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ZSSS is concerned about a new type of harassment aimed at union representatives: civil and criminal complaints. Foto: Plan C

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ZSSS Labor Union Federation: New types of pressures on union members – criminal complaints and civil suits

False complaints used to interfere with union activity
2. October 2017 ob 23:40
Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO

We are entering a new phase, where we need protection from harassment and discrimination, said ZZZS Secretary Andrej Zorko as he described new types of pressures being exerted on union representatives in companies.

The Federation of Independent Labor Unions of Slovenia (ZSSS) is drawing attention to new types of pressures exerted by managers of some companies on union representatives. The head of ZSSS Dušan Semolič, who is expected to leave the position at this Wednesday’s ZSSS congress, said that the work of unions is the most difficult in companies where managers and owners don’t understand unionism and treat unions as their enemies. It is not unusual for successful companies to resist unions because the owners believe that they are taking care of their workers and think that union organizing represents a no-confidence vote of sorts. According to Semolič, it’s the hostile attitude of employees in leading positions and owners that causes a reluctance among workers to unionize. ZSSS is especially concerned about attacks on union representatives, which, according to the union, are increasingly common in Slovenia. “We no longer live in the 19th century, when unions were perceived as something negative and were therefore persecuted,” stresses Semolič.

ZSSS is concerned about a new type of harassment aimed at union representatives: civil and criminal complaints. According to ZSSS’s Executive Secretary Andrej Zorko, the goal of criminal complaints is clear – to dismiss someone from a company or at least to make them quiet. Threats of criminal complaints make employees reluctant to unionize. Therefore, Zorko believes that lawmakers should pass legislation that would, for instance, treat unfounded criminal complaints as misdemeanors.

“If you file a lawsuit against union representatives, they must defend themselves from the accusations in addition to doing their regular job. This takes both time and energy. That’s why we can’t expect them to file a countersuit against their employer,” said Zorko, when asked if such threats constitute workplace harassment that could be dealt with in court. The Executive Secretary of ZSSS stresses that most of the criminal complaints filed by companies against union representatives have been rejected.

Gregor Cerar, translated by J. B.