With the strike, the union of personal assistants draws attention to the worsening working conditions of employees in this activity. Among other things, they demand sufficient financing of the activity, the conclusion of a collective agreement for the activity of personal assistance and the adoption of norms.
At 11 a.m., they gathered in front of the Ministry of Labor for a protest rally.
The union’s strike demands are also to ensure the protection of the rights and position of personal assistants in the case of supervision over individual personal assistance providers, if they are recognized as suspected violators, the immediate cessation of pressure from the Ministry of Labor regarding the use of the personal assistance application and the search for a more suitable solution for recording hours, and strike payment.
Many employers are reducing workers’ rights, such as vacation and allowances, the union warns. According to the trade union, the rules on personal assistance adopted by the previous government deregulated workers’ rights, and the current government continues this practice. The hourly price of the service allocated by the ministry for personal assistance is 15 euros. In order to be able to guarantee the volume and quality of services and the rights of assistants at a level before inflation and inflation, the price of an hour of service, according to the union, should be at least 16.64 euros.
Strike from midnight to 10 p.m
The strike lasts from midnight to 10 p.m., and at 11 a.m. beneficiaries of personal assistance and employees in this activity gathered at a protest rally in front of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities in Ljubljana. A large number gathered with banners and shouts to the authorities, especially the Minister of Labour Luke Mescu, message that they have had enough and that the current situation is unsustainable.
“Our strike demands are the minimum, the situation is unbearable and it will only get worse,” a representative of the union of personal assistants warned in his address to the gathering Nenad H. Vitorović. According to the union’s belief, the only normal solution would be the transfer of personal assistance activities to the public sector, the establishment of a public institute and the end of the “wild west”, as Vitorović described the current situation.
Today’s strike is not directed so much against the employers, but mainly against the authorities, i.e. the ministries of labor and finance, explained the president of the Free Trade Union of Slovenia (SSS). Mirsad Begic. “Today’s strike is a strike of personal assistants, because as direct performers and the central human engine of our activities, they are forgotten, pushed aside, ignored,” he emphasized.
Personal assistants Laura and Sabina pointed out at the rally that it is physical and hard work for which they deserve to be paid fairly. At the same time, they called for fairer working conditions.
The user of personal assistance services is also convinced that personal assistants must be fairly paid for their work Alexander. By reducing the rights of personal assistants, the Ministry of Labor also reduces the rights of beneficiaries of personal assistance, he was clear.
Representatives of the trade unions Glosa, Tuš and Zasuk and representatives of the Youth for Climate Justice movement also expressed their support for the strike and the personal assistance workers at the rally.
Those gathered shouted and urged Minister Mesco to explain to them when they would be provided with sufficient funding. As Vitorović said, they were informed that the minister was not at the ministry at the time of the rally, as he was in the government premises on Gregorčičeva Street.
After the rally, the ministry announced again that they intend to address the financial malnutrition of institutions after drafting an amendment to the Personal Assistance Act. They expressed their support for the trade union regarding the conclusion of a collective agreement in the field of personal assistance.
In the afternoon, there will also be an assembly of the union of personal assistants.
A proposal to the Constitutional Court for an assessment of the constitutionality of the regulation of personal assistance
The defender of the principle of equality requests a review of the constitutionality of the law on personal assistance. Today, when the personal assistants are on strike, the defender of the principle of equality announced that he has submitted a request to the Constitutional Court for a review of the constitutionality of the law on personal assistance. In his opinion, the law is discriminatory because it regulates the rights of people with disabilities based on their age, but at the same time, the competent ministry did not take into account the recommendation that this discrimination should be eliminated.
Beneficiaries of personal assistance, according to the definition of the law, are disabled people aged 18 to 65 who need help in carrying out activities for an independent personal and family life, in integration into the environment, education and employment for at least 30 hours a week. The defender of the principle of equality is already in at the beginning of 2021 said that such a definition is discriminatory. He made the decision based on the application of a person who applied for personal assistance a few months after turning 65. “During the evaluation process, counsel found no valid reason for denying the right to personal assistance to a certain age group of people with disabilities on the basis of age alone. He also found that there are no services comparable to personal assistance for over-65s . Although these persons with disabilities can benefit from the institute of a family assistant or help to the family at home, these forms of assistance are less accessible, less extensive and more expensive for the user compared to personal assistance,” the press release stated.
The revised Act on Personal Assistance in November 2021 did not take into account the defender’s assessment, but in February this year he received a new proposal for a request for a constitutionality assessment, in which the proposer cited the case of two equally seriously ill people who need comparable assistance services, but only because of the age difference between they receive various forms of assistance. A patient under the age of 65 is entitled to 24-hour personal assistance, while a patient over the age of 65 is only entitled to an allowance for assistance and service.
Unequal treatment of persons with disabilities only because of age is unfounded and constitutes discrimination in accessing the right to personal assistance. The advocate therefore proposes to the Constitutional Court that, if the law is inconsistent with the Constitution, it should order the National Assembly to amend the law in which age restrictions will be excluded.