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Name and address of your Council:

Economic and Social Council

Gregorčičeva 20, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

tel.: +386 1 478 1537, fax: +386 1 478 1532




The Economic and Social Council of the Republic of Slovenia (ESC) was established in 1994 when the Wage Policy Agreement for the non-government sector was adopted. It was founded by the social partners – employers' organisations and trade unions – and the Government of the Republic of Slovenia. It is the highest-level body representing the social partners in the country. Its working procedures are governed by the Rules of Procedure of the Economic and Social Council, which date from 1994 and were last amended in 2007.



The ESC was primarily set up to deal with issues related to the social agreement and wage policy, social policy, employment issues and working conditions, collective bargaining, prices and taxes, the economic system and economic policy, plus other areas falling within the remit of the social partners.

As well as dealing with areas requiring tripartite agreement, the ESC can also examine other matters of an economic and social nature.

In addition to its advisory role, the ESC has a key role in negotiations, with the social agreements - and, until some years ago, wage policy agreements too - being adopted under its auspices. So far, four social agreements have been adopted through the ESC, the latest in October 2007. This agreement, obtained after eighteen months of negotiations, will apply until 2009. Several laws relating to wage policy have been adopted on the basis of the wage policy agreements concluded by the ESC. The most recent agreement of this kind, covering the 2004-2006 period, was concluded in spring 2004.

The ESC examines draft legislation covering the entire spectrum of economic and social relations between employers and employees. In this respect, the 1999 agreement reached between the social partners on the pension system reform and the 2002 law on employment relationships are considered major achievements. Both were later modified and, in 2006, further amendments to the Employment Relationship Law came under discussion between the social partners and the government. After a year of negotiations, consensus was achieved in June 2007.The ESC also examines strategic development papers put forward by the government, amongst them Slovenia's development strategy and the draft economic and social reform package to enhance the competitiveness of the Slovenian economy. It was also consulted on the reform programme for the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy and thereafter on the yearly reports on the implementation of the programme. In addition, it puts together position papers and opinions on the Budget Memorandum and State Budget and on documents dealing with employment, health and housing policy; it also discusses regulations concerning health and safety at work, as well as other matters of topical importance.




In accordance with the latest amendments to the Rules of Procedure, each of the categories of social partner and the government can have up to eight members, and alternate members, within the ESC. At present, the employee associations group has eight members and the employers group and the government each have seven members, which means that the ESC is currently made up of 22 members, and their alternates. The Government is represented by five ministers (the ministers for employment, family and social affairs; finance; the economy; the public sector; and development), the director of the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development and a representative from the prime minister's office. The employee associations group for the most part is made up of the chairs of the trade union confederations while the employers group is made up of the presidents and other members of the boards of various chambers and associations.

Members of other organisations, although not officially represented on the Council, also play an active role in the work of the ESC when issues concerning their particular areas of interest are being discussed.

Each of the categories of social partner has its own chairperson, and a deputy, appointed for a term of office of one year. The members of a group can agree to subdivide this into shorter periods. The trade union confederations have so far made use of this option enabling each of the four confederations representing employees' interests in the ESC to hold the chair for a three-month period. With a greater number of trade union confederations participating as members of the ESC, they will probably opt for a different approach. The members of the employers' group have taken it in turn to act as chair for the group and they will almost certainly continue to do so in future. For the term of office of the ESC president, the deputy is also a member of the same group. The current ESC president is the Minister of Labour, Family and Social Affairs, Mrs Marjeta Cotman.



The ESC usually meets in plenary session, with meetings held either at the request of one of the groups of social partners or at least once a month. The ESC president (or the deputy) convenes and chairs the sessions. As a rule, sessions are held in a regular fashion; however, in certain cases, the social partners can forward their opinions electronically, especially when formal consensus on a particular issue is being sought.

The ESC can also set up standing and temporary working groups to deal with individual projects or to handle the technical groundwork leading up to decisions. These working groups are made up of representatives of the social partners and independent experts.

The ESC's specialist administration is run by the government, more specifically by its secretariat-general, which also ensures that suitable working conditions and any necessary technical support are provided.

The funds for running the ESC are provided by the government out of the budget.



Working methods:

The ESC produces opinions, position papers, proposals and recommendations on the various issues it deals with. These are submitted to the relevant ministry, the government, parliament and/or other institutions concerned. The decisions of the ESC are binding on the organisations and working bodies of all three partners.

Decisions in the ESC are taken by unanimity, with each of the social partners and the government carrying one vote. If consensus or unanimity cannot be achieved amongst the partners even after negotiation, the ESC may not formally adopt a common position on the issue. If consensus is not reached amongst the members of one of the social partners' groups, that group will engage in separate negotiations to endeavour to reach a consensus.

The ESC's sessions are open to the public and always enjoy good media coverage.