By: Luka Perš / Nova24tv
According to the mainstream media, the most massive protests against the current government to date have taken place. The main “heroes of the fight against dictatorship” were, in addition to the “non-government” trade unionists Lidija Jerkič (The Association of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia – ZSSS), Branimir Štrukelj (Trade Union of Education – SVIZ), Jakob Počivalšek (Pergam trade union), Peter Majcen (KS90 trade union), Evelin Vesenjak (Sindikat KNSS-Neodvisnost), and Tea Jarc (trade unions Mladi plus). In total, they have received more than 20 million euros from the state budget so far. Some of them, however, have made real small business octopuses. In the following, we highlight the ZSSS and SVIZ.
The trade union is supposed to be a voluntary mass organisation of employees (i.e. workers and civil servants), the purpose of which is to protect employees, represent their interests and fight for workers’ rights. The goal of unions should be to provide the best possible conditions for their employees and to fight for higher wages. With the changes in tax legislation and the reduction of wages, the current government has helped the workers, especially considering that the tax rate in Slovenia is one of the highest in Europe. However, some unions (ZSSS, SVIZ, Pergam, KS 90, KNSS-Neodvisnost) have decided to play the protector of the transition network in Slovenia once again. Only this ruled most of the time during independence. The tragedy is even worse, as the long-term rule of this network has enabled the theft of billions of euros of taxpayers’ money. According to the assessment of the corruption expert Dr Bojana Dobovška Slovenia loses more than five billion euros due to long-term mistakes in the system of government. It is this network that is defended by the trade unionists who performed at the so-called “All-Slovenian uprising.”
The largest trade union in Slovenia is the Association of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia. Their long-term president was Dušan Semolič, also a candidate for an MP in the SD party. Now the president of the union is Lidija Jerkič. The information was revealed online that the current head of the largest trade union in Slovenia receives a monthly salary of more than eight thousand euros, and that she also earns excellent income from meeting fees as a state councillor. According to publicly available data, the ZSSS has received 2,382,261.96 euros since 2003.
Their annual revenues in 2016-2019 ranged from more than one million eight hundred thousand to more than two and a half million annual revenues. Very interestingly, as revenues increase, so does the growing negative operating result. Thus, in 2019, at 2,567,505 euros in revenues, they showed a deficit of more than seventy thousand euros. The year before, with much lower annual revenues, they showed 70 thousand euros in revenue.
Jerkič has a real little business octopus with her union
ZSSS is the majority owner of Atris, Borza sindikalnega turizma d.o.o. Ljubljana. The smaller owner is also Metod Zalar. In addition, they are among the founders of the Social Incubator Student Campus-Social Enterprise. They founded this in 2009 and sold their share to the Student Organisation in Ljubljana on September 21st. They also have a very small ownership share (0.33 percent) in Delavska hranilnica Slovenije. Moreover, in the ownership structure of the mentioned bank we find all the above-mentioned unions and also Jamnik’s Modra zavarovalnica. Borut Jamnik is considered to be the central player in the transition network, who still controls the state’s assets through his supervisors.
In addition to the central headquarters, Jerkič also has loyal regional units in Dolenjska, Bela Krajina and Posavje, Spodnje Podravje, Gorenjska, Savinjska, Primorska and Notranjska, Osrednja Slovenija, Podravje and Koroška and Pomurje regions. They have another 22 unions in their family. This time, we will only introduce you to the ownership structures of their central area units. The union octopus of the remaining 22 associations will be presented in one of the forthcoming articles.
The regional unit for Podravje and Koroška ZSSS has so far received at least 271,051.50 euros from the state budget. On July 11th 2017, together with the Styrian Chamber of Commerce, they established the company Foundation for the Improvement of Employment Opportunities PRIZMA. So far, this company has received 8,923,008.42 euros.
For the regional unit of Dolenjska, Bela Krajina, and Posavje, there is no information online on how much money they received. It can be seen that the Spodnje Podravje regional unit received 46,177.77 euros. They also played entrepreneurship, as they were partial owners of the Spodnje Podravje Labour Fund, an institution for the implementation of an active employment policy. It was founded in 2007, and in 2019 the company was liquidated. Between 2009 and 2010, the company received 65,589.26 euros from the budget. The Gorenjska regional unit has so far received 89,053.11 euros. In our research on how much funding they have received so far, we did not find data for other regional units.
The supervisory member of Jamnik’s Modra Zavarovalnica, the secretary of SVIZ Branimir Štrukelj, has already received more than 15 million euros of taxpayers’ money!
One of the richest unions in Slovenia is the Trade Union of Education (SVIZ). Its long-term secretary is Branimir Štrukelj. Known to the Slovenian public as Milan Kučan’s former son-in-law, he is also a big supporter of the Levica party. He also sits as a supervisor at Jamnik’s Modra zavarovalnica. According to publicly available data, SVIZ has already received 15,701,155.01 euros. Years ago, the union was the smaller owner of Celje-based Cinkarna (0.13 percent), which it sold in 2017. However, they remain among the larger individual shareholders of Delavska hranilnica (10.67%) and a smaller ownership share of the largest Slovenian pharmaceutical company Krka (0.14%).
In addition to the central headquarters, they also have regional committees Ajdovščina, Bela Krajina, Celje, Idrija, Ilirska Bistrica, Jesenice, Koroška, Kranj, Lenart, Ljubljana and surroundings, Nova Gorica, Novo mesto, Obala, Ormož, Podravje, Pomurje, Posavje, Postojna, Radovljica , Slovenska Bistrica, Slovenske konjice, Škofja Loka, Šmarje pri Jelšah, Tolmin, Velenje, and Zasavje. Together, they have more than 40,000 members and represent one of the most powerful tools to fight the current government. In 2016-2019 alone, they had annual revenues of between three and three and a half million euros.
This is also reflected in the profit and loss account at the end of the year. In the period between 2016-2019, they recorded a net profit of more than 700 thousand to a little over one million euros each year. Numbers that no entrepreneur in Slovenia would be ashamed of. But this still handsome sum can hide from the sums that SVIZ received from the public purse. According to Erar, for the selected period from January 2016 to December 2019, Sviz received as much as 9,620,323.31 euros.