By: Dr. Vinko Gorenak
A few days ago, I wrote about the strike of the Police Trade Union of Slovenia (PSS) – “mostly boss union”, which then announced the strike, and is now implementing it. And the other trade union, the Trade Union of Police Officers of Slovenia (SPS) – “mostly workers’ union”, which is not participating in the strike. One could say it is an upside down world. The Minister of the Interior published a list of employees with jobs and the level of gross wages for December 2020. This was the most effective way to respond to the demands of the strikers, and let people create their own picture of whether the strike is justified or not. It is quite clear that the strike is not justified, it is about the politics and mischief of the mentioned trade union, which is just supporting the left political option, and is annoying the current government and that is a fact.
First, they raised a hue and cry in a strong “opposition partner” which does not have MPs but has a great influence on public opinion. Are you wondering who this is? Well, POP TV, of course. Instead of a critical assessment of how much someone earns in comparable jobs, we received comments from those who, of course, want to become important police chiefs or ministers in some future left-wing government. For some time, in the aforementioned “opposition partner”, they have been making noise and spreading the fog about how criminals will now know everything about the most secret places in the police, how many police special forces we have and the like. Moreover, the list of published names with gross salaries listed just over 50 police special forces, which is a pure lie for those who know the situation and contrary proof that there is nothing wrong with publishing names, jobs, and gross salaries. And just a comparison of a few click on the web will lead you to the conclusion that the list does not contain the most secret information about police officers and criminal investigators whose disclosure of names could endanger their safety. Additionally, both the current and the former Information Commissioner made it clear that the Ministry of the Interior did not violate anything by publishing the data.
Gross amounts and various allowances
However, it is necessary to say a few important things in general about the published gross amounts of salaries. Already the information about the best paid investigator, who is supposed to have a gross salary of 9,598.75 euros, is misleading, as I found out, this was a kind of retroactive salary settlement. There are probably many more such cases. Secondly, it is worth mentioning the fact that police officers and criminal investigators receive special COVID allowances during the epidemic, which reach up to 65 percent, even in this context, the published data do not say everything, as these allowances will no longer exist after the epidemic, and the salaries will be much lower. A completely different question is who gets COVID supplements and in what amount. As far as I am concerned, no one working in the office should receive COVID supplements in the amount that police officers and criminal investigators working in the field do. Only they are seriously exposed to dangers and I think they deserve even more. It is also a rather overlooked fact that most police employees have a so-called supplementary pension insurance, for which each individual receives 25% more than the published gross amounts from the state. A result of this is them retiring 10 years before everyone else.
The hue and cry of Matjaž Nemec
MP Matjaž Nemec (SD party) leads a so-called commission for the supervision of security and intelligence services. Apparently he is too focused on an opposition partner without POP TV MPs. He immediately convened his own commission to oversee the legality of the use of covert investigative measures, but he has nothing to do with monitoring the salaries of employees. Despite the fact that the opposition has a majority in the commission, his own MPs refused to adopt the decisions he proposed. He additionally endangered the members of the commission, as the head of SOVA was there, who, according to media reports, was obviously infected with the virus.
How about the salaries of bosses of all kinds?
Already in the time of socialism, up until my ministry in 2012, there was an unwritten rule that police chiefs from police stations to the top of the police and the Interior Ministry usually have no supplements, as they mostly do not work in the field but in offices. Back in 2012, as a minister, I had the highest gross salary, and the police chief had a 5 or 6 euro lower salary. Today it is the other way around, as many as 70 police employees receive a higher gross salary than the President of the Country, the Government and the National Assembly. The minister’s gross salary is around the 76th place, and the salary of the first police officer is around 74th place. As another comparison, about 175 published gross salaries are higher than mine which is comparable to the salary of a local police chief. The rector of the university is ranked in the 60th salary grade and, according to an approximate calculation, has a gross salary of around 4,900.00 euros, which is the level of the local police chief in Kranj or Celje. If I add the fact that the local police chief in Ljubljana has a gross salary of around 1,000.00 euros higher than the President of the Country, which makes it clear that something is seriously wrong in this system.
Let’s look at the trade unionists
The comparison of the salaries of the two heads of police trade unions is also interesting. Rok Cvetko, the head of the “mostly boss union” which is on strike, a police dog guide based on some information, and I suppose he finished high school, has a salary of 3,084.00 euros. And Kristjan Mlekuš, the head of the “mostly labour union”, with 3,106.00 euros, has a master’s degree and is a police inspector. There is also something wrong here.
Some other comparisons
Even those minimum wages need some clarification. On the list you will find so-called police candidates with a gross salary of around 950.00 euros. Of course, these are not police officers who would work in the field, but these are candidates for police officers who are educated and actually receive the minimum wage, their years of service is also counted with everything else. You may say that they earn too little, but in other professions, comparable individuals have a scholarship, if of course they have one at all, and not a salary with all the insurance. In a rather similar position, perhaps slightly better are top athletes. Of course, they do not go to work, but the state only helps them with employment in the police and salary and all insurance. If we add some data like the following, the picture will be even more rounded. An administrator earns € 1,959.00, a clerk € 1,959.00, a chef € 1,954, a janitor € 1,953, and a vehicle maintainer € 1,905. Of course, these are gross amounts. It is also true, however, that their contributions are much lower than the contributions of those with higher salaries.
A thought for the end
Anyway, what we know more now, after the announcement of the salaries of police and interior ministry employees, is that there is something seriously wrong with the salary system in the state administration and in the public sector and that police salaries are not low at all, the strike is, of course, completely unjustified, and Čeferin’s police complaint to the interior minister is nonsense and a mixture of fog. Just look at your payroll.
Dr. Vinko Gorenak is State Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia.