News roundup - Wednesday, 18 January, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 18 January - Below is a roundup of major events on Wednesday, 18 January, until 3pm local time:

Public sector trade unions threaten to protest on 24 February

LJUBLJANA - Several public sector trade unions called on the government to come up with a solution to pay challenges, eliminate pay disparities among various groups, and preserve the public sector pay system, or else they will organise a protest rally for decent pay on 24 February. The negotiation group headed by Jakob Počivavšek said that for the past two months the government had ignored the deadline set for starting talks to overhaul the pay system and to address pay compression in one third of the pay brackets at the bottom of the pay scale.

Pensioners demand at least 7% pension rise

LJUBLJANA - The Union of Pensioners' Associations (ZDUS) proposed that pensions increase by at least 7.1% in February instead of the planned 4.9%. Given the inflation, the union expects the government and the pension fund to grant the request. ZDUS also proposed that pensioners receive a crisis bonus. The 2012 pension reform was drafted amid a big economic crisis and deflation. The model for calculating annual pension rises did not envisage such high inflation as Slovenia has now, they said.

Slovenia records highest construction growth in EU year-on-year

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia saw the largest increase in construction work volumes of any EU country in annual comparison in November 2022, Eurostat data shows. The country's construction expanded by 44%, compared to an increase of 1.3% in the EU and 1.8% in the eurozone. Meanwhile, in monthly comparison, Slovenia saw the largest drop in construction of any EU or eurozone country. Its volume of construction work dropped by 3.4% in November over October, compared to the -0.8% and -0.4% averages for the EU and eurozone, respectively.

Slovenia remains attractive to Austrian investors despite shortcomings, survey shows

LJUBLJANA - Austrian investors still feel Slovenia offers good investment opportunities, according to a survey commissioned by Advantage Austria Ljubljana, the trade promotion organisation of the Austrian Economic Chamber. Red tape, high taxes, and lack of skilled workers were highlighted as major setbacks. The online survey carried out in the last quarter of 2022 among 55 Austrian-owned companies showed that 78% of the companies see Slovenia as an attractive destination for investors, a percentage point down year-on-year but 7 up on 2021. Compared to the pre-pandemic 2019, the score is down by 13 points.

DARS switching motorway lights back on

LJUBLJANA - After shutting off lights at motorway sections where the law permits this almost three months ago to save energy, motorway company DARS has now decided to switch them back on, finding the risks of such energy saving are too big. As of today, motorways and expressways around the country are fully lit again. More than 60% of lights along these roads were shut off at the end of last October to save some EUR 700,000.

Train derails near Novo Mesto, some passengers injured

LJUBLJANA - A train derailed on Tuesday evening because of fallen trees on the railway track between Ljubljana and Metlika in the south-east near Novo Mesto. According to the national railway operator Slovenske Železnice, five out of seven passengers sustained light injuries and have already been released from hospital. The track remains closed until further notice.

Slovenian company develops dementia screening test

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian neuroscience company BrainTrip presented a new dementia screening test with a 94% accuracy. As part of a project called Pomni (Remember), BrainTrip screened around 250 individuals in Slovenia and found that the BrainTrip Dementia Index or BDI test, which can directly measure brain activity, performed the best. An early diagnosis of the disease can increase treatment options, experts say.

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