Ljubljana, 19 June - VEČER: EVERYTHING JUST A GAME OF AUTOMATISM - If real wages are now back where they were thirty years ago - that is, 1962 - then nobody is going to be happy with a wage reduction. And if nobody sounds too pleased about taking home a thinner wage packet come the end of the month, it seems more than right that the government was the first to dig into the purses which it fills itself. The controversial 38% rises of last month will be reduced by 7.4% in June, writes Jelka Zupanič in the column Today. It would appear that the government has heeded its critics, but in reality it has simply respected the already established automatism. The formula, whereby wage rises play an important part in the economy, has done the job itself. In March wages in the commercial sector leapt by almost a quarter, but in April by five times less. The government clearly assumed that a 20% reduction in such wages, which is made possible by a collective contract, would not be an excessively harsh or excessively mild measure. Particularly since there will be a retrenchment in July. The task known as general wage restraint, therefore, still awaits the government. And since the government is clearly aware that a strike is always a form of blackmail, the answer, that the government's action will depend on the conditions forced upon it, is not surprising. If people are prepared to talk before striking, the damage is always smaller. The government knows this and also, most probably, what it would mean if everyone went on holiday with just their current wages.

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