Slovenia to cut 2/1 and 2/5 holidays, Socialist legacy

Unions say no: Slovenians work more than EU average

30 April, 11:42

(ANSAmed) - LJUBLJANA, APRIL 30 - The austerity measures proposed by the new centre-right government in Ljubljana to reduce the deficit and stabilise Slovenia's public finances calls for two holidays inherited from the Socialist era to be done away with. In order to ''increase GDP which has been seen to be stagnant or in decline over the past three years,'' said the government, ''it will be necessary to do away with the holidays of January 2 and May 2.'' Up until now two days of holiday have long been observed for January 1 and May 1. The government proposal, under discussion in the parliament alongside many other austerity measures, has given rise to bitter debate. Those in favour of eliminating the holidays say that it is a remnant of the Socialist period, when it was a custom to have many holidays. However, since the latter did not include religious holidays - such as Christmas and Easter - the total number of days not worked were not excessive. Unions (which strongly oppose any reduction in holidays) say that ''Slovenian workers are exhausted and work more than the EU average''. They claim that ''30% of Slovenians work up to 70 hours per week, and put in 12 million hours of overtime every year - a good portion of which are not paid.'' If the proposal is approved, it will come into force beginning in 2013, and so this year Slovenians will continue to have a day off on May 2. (ANSAmed).

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