As promised, this is another Sunday Special by pengovsky.

Ljubljana saw the largest gathering of people since the end of World War II. 70.000 (yes, seventy thousand) workers demanded a rise in basic wages. The constant tug-of-war between the unions and the employers was fueled by rising inflation (shown in 10 – 20 percent raise in prices of basic food comodities such as bread, dairy product, etc…) which hit those with small incomes hardest. Employers of course will hear nothing of it and the end result was that negotiations broke down and unions took to the streets.

Unions don’t demand a staggering raise in wages – a mere 3.5 percent, just enough to offset the inflation. And – as odd as it may seem, the minister for labour Marjeta Cotman supports their cause. As does presiden-elect Danilo Türk, as you can see on the video.

Iif unions’ demands are not met, they will call a general strike. Which will make the 70.000-strong crowd seem like a picnic. So employers should think twice about not heeding to unions’ demands. I can understand that it may seem like blackmail, but if Slovene economy is really doing better, than a pay raise should be no trouble at all. The unions know that the days of free lunches are over. That’s why they called the demonstration on a Saturday. The employers have been given a fair warning.

And since things can be lost in translation, let me just explain the last part of the video. I used a song by Jani Kovačič, Delam (Working) – which is about people not being able to find work and still having to feed their families, while the only “work” they get is standing in a line at the local unemployment office. It became the unofficial anthem of Slovene working call (and others who are simply overworked).

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

16 thoughts on “70.000”

  1. Nice to see some blood in their veins 🙂 Now if we extend that to not-so-basic-wages as well… we would be talking.

    -Though that would surely mean a 3,5% more in inflation, magically coming from nowhere-

  2. Hey Pengovsky, wonderful video!! All three pieces of music, camera, editing, I think the best you ever posted.

    As for the demonstrations: Blackmail? Well, if these 70.000 workers don’t go to work on Monday, or maybe for the whole week, how much profit will the companies make in this time? Oh, wait, it’s the workers who make it! So I guess they should, as the capitalist jargon goes, “participate on the profit”, in other words, receive what they had produced.

  3. Thanks for posting about this. I wish I’d known this was happening. 🙁 Do you know when is the deadline for negotiations?

    I support the workers, but I am still cringeing over Delam. I hope they get a pay raise AND a new song!

  4. Pengovsky – 70.000 is the number of the protesters the unions gave out, the police counted 15-17.000 of them. I’m not saying which one is correct, but I believe you gotta give both numbers because they are both “official” records. Regardless of whichever figure is true (or it might be one in between), it’s still a lot of people.

  5. @Disablez: I agree… I realize that you can’t just rise workers’ wages and not compensate elsewhere… It’s just that until now it was mostly their wages other expences were compensated with.

    @camille: The negotiations are resuming today and we’ll see if there was any effect.

    @Iva: True, 70.000 was the number given by the organisers. But given experience from the previous strike two years ago, when 30.000 – 40.000 attended, I think the unions were not exaggerating all that much, because Kongresni trg was much more packed than the last time around.

  6. Unfortunately, I had s*itload of work to do, so I involuntarily skipped the event. I needed to catch up on my articles for previous days. 🙁

  7. @Iva: Ahh, I see… There was an awfully nice pictur of me and I thought you had something to do with it.

    @Morska: I saw that, thanks! 🙂

  8. Aha, so we have inflation, then we want higher wages because of it, then we again get higher inflation because of that, so again we want higher wages … and eventually we can’t sell anything we produce since we are to expensive comparing to others that actually learn something from the past.


  9. @Mare: Sorry man, your comment got lost in spam. Akismet is feeling a bit trigger-happy these days.

    Of course you’re right – we can’t afford to enter a viscious circle here.

    However, since the employers and the unions seem to have reached some sort of a compromise only two days after the strike, it would seem that unions were at least partially right: namely, that employer do have room to manouver, they just don’t want to.

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