011

Vemont

Bankruptcy

128

11-03-2011

Gradbeno podjetje Grosuplje (GPG)

Bankruptcy

221

09-03-2011

MTB

Bankruptcy

120

19-02-2011

Cestno podjetje Maribor (CPM)

Bankruptcy

799

26-01-2011

Stavbar Gradnje

Bankruptcy

130

19-01-2011

Gradišče

Bankruptcy

100

22-12-2010

SGP Zasavje

Bankruptcy

134

22-12-2010

SCT Group

Bankruptcy

1071

Source: European Restructuring Monitor

The Public Guarantee and Maintenance Fund, which covers unpaid wages and severance of redundant workers that their companies were unable to pay, paid out a record amount in 2011 as bankruptcies surged. The fund paid 7,205 workers of 162 insolvent companies a total of € 20.6 million or an average of EUR 1,640 per worker. The highest sum, almost €2.5 million, went to workers of construction giant SCT, which went into receivership in June, leaving 722 jobless. SCT is followed by Maribor-based builder CPM, where receivership proceedings started in February. The 663 CPM workers who were left jobless received almost €1.7 million. Some € 1.1 million was disbursed to 330 redundant workers of shipping company Viator & Vektor logistika and over € 1 million to 402 workers of security firm G7.

The second-highest annual sum of € 15.7 million was paid out by the fund in 1998. However, this sum included payouts to workers whose jobs had been terminated since 1994. At this time during the transition period to social-market economy Slovenia lost markets of the former Yugoslavia. Before 1991 about one-third of total Slovenian manufacturing sales was consumed in Slovenia, one-third was exported and one-third was sold in other former Yugoslav republics. After the disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1991 Slovenian firms faced a tremendous shock, as half of the domestic market almost disappeared.

9. Other relevant developments

If there been any other significant developments affecting employment relations in 2011 that have not been mentioned above, please give brief details.

Corruption at the Labour Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia (LIRS)

The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption of the Republic of Slovenia (CPCRS) is an independent state body, like the human rights Ombudsman. In 2011 the CPCRS recommended to the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs (MOLFSA) to check, compare and supervise the Labour Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia (LIRS) activity at those legal subjects with which Borut Brezovar, Chief Labour Inspector (heading and representing the LIRS, organising and coordinating the work of inspectors etc.) was concluding contracts of cooperation or consultation. In such cases there always exists at least a suspicion of contradiction of interests. It is therefore appropriate to check whether the functioning of the LIRS was impartial. In case of irregularities the minister should examine the responsibility of the chief labour inspector inckuding the release from his post.

The CPCRS proposed the release of Borut brezovar from his post because he was involved in several CPCRS procedures where he was suspected of corruptive treatment. He did not take measures in cases of violations of workers rights (systemic giving up acting according to ones duty) in case of construction company Vegrad ond other similar companies (reports concern several companies).He was also suspected of contradiction of interests and corruptive treatment when lecturing and consulting at institutions which LIRS supervised.

In April 2011 the minister for labour released Borut Brezovar from his post.

OECD: Slovenia among World's Hardest Working Nations

According to the Government Communication Office (UVK) in spring 2011 the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released a survey which examined the number of hours the population of its member countries spent in paid and unpaid work and how much they spent in leisure activities. Slovenia ranked among the ten hardest working nations.

 

Slovenia was placed 10th on the list of the most hard working nations with an average of 8.15 hours worked daily, possibly as a result of the fact that Slovenians did three hours and 51 minutes of unpaid work each day, 24 minutes more than the OECD average. Slovenia also had the lowest income inequality in the OECD and low relative income poverty rate. Slovenia registered a big fall in infant mortality in the last generation and has the second lowest rate in the OECD of 2.1 per 1,000 live births, just after Luxembourg.

ZSSS expectations of the new government

When presenting its expectations of the new government at the end of December 2011 the Union of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia (Zveza svobodnih sindikatov Slovenije, ZSSS), Slovenia's biggest trade union confederation, said it was ready to discuss a pension reform and to talk about changes, but in a different way than with the outgoing government. The new pension reform should not focus only on the aspects of the budget and reduction of the deficit. The new pension reform has to be just. If the new government would go too far the ZSSS would fight for the interests of the workers with all available means. The ZSSS is also against individual pension accounts (an idea promoted by the second strongest party in the new parliament Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), led by Janez Janša the new President of the Government). S uch accounts undermine the solidarity of the pension system.

Regarding the budget, the ZSSS said that the government should focus on increasing revenues, not just tackling expenditure. Slovenia needs to change its banking system to boost lending and strengthen the legal system, which encourages banks to advocate bankruptcies instead of salvaging healthy cores of companies. The ZSSS wants new green jobs which would increase competitiveness, and he called for incentives for wood industry and the construction sector.

Štefan Skledar, Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development, chapter 6.Developments in working conditions ; Barbara Lužar, OHCR, Faculty of Social Sciences. Univ. of Ljubljana.

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