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Chamber Of Commerce And Industry Warns The Government: The Economy Is Suffering As A Result Of The Strike Of Administrative Units

The wave of strikes that has swept the country (in the face of the Golob government’s incompetence) has already started to affect the lives of normal people, and now businesses are also being hit. Companies are reporting more and more problems due to the strike in administrative units, said Vesna Nahtigal, General Manager of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, speaking to journalists. Problems are occurring in the recruitment of foreign workers and due to delays in the issuance of building permits. Therefore, the business sector would like to see the range of essential tasks expanded during the strike, reports the Slovenian Press Agency (STA).

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (GZS) is not opposing the strike and the fight of administrative employees for better pay, but would like administrative workers, on whom the economy depends for administrative procedures, to provide at least the minimum of public services, General Manager of the Chamber, Vesna Nahtigal, stressed.

Hold-ups in the licensing of foreign workers

The way things are now is not good for anyone, Nahtigal believes. Problems in granting residence and work permits to foreigners, she says, are being pointed out by practically all sectors, as the Slovenian economy as a whole is becoming more dependent on foreign labour every year. Even the latest legislative changes, which are supposed to remove the bottlenecks in the granting of these permits, cannot take effect because of the strike by employees at administrative units, she added.

Delays in issuing building permits

According to Nahtigal, it is mainly companies in the wood-processing and construction sectors, more specifically, prefabricated house manufacturers, who point to problems caused by delays in the issuance of building permits. These companies have already fulfilled all the conditions and produced the necessary products or parts for the construction of such buildings but are now stuck on the last step before the start of work. As a result, they are piling up inventories, accumulating delays and risking losing business and customers.

Meanwhile, logistics companies point to the negative consequences of waiting longer for driving licences.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry would like to see some content added to the list of essential tasks

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry would like to see the list of essential tasks to be carried out during the strike updated to include services that are important for the economy. This week already, they are to hold a meeting with the ministries of public administration, and economy, tourism and sport on the subject.

The government is still continuing the fight with the trade unions

The situation is certainly critical, as it directly interferes with the free initiative of entrepreneurs, which also feeds the state budget. Meanwhile, the government, together with the Prime Minister “on leave”, is making a fool of itself and pretending that there is no problem or that it is a matter of long-term negotiations.

In his answers to questions from Members of Parliament on Monday, Prime Minister Robert Golob repeated the old line that the public sector wage system cannot be fixed overnight. This is, of course, true – but they did not only start last night. They started two years ago, promising a rapid reform of the public sector wage system, which has not happened, except for partial promises to individual trade unions and communities of interest within the civil service.

“Last time, comprehensive negotiations took six years and ended in 2008, after which no government has addressed the issue comprehensively.” Golob also argued that “too many disparities have accumulated under previous governments due to the plethora of partial agreements for the system to be sustainable.” Words from a Prime Minister who himself promised a whole bunch of partial agreements (just remember the judges’ “happy ending”).

“We can talk about this in the case of the strike of FIDES – the doctors’ and dentists’ trade union, or in the case of the strike in the administrative units. I will not go into which strike is justified, which demands are justified, and which are not. When we finalised the timetable with the trade unions on the wage reform, we included the date that we all know, which is the 13th of September.” He recalled that part of the agreement with the unions was that the government would not enter into separate negotiations and separate agreements with any of the groups before that date. So, it seems that the government is continuing its open fight with the unions.

Will citizens wait until autumn and beyond?

But this date is completely arbitrary. Perhaps Golob expects people to wait in queues outside administrative units and die while waiting to see a doctor throughout the summer. It is more than obvious that the single tax system in the public administration has long since fallen, and now we are only feeling the effects of the fall, and the Golob government would like to revive the dead by any and all means. It is time they realised this themselves. The sad truth is that this government simply does not care about the people. What is more, it treats ordinary citizens as Hamas treats the Palestinians: as a bargaining chip or blackmail tool.

I. K.

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