President of the Free Trade Unions of Slovenia (ZSSS) Dušan Semolič explained that the Union headquarters wish to collect 5,000 authenticated signatures in support of their proposal in the shortest time possible, which would allow the amendments of the law on definition of the minimum wage to enter into force on January 1, 2016. Once again they emphasized that it would not mean an increase of the minimum wage, but exclusion of bonus for inconvenient working hours from the present definition.
Semolič explained that in June more than 36,000 people (i.e. approximately 6% of the employed population) received a minimum wage, which by itself does not guarantee a decent life.
Doctors yes, nurses no
Some of the workers work inconvenient working hours – during weekends, during the night or during holidays, but they do not receive bonuses on that account due to the legal definition of the minimum wage, unlike their co-workers who receive higher salaries as it is.
Semolič also exposed the fact that the proposal does not interfere with the level of minimum wage, as some try to misinterpret their proposal, but they only want to rectify an injustice. He gave the example of a physician working nights, who receives – as is appropriate – a bonus, while a nurse, working for a minimum wage, is not entitled to that bonus.
He explained that they have wished to redefine the minimum wage in agreement with employers many times, also during the time of favourable economic conjuncture, but »the time for rectifying the injustice is never right for some employers«. Semolič also said that a number of employers have already listened to the Union request, and have already excluded bonuses from the minimum wage.
The Unions are also hoping for a support at the National Assembly, although the largest SMS Party parliamentary group has not yet announced its decision regarding their support to amended law. Semolič warns that they have no intention of throwing in the towel in case the support is not given; they intend to exploit all the possibilities given by the Slovenian and European legal order.
Employers want a meeting
The Association of Employers of Slovenia (ZDS) in their press release wrote that the minimum wage is one of the most important categories within the labour legislation, bound by the social contract to regulate it through social dialogue, and in agreement with social partners.
The minimum wage is at the same time the lowest possible labour cost for every employer in Slovenia, wrote Secretary General of ZDS Jože Smole.
"For this reason any change would directly influence the increase of expenses, remuneration system, and collective agreements both on the company, and on trade level," he claims.
Translated by G. K.