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RRF: Slovenian unions strongly complain against the Government

Here is an abstract of the denounce that the 5 Slovenian unions submitted to the ETUC:

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The Government of the Republic of Slovenia continues to prepare “mix” legislation that intervenes in the systemic arrangements of labour, pension and tax legislation. It some cases, the Government merely presents ready-made solutions to social partners, while in other cases we learn about draft legislation from the media. 

The preparation of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) as a basis for securing the possibility of additional grants and loans from the EU has proceeded in a very similar fashion. The Government prepared the RRP in secret until the beginning of 2021, and it was not until the end of February 2021 that the draft RRP from December 2020 was made public. Some ministries presented parts of the document from their area to social partners, and there were two presentations of the document at sessions of the Economic and Social Council. However, social partners, especially trade unions, have not had any opportunity to actively participate in the preparation of the RRP or to influence its content, nor have social partners received any response to the proposals and positions we offered at such “presentation meetings” or feedback regarding which of our proposals have been taken into account and to what extent or why they have not been taken into account. Despite our repeated calls for harmonisation of the document, this has never actually occurred. Moreover, the Ministry of Health, which has been a key ministry during the Covid-19 crisis, has not even convened a presentation meeting with social partners. 

In other areas as well, the Government has committed itself in the RRP to reforms that will have a significant impact on social subsystems in Slovenia. The promised reforms do not take into account the agreements and programme documents already adopted in the Republic of Slovenia, including those that have tri-party signatures from social partners and the Government. This is the case, for example, in legislative solutions submitted by the Government to parliament – without dialogue and without the consent of social partners – that are completely incongruent with Slovenia’s longstanding efforts in the field of an inclusive labour market, the promotion of longer employment of the elderly, and the strengthening of the long-term sustainability of the pension system, and which contradict the starting points for the renewal of the pension and disability insurance system agreed by social partners and the Government in 2017. With proposals to introduce a “social cap” and the possibility of dismissal of workers who fulfil the conditions for retirement without stating a valid reason, the Government and employers have actually withdrawn from these starting points, which means that Slovenia currently does not have a broader social consensus on the direction of future changes to pension and disability insurance. In view of the aforementioned unilaterally adopted solutions, which indisputably worsen the long-term sustainability of the pension system, and given the announced tax changes, which, if adopted, will further worsen public finances, the unions are absolutely opposed to any tightening of conditions for retirement or any intervention in the rights of pensioners. Against this background, it is not possible to agree in advance to the announced reform of pension and disability insurance, as there is no agreement on the basic guidelines in this regard. 

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 In view of the above, the representative trade union headquarters find that the Government’s conduct prevents effective participation in social dialogue and fails to ensure the equal position of partners in such dialogue. Therefore, we can no longer participate in the promotional activities of a Government that seeks to create the impression that it respects social dialogue. In accordance with the above, the representative trade union headquarters will not participate in the work of the Economic and Social Council of Slovenia and its bodies until further notice. Nor will we participate in any Government activity within the framework of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2021 until such time as the conditions for successful, effective social dialogue are established, that is, social dialogue based on respect for social partners, the principles of equal treatment, and recognition of the active role of social partners/trade unions in the design, implementation and evaluation of envisaged reforms. The representative trade union headquarters also insist on strict compliance with the Economic and Social Council Procedure Rules and the timely involvement of social partners in the preparation and coordination of legislation and reform programmes. 

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