NEW COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT SIGNED FOR COAL MINING INDUSTRY IN SLOVENIA

A new Collective Agreement for the Coal Mining Industry in Slovenia was signed on Wednesday, 17 April, in the session room of the coal mine operator Premogovnik Velenje. Representing the employers in the negotiations and coordination of the agreement, which took more than three years, was Premogovnik Velenje director general Ludvik Golob. The employers were also represented as a partner and negotiator by the Energy Industry Chamber of Slovenia (EZS), whose governing board also appointed a negotiating team. The negotiating team on the side of the employees featured representatives of three representative trade unions – the Trade Union of Extraction of Energy Resources of Slovenia (SPESS), the Trade Union of Workers in the Mining and Energy Industry of Slovenia (SDRES) and the Trade Union of Energy Industry Workers of Slovenia (SDE). The negotiating team on the side of the employees was headed by Peter Bršek. On behalf of the EZS, the agreement was signed by its president Marjan Eberlinc, on behalf of the SPESS by its president Peter Bršek and on behalf of the SDRES by its president Asmir Bećarević, while the president of the SDE was absent and will sign the agreement retrospectively.

The previous Collective Agreement for the coal mining industry of Slovenia had been in force since 1996, with five annexes being signed in the meantime. The new collective agreement has 24 fields, which is why we present below only the fields in which significant changes have been agreed. The majority of the changes are related to the changed labour legislation, which is understandable, because it has been thoroughly changed since 1996. The negotiating team on the side of the employers followed the provisions which had already been agreed in the Collective Agreement of the Electricity Industry of Slovenia (KPES), because the two industries are intertwined and because the starting points of the collective agreements of the coal mining industry and electricity industry were also coordinated in the “old” collective agreement from 1996.

Full-time working in the coal mining industry is defined in the new Collective Agreement for the Coal Mining Industry of Slovenia in the range between 36 hours a week at the least and 40 hours a week at the most. This working time for individual employers will be specified in detail with an inter-company collective agreement. The new agreement also defines the effective working time, which is defined as the time during which an employee works. This means that, during this time, an employee is available to the employer and that they meet their working obligations from the employment contract. Counted in the effective working time of the employees who work in the pit is also the time of transport to and from the work site and preparation for work before and after the conclusion of work – both outside of the pit in the total duration of 15 minutes. An employee who works for the full working time in the pit is eligible for a bonus for the preparation for work in accordance with the new collective agreement.

The new agreement also changes the method for determining the number of days of the annual leave. In the previous agreement, the annual leave was defined by the total number of working years, and the number of years could be corrected with criteria such as the tariff class of the employment position, working conditions, etc. Two scales were set – one for employees outside and one for employees in the pit. From now on this field will be regulated in the same way as in the KPES. Total years of service still remains the basis. The scale defines the number of days of annual leave, with additional days being added under criteria such as the tariff class, working conditions, age, and personal and family circumstances. There is one scale, while a table has been added for the employees included in the mandatory additional pension insurance which, relative to the rate of the employment position in the mandatory additional pension insurance and the years of service of an individual, defines additional days of annual leave (from 0 to 10 days). The next feature of the new agreement is the maximum amount (cap) of annual leave based on the criteria of total years of service, tariff class, working conditions and mandatory additional pension insurance, which amounts to 40 days.

There is also an important change in the new Collective Agreement of the Coal Mining Industry of Slovenia in the wage calculation system. So far, the basic wage consisted of the starting wage for an employment position, increased by personal and group results of work, after which bonuses were calculated. Under the new agreement, this will be regulated in the same way as in the KPES and in particular with the relevant labour legislation. The wage will consist of the basic wage, bonuses, the part of the wage paid for performance and, when agreed with the employer, payment for business performance. What needs to be adopted is a General Act on wages in the companies committed to the Collective Agreement of the Coal Mining Industry of Slovenia. In relation to this, the parties to the new agreement have agreed that they accept the so-called suspensive condition which instructs the employers to adjust within companies the General Act on Wages  (another option is that they regulate this in the inter-company collective agreement) with the provision in the new collective agreement for the industry and that the tariff part of this collective agreement and the tariff annex to this collective agreement in companies enter into force after the harmonised general act on wages enters into force. The new collective agreement also introduces a change in the bonus for years of service. Until now, the basis has been the years of pensionable service, while in the new agreement the basis is the actual years of service of an employee, with the rate for the calculation of bonus increasing from 0.5% to 0.6%. An appropriate transitional period will be introduced. The new agreement also introduces a new, 20% bonus for temporary reassignment of the working time to Saturday – this bonus is not paid if it overlaps with overtime work, and is also not paid if Saturday work was scheduled with the regular schedule (working calendar).

A significant change is introduced in holiday allowance; under the new agreement, it will be calculated in the amount of 70% of the average gross wage of employees in the Republic of Slovenia in the month before the previous month, while the allowance for worker representatives is determined with a fixed amount of EUR 600 gross a year per employee. Other benefits are the same as in the KPES.

The Tariff Annex is also a constituent element of the new Collective Agreement of the Coal Mining Industry of Slovenia. The lowest basic wages for the full-time working and under individual tariff classes in the coal mining industry are equal to those in the KPES in the majority of the tariff classes. For tariff class I the basic monthly wage is EUR 600, for tariff class II it is EUR 720, for tariff class III EUR 792, for tariff class IV EUR 930, for tariff class V EUR 1,050 and for tariff class VI EUR 1,272. In tariff classes VII to IX, the basic monthly gross wage is somewhat lower than in the KPES. In tariff class VII it amounts to EUR 1,626, in tariff class VIII it amounts to EUR 2,190 and in tariff class IX it amounts to EUR 2,608. An agreement between all parties about a possible change of the Tariff Annex for the next year must be concluded by the end of November of the current year. The basis is the data of the Statistics Office of the Republic of Slovenia on the growth of consumer prices, the situation in the coal mining industry and the Slovenian economy in the last 12 months. If there is no agreement, the amount of the net basic wage is increased by 85% or, in the case of negative growth, decreased by 15% of the growth of consumer prices in the last 12 months before the harmonisation.