The ruling coalition has already passed six anti-corona legislative packages that mitigated the effects of the epidemic; however, certain union headquarters do not seem to care about this at all. And what is more, they are announcing a general strike that will further paralyze the country and cause even more dire consequences to follow.
It is clear that the main spiritus agent of the strike is none other than the infamous Branimir Štrukelj, known as a political activist, associated with the Levica party. The latter therefore also publicly supports the announcement of the strike, which was announced by Milan Kučan‘s former son-in-law on behalf of the public sector on Friday. According to Štrukelj, the government, in agreement with the employers, allegedly abused the COVID-19 epidemic to withdraw from the legal agreement to increase the minimum wage and therefore violated the basic rules of social partnership. Believing that the government has also excluded the unions in the forming of the seventh legislative package, they are now announcing a general strike. At the same time, they also demand that the minimum wage be frozen. Štrukelj claims that there is no more social dialogue in Slovenia, for which the government is solely responsible.
In his response on Twitter, Prime Minister Janez Janša explained that the negotiations and talks within the Economic and Social Council are still ongoing. “The government has not yet received (let alone accepted) any official proposal,” he added. So far, the government has prepared six legislative aid packages to mitigate the consequences of the epidemic, and the seventh is expected to be sent to the National Assembly this month. As can be seen from the draft, which was made public, the government also included a provision, according to which the new formula for calculating the minimum wage would not be implemented on the 1st of January, but only on the 1st of April. However, this increase is expected to be borne by the state until the end of September.
The Levica party also supports the announced strike
The Levica party also expressed its support for preparations for the strike. “Capital is thus receiving billions in subsidies without any obligations, such as a ban on making employees redundant during the crisis. The workers, on the other hand, have to once again fight for the increase that has been agreed upon two years ago, which would only raise the minimum wage above the most basic food and housing costs,” they said in a press release. They also pointed out that the Association of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia (Zveza svobodnih sindikatov Slovenije – referred to as ZSSS) brings together some of the most vital professions under its auspices, such as nurses, personal carers and teachers. “The strike is, therefore, more than justified,” they believe.
Representatives of the Association of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia also took part in the preparations for the strike. As is already known, the president of the ZSSS, Lidija Jerkič, recently met with the representative of the Levica party, Luka Mesec. They, too, mostly reiterated Štrukelj’s views that in the creation of the seventh anti-corona package, the government does not allow for unions to participate in drafting the legislation. Members of the Slovenian Syndicate for Upbringing, Education and Science, part of which is also Štrukelj, have already joined the strike. The main committee of the aforementioned syndicate has therefore already been transformed into a strike committee.
The Confederation of Trade Unions of Slovenia PERGAM has also joined the others in their demand that the seventh anti-corona legislative package cannot contain a provision on the freezing of the minimum wage. To achieve this goal, it decided to join the preparations for a general strike and other union activities. In short, the already difficult situation in Slovenia will soon be even worse, due to the political ambitions of certain trade union leaders. Should we really want that?