Slovenia’s New Govt: Plans to Scrap Public Sector’s Uniform Pay System

By , 22 Aug 2018, 12:25 PM Politics
Slovenia’s New Govt: Plans to Scrap Public Sector’s Uniform Pay System Montage: JL Flanner

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STA, 21 August 2018 - The emerging government coalition would like to overhaul the public sector's uniform pay system by taking into account the specifics of different professions. Its plans also entail changing public procurement, streamlining the civil service, and giving municipalities more powers. 

The coalition would adjust the pay system to the specifics of individual professions and peg performance bonuses to efficiency based on a set of indicators for individual professions, according to information obtained by the STA.

Commenting the plans for the STA, trade unionists said they considered them rather vague, giving way to different interpretations as to how this would be done.

Both Jakob Počivavšek, the president of the PERGAM Confederation of Trade Unions, and Branimir Štrukelj, the head of the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions, wondered whether this would be done within the uniform pay system or whether certain professions would be excluded from it.

"I find it hard to believe that some professions would be excluded from the pay system and the others would still be part of it," Počivavšek said.

He said the trade unions advocated a single pay system for all public sector employees, yet with some corrections to make up for the shortcomings.

Štrukelj believes the coalition agreement is extremely vague about how to evaluate the work of public sector employees.

He believes the coalition's plans could signal an end to the single pay system, which could "possibly have very dramatic consequences".

However, he admitted that with the pay rises negotiated by some groups - for instance doctors and police officers - it is questionable whether this is still a single pay system.

Nevertheless, Štrukelj welcomed a plan to eliminate the 17 pay brackets currently below the statutory minimum wage.

"But this is a demanding task which would entail the re-assessment of the entire pay system and the raising of all the other salaries in the pay system," he said.

Apart from reforming the pay system, the coalition would like to continue talks with public sector trade unions to eliminate pay disparities.

Štrukelj expects the new government to launch the talks immediately, reiterating that the education and health sectors, as well as police officers are formally still on strike, albeit the strikes were frozen when the Miro Cerar government resigned.

The coalition plans to overhaul local government legislation to give municipalities more powers but would also demand more accountability.

It would provide adequate funds for municipalities so that they are able to fund the tasks the state transfers onto to them, and encourage them to join forces in the provision of certain services.

Assuming there is a social and political consensus, the coalition would like to launch the process to establish provinces.

To encourage regional development, it intends to systemically overhaul regional funding.

To achieve this, it will raise the sum it pays to municipalities per resident, change the development aid system, and introduce investment incentives for areas eligible for development incentives.

The coalition would also like all municipalities in Slovenia to introduce participatory budgeting.

Municipal associations responded by saying they hoped for systemic changes to funding to get enough money to finance their activity.

They also welcomed plans to establish provinces, noting they should have been set up a while ago, as laid down in the constitution.

As for streamlining the civil service, the coalition would like to make it more efficient and more transparent, so it plans to cut red tape, and upgrade two key portals by the end of the term.

Reforming the public procurement system to make it more transparent, the coalition believes the lowest price should not be the only factor considered in choosing contractors. Environmental protection, workers' rights and balanced regional development should also be taken into account.

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