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Trade Union Says Competitiveness Should Not Be Main Goal

Ljubljana, 01 February (STA) - The country's largest trade union confederation, ZSSS, responded on Monday to the planned measures for boosting the competitiveness of the Slovenian economy, saying that higher competitiveness should not become the main goal. It can only be a means for improving everyone's lives.

It would be a mistake if higher competitiveness will only serve higher profits, the confederation's head Dusan Semolic told the press. The measures should focus on investments into development and not on cutting labour costs, he said.

Semolic gave the examples of some Asian countries, which are competitive, however the situation of people there is bad. On the other hand, some European countries have stable growth rates and enable their citizens to live a decent life.

According to the ZSSS, the main reasons for Slovenia's low competitive power are an inappropriate structure of the economy and a low share of high-tech products in the country's exports.

Slovenia should focus on products with higher added value and high-tech products, such as green technologies. The government should encourage investments in research and development and make the country more attractive to foreign investments, the ZSSS wrote in the proposals that it will send to the government.

The trade unions also pointed to the need for more cooperation between the research institutions and companies, more efficient educational process, and simplification of procedures for drawing EU funds.

They also called for more rational public spending, aimed at encouraging economic growth and employment, and a more efficient tax system. Taxes for the middle class should be cut, while the richest should pay more.

The crediting of companies should also be improved. State-owned banks should help the real sector at the cost of short-term profits. The state should cut the deadlines for paying its bills, while the deadlines for payments to state-owned companies with monopoly should be extended from 15 to 30 days.

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