By: Sara Kovač/Nova24TV
The Police Trade Union of Slovenia (PSS), with about 5,000 members, began a strike today. The president of the Police Trade Union, Rok Cvetko, said that the strike was intended for the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, however, a strike in the Police is strictly limited by law, thus the work of the Police and the safety of people will not be endangered by the strike. Interior Minister Aleš Hojs assessed that the police strike was “unjustified and unfounded”. He added that “the government has so far fully adhered to the strike agreement”.
The president of the Police Trade Union, Rok Cvetko, said that the strike was aimed at the government of the Republic of Slovenia, and thus security and personal property, as well as public health, would not be endangered by the strike. The instructions of the strike committee are such that in the first phase they will issue warnings to the perpetrators of offenses when it is permissible and possible, but they will not respond to calls from the employer for their own telecommunications means. According to Cvetko, further measures and possible intensification of the strike will be related to the will and activity of the government. The Trade Union is demanding the elimination of violations of the 2018 agreement, due to which police officers will receive lower salaries in March. They also demand a solution to the problem of promotion of police officers. Cvetko pointed out that most police officers who would meet the formal conditions for promotion this year will only be able to be promoted in 2022, which means that the state would harm them by at least an additional 600 euros net in one year. The Police Trade Union of Slovenia is also demanding changes to the law on the organisation and work of the police, which would enable the collective regulation of employees’ rights. Moreover, they want the government, ministries, and the police leadership to start accepting them as equal social partners in social dialogue, which according to Cvetko, has been implemented in the past years. “We demand the implementation of social dialogue in accordance with European norms and Slovenian legislation,” Cvetko explained, adding that the strike would last until the demands were met.
Another Police Trade Union is of the opinion that the strike is not appropriate in the current situation
In December, dr. Vinko Gorenak explained in his column that there are two Trade Unions in the police. The Police Trade Union of Slovenia – PSS mostly consists of police chiefs while field police officers are in the minority. And the Trade Union of Police Officers of Slovenia – SPS is mostly represented by field police officers with fewer bosses. He also added that the salaries of all police officers have increased by 40 percent or more in the last five years. “No one else in public or state administration has received such an increase during this period. The Interior Minister should not resent me if I say that his salary at the Ministry of the Interior is somewhere around the 50th place, so as many as 50 police chiefs have a higher salary than the Minister,” wrote Gorenak. When asked why they were not joined in the strike by colleagues from the Trade Union of Police Officers of Slovenia (SPS), Cvetko replied that they clearly estimated that despite certain encroachments on employees’ rights, no damage had been done to employees. The SPS said that they welcome three of the four strike demands of the Police Trade Union, with which they also agree. However, they did not join the strike, as they believe, among other things, that the strike is inappropriate in the current situation.
We have already written a lot about Rok Cvetko, who leads the Police Trade Union of Slovenia. He is a so-called “elected” trade unionist, who is paid by the state, that also pays him additional pension insurance, so he will be able to retire at the age of 53. Former Minister Boštjan Poklukar is said to have enabled Cvetko, through the then director general Tatjana Bobnar, to study at a college, which is also one of the reasons for the Police Union’s subordination to a certain political option. But that is not all there is to know about Cvetko. Let us remember that we also wrote about a letter written by some criminal investigators in which it was said, among other things, that the connection between the Police Trade Union of Slovenia (PSS) and the LMŠ party is becoming more and more obvious. Their fight against the government has a distinct political feel to it. Anonymous members of the Trade Union pointed out that the Police Trade Union is being used for political purposes by three prominent representatives of the Trade Union, in addition to Cvetko, also Gregor Novak and Mitja Gregorc. The NPU criminalists also wrote in the letter that Cvetko was elected president of the Trade Union at the dictation of the LMŠ party, at a congress attended by Marjan Šarec himself. Due to Šarec’s involvement in the Police Trade Union, a larger number of members are supposedly leaving the Trade Union. “Rok Cvetko literally sold himself to LMŠ and so did the Trade Union,” they wrote in the letter.
Leaders have arranged higher salaries for themselves, Minister Hojs will not agree to blackmail
Not only the government, but also the Minister of the Interior, Aleš Hojs, became one of the main targets of the Police Trade Union, especially after he demanded supervision of work and revision of certain high-profile scandals or cases. In the union, Minister Hojs’ actions did not suit some, and union members who did not agree with the attacks on the minister were even threatened with losing their jobs. It is clear to everyone that the revision of these cases is not a matter for the Trade Union at all, but a matter of the police. Late last summer, Cvetko accused the Ministry of Interior of influencing an independent analysis aimed at evaluating the posting of officials with special authorisations. Regarding the allegations about the modified analysis, Hojs replied that they secured their salary benefits through “cosy deals with the former head of government and former Interior Minister.” According to Hojs, the Police Trade Union of Slovenia is the one that has been exerting pressure and threatening to strike for some time. “Remember how the police have been on strike for several months in the past. It is obviously their way of communication, because they are clearly not able to come to an agreement at the table,” he assessed.
One of the past foolishness of Cvetko and PSS was when they stated in 1996 that they would go on a strike and that they would not ensure the safety of the Pope John Paul II, who had announced his visit to Slovenia at the time. Fortunately, they managed to turn the course of events in another direction, but eventually it led to a split in the PSS, from which the SPS seceded. “PSS has become a so-called Boss Trade Union and SPS a Police Trade Union. There are almost more police chiefs than police officers – unfortunately,” Gorenak explained, clarifying that the PSS was extremely radical and unjust. The difference between the two unions is also clearly visible on their Twitter accounts, where the PSS is primarily concerned with political struggle, while the SPS appears to be more representative of police officers and the work of the Police. Furthermore, it seems that many of the employees have bad experiences with Cvetko’s Trade Union, and at the same time claim that they have proper regard in the SPS. This can also be seen in a letter in which two police officers testified about their bitter experience at a time when they needed help of their Trade Union, but the union’s response came as a terrible blow to them. They wrote that they were treated arrogantly and humiliatingly: “During the time when we were seeking help and support from our Trade Union, we experienced considerable disappointment as the Trade Union did not provide us with the support and legal assistance we needed.” They later turned to the SPS, where the story was completely different: “We sincerely thank for the care, support, pluck, and professional approach of the SPS representatives, which proved to be indispensable when we needed help,” the police officers wrote.
In the past, Aleš Hojs rejected accusations that he was not interested in social dialogue with Trade Unions: “I responded to each of their proposals with a desire to meet by organising a meeting and, unlike previous mandates, when the Minister did not always attend these meetings, I have always met with them directly. It was this Trade Union that did not want to have a joint meeting of the two police unions, they explicitly demanded a separate meeting with me. And I agreed to that too.” Recently, he also said that he would talk to the unions, but he would not allow himself to be blackmailed. According to the Minister, the Trade Union has already concluded certain agreements with the previous government, as well as already fulfilling all the points of the agreement. After all that has been written, can there still be any doubt as to what the strike of the police employees, which started today, is all about? Is the reason really anaemia and unresponsiveness of the government, as the president of the Police Trade Union of Slovenia Rok Cvetko pointed out? Or is it just a political fight under the tactic of the LMŠ party and its KUL partners, who are attacking with all their cannons before Friday, when they intend to file a constructive no confidence vote against the government. We already know that the left political option does not choose means in its fight and that it disregards the collateral damage.