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Monday, February 6, 2023

Government and medical unions without agreement – Fides: “We are shocked by the events of the last week”

By: C. R., STA

The government side and the representative trade unions of doctors and dentists did not reach an agreement today, said the head of the Fides negotiating group, Gregor Zemljič, after the negotiation session. As he added, the negotiations are now closed. The management of the trade union will decide on further activities shortly. Zemljič did not rule out the possibility of a strike.

The head of the negotiating group of the Union of Doctors and Dentists of Slovenia Fides, Gregor Zemljič, said after the negotiations, which lasted about an hour, that the announcement of the press conference of the Ministers of Health and Public Administration Danijel Bešič Loredan and Sanja Ajanović Hovnik at 1 p.m., two hours from the start of negotiations, represented a bad sign.

“We are shocked by the events of the last week,” Zemljič said after the negotiations were over, explaining that these were the last negotiations on doctors’ salaries, as today’s offer from the government was final.

Based on new calculations of the financial impact of the government’s proposal, which the government forwarded to the unions, Fides, according to Zemljič, prepared a counterproposal. This predicted a 12 percent salary increase for experienced doctors, but this was not on the table today: “The only problem was identified in the jump from a specialist registrar to specialist, where the offer was improved by one salary class.”

The membership of Fides expected an agreement today, and if not, the tightening of trade union activities. Therefore, talks will now take place in the union presidency and the negotiation group, and then the main committee will be convened as soon as possible, which will decide on further steps.

In October, when signing the agreement on the temporary suspension of strike activities, which envisages the creation of a separate wage system for the public sector, Fides undertook not to initiate strike activities in connection with this issue. But this agreement does not include salary negotiations. A strike by doctors is thus not ruled out.

The President of the Health and Social Care Union, Irena Ilešič Čujovič, estimated that today was not a negotiation in the true sense of the word, even though the government presented an approximate counterproposal.

The union views the government’s proposal as a whole within healthcare, which is why they have not yet been able to decide on the proposal. They will wait for the middle of the negotiations between the government side and the representative trade unions of health and social care. At that time, it will be clearer whether an agreement is possible, she emphasised.

To the question about the possibility of tightening, she answered that one of the options is a strike as a last resort, if on Wednesday it is judged that an agreement is not possible.

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