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Major step taken today to stabilise the situation in the health and social care sector

The head of the government negotiating team, the Minister of Health Danijel Bešič Loredan, and the head of the trade union’s negotiating team, Irena Ilešič Čujovič, initialled an agreement on the resolution of strike demands, and on the implementation of the agreement on urgent measures in connection with wages in the health and social care sector, and on the continuation of negotiations.

The Health Minister said that this was “a major step forward for health care reform and for stabilising the situation in the health and social care sector. Of course, we couldn’t please everyone. We did, however, please the majority. Most important of all is that both we and the negotiators are aware of our shared values, that healthcare should be treated as a whole and that we should put patients first.”

The agreement brings to certain health and social care professions one to three additional pay grades, and one additional grade previously agreed in negotiations between the Government and public sector unions. “We see today as a turning point in the process needed to normalise conditions in the health and social care sector. There are still some challenges before us, but I believe we have broken the deadlock,” said Irena Ilešič Čujovič, head of the trade union’s negotiating team and President of the Health and Social Care Trade Union of Slovenia. She added that the agreement addresses both strike demands made this February, i.e. eliminating wage disparities in the health and social care sector, and creating standards and norms. Certain points have already been resolved, while new deadlines have been set for others, she explained, adding that she believes “that the Government will respect the deadlines and that we will find the best solutions through social dialogue”.

“There are unanswered questions regarding certain other anomalies, most notably in the wages of nurses and midwives. We also attempted to resolve pending problems regarding technicians, but these remain the subject of further negotiations,” she explained. “All wage systems are now somehow under one roof, and minimally balanced with the many anomalies that we are aware of,” the Minister said, while announcing that the anomalies would be addressed in the new wage system to be presented on 1 April 2023 and then implemented at the beginning of 2024. “The Government will not negotiate separately with individual groups in the creation of a new wage system because it understands the health care sector as a whole,” the Minister assured.

The Minister of Public Administration, Sanja Ajanović Hovnik, said that the overall agreement is valued at €40 million, which was already provided for in October’s agreement to adjust wages to inflation. “Today's signature shows that the health care sector is treated as a whole and that no group can be treated differently. I call on the trade unions of doctors and dentists unions to join us in the signing and to shift the focus from wages to patients.”

The adoption of the wage agreement will be followed by the start of negotiations on a new wage pillar for the health care sector, announced Ministers Bešič Loredan and Ajanović Hovnik.