Govt, public sector unions sign pay agreement
Ljubljana, 13 October - The government and public sector trade unions have signed an agreement under which salaries will be raised by nearly 9% for most public sector employees. The deal also increases lunch compensation, and provides an additional holiday allowance payout. The financial effect of the agreement has been estimated at EUR 611 million.
Under the agreement for 2022 and 2023 salaries in all pay brackets will increase by 4.5% on 1 October, while the majority of employees will see their salaries rise once again in April 2023, when all salaries will increase by one pay bracket or about 4%.
The latter increase will not include employees in healthcare and social care, whose salaries had already gone up in November 2021.
Lunch allowance will increase by EUR 1.21 to EUR 6.15 a day as of September. Moreover, those earning up to EUR 3,000 gross will also get additional holiday allowance.
This will be paid out according to a sliding scale, with those earning less than EUR 1,100 gross getting EUR 300, while those earning between EUR 2,000 and EUR 3,000 getting EUR 100, for example.
The agreement also lays down realisation of agreements trade unions had reached with previous governments and had not been implemented.
Moreover, the sides agreed to launch within a month talks about systemic changes to the public sector pay system. with the objective to overhaul the system by the end of June 2023.
Negotiations will also be ongoing about wage disparities, with the deadline here also being set for 30 June 2023.
The trade unions have agreed in the document not to launch any strike activities related to the measures included in the agreement.
Public Administration Minister Sanja Ajanovič Hovnik said the agreement obligates the two sides to tackle as a priority the issues of those earning a minimum wage.
"The government has responded to the serious situation in the society, recognising it also in this agreement, which addresses rising prices, inflation and low wages in the public sector," said the minister.
The agreement was signed by 28 of 46 representative trade unions today, with some still intending to do so.
Branimir Štrukelj, the head of the Public Sector Trade Union Confederation, said that the number of signatories showed the agreement was acceptable to the majority of unions.
However, he pointed to the draft changes to the public sector pay act, which have not been completely coordinated with the unions, as they fail to address minimum wages for those in lower positions despite high qualifications and responsible jobs. Štrukelj believes this is the key issue of the public sector pay system.
Another union negotiator Jakob Počivavšek said the trade unions went into negotiations with high expectations, as nothing had changed in salaries for years. "What we've achieved is a sort of compromise, addressing at least in part, each of the challenges."
But this does not mean that the challenges have been adequately addressed, he said. The tradition of not adjusting public sector pay system to inflation needs to be broken and this needs to be done regularly, said Počivavšek.