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Govt Rejects Calls of Trade Unions for Higher Minimum Wage

Ljubljana, 27 January (STA) - Prime Minister Borut Pahor rejected on Thursday repeated calls by trade unions for another raising of the minimum wage to level it with the poverty threshold of EUR 593 net.

The government will not consider an additional increase in the minimum wage for now, Pahor told the press after a government session.

He said saying that following last year's raise, the government expected trade unions would show understanding for measures aimed at increasing competitiveness.

The minimum wage rose by EUR 102 to EUR 562 net in February last year and to EUR 573 with this month's adjustment to inflation.

Unions find this insufficient and urged the government for an additional increase last December, repeating the call last week in the face of rising food prices and again today.

Pahor said today that the 2010 increase was enforced despite warnings from employers that competitiveness would suffer as a result of higher labour costs, a key issue in Slovenia.

The PM said that much could be achieved if partners in social dialogue showed more readiness for compromise, announcing that more focus would be put on quality of dialogue as opposed to the quantity seen so far.

"If unions say as an ultimatum that this is out of the question for us and we will not budge here, it is easy to see that dialogue is over," Pahor said, noting the same was true for employers and the government.

The unions meanwhile insisted today that the minimum wage should be raised to EUR 593 net to match the poverty threshold determined for 2009.

"People deserve a better life, competitiveness can be secured in other ways," the executive secretary of the ZSSS trade union confederation Ladislav Rozic told the press.

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