Govt and Unions Agreed on Wage Cuts in Public Sector

15. 05. 2013

Govt and Unions Agreed on Wage Cuts in Public Sector

Interior and Public Administration Minister Gregor Virant told reporters that the content of agreed measures was largely finalised except for the details.According to him, the newly agreed measures, plus those in the 2012 fiscal consolidation act, would bring around EUR 240m this and EUR 280m next year compared to the wage bill paid out in 2012.


The minister had expected such a figure at the start of negotiations, while he also said that he believed the consensus reached was the "maximum possible in the situation in Slovenia". Given the power of the trade unions, he believes one-sided measures forced by the government would result in a referendum, strikes and demonstrations, which he believes would cost more than the agreement. But he regretted that a consensus had not been reached earlier, which is why the measures would not become effective until 1 June. Most of the other savings needed would be made through redistribution of material costs.



Yet to avoid a crisis tax on all incomes, Virant believes other expenditure-side measures would still be needed, which was confirmed by Branimir Štrukelj of the KSJS confederation of trade unions. Štrukelj said the unions were satisfied with the measures, but he also called for the agreement to be inserted in the collective bargaining agreement as a guarantee the promises would be held and would enable employees to take the government to court in case of violations. "It's important for us to get an actionable document, so that if the government violates it - like in the case of holiday allowance and other violations committed by the previous government - it will have to pay dearly too," the unionist said.


Štrukelj could not say which of the public trade unions would sign the deal with the government as the consensus agreed by the negotiating group representing them would yet need to be endorsed by the unions' bodies in charge. It has been suggested that the deal will not be signed by one of the two police unions, the firefighters union and the trade union of doctors and dentists. Unofficial information available during the talks suggests the deal would involve changes to the pay scale to reduce differences between pay brackets and to cut back on base pay. Cuts would be progressive so that they would affect much more those in high-income brackets than low-pay employees. Depending on the pay bracket, base pay would be reduced by 0.5% to 4.86% at the most.


This would mean 5.5 euros gross a month less for a police officer in the 21st pay bracket, EUR 14 cut for a teacher in the 31st bracket, while a specialist doctor in the 51st bracket would lose EUR 87 gross a month and the PM in the 65th bracket would earn EUR 263 gross less a month than so far. The sides are also said to have agreed on cutting the amount of funds that are paid in the additional pension scheme for public employees so that 20% of the premium would be paid in this year, 25% in the first half of next year and 30% in the second half of 2014. Back promotions are to be paid out as of 1 April 2014, while the bonus for academic title would be halved and the sickness bonus would be reduced to 80% from 90% of pay for the first month of absence in line with the current proposal.


SOURCE: The Slovenia Times

Govt and Unions Agreed on Wage Cuts in Public Sector