Slovenian plan to restructure electricity distribution criticized

{(20 May 2010)} The Slovenian government proposed plans to restructure the electricity distribution sector arguing to split the retail from the network business, over summer 2010. The government had the intention to adopt it quickly and ride rough shot over the interests of the workers and citizens. EPSU affiliate SDE organized a warning strike which was followed massively by the workers in the distribution companies. The union argued that the plans would not bring the desired benefits and would costs jobs whereas alternatives were not explored. The government retreated and started a process of discussion with the union. As part of that process and because the government remained deaf to the demands of the union, the union commissioned its own research which was presented at a press conference 18 May 2010. [Prof. Bojan Bugaric->http://www.pf.uni-lj.si/en/faculty/teachers/bojan-bugaric-phd-associate-professor/] of the Ljubljana University picked apart the arguments of the government and found there was little justification for the government’s TINA (There Is No Alternative) position. He provided evidence that other European countries had found other solutions. Dave Hall of PSIRU ([www.psiru.org->www.psiru.org]) backed this up with an international comparison and providing an economic rationale for the continued bundling of retail and distribution companies. He also argued in favour of the Hollywood model: the Los Angelos public water and energy company that continued to provide electricity to business and citizens of this 10 million strong population when private company Enron and others threw California into a series of crippling blackouts costing the citizens years to clean up and repair. EPSU’s Jan Willem Goudriaan supported the demand of the union for a continued social dialogue, for exploring alternatives and a commission to consider alternatives. He underlines that EPSU would support the union might it come to conflict and the union evokes the charter on transnational solidarity. [SDE->http://www.sindikat-sde.si/] President Franc Dolar warned the government that strike action was postponed in August but that the union was ready to pick up the fight again. - [Read our report on August 2009 strike in Slovenia->art5679]