Thousands of Slovenians have taken to the streets of the capital to demand a higher minimum wage and the scrapping of plans to raise the retirement age.
The government maintains a rise in the minimum wage would endanger the country’s competitiveness and result in job cuts. It also argues there is no choice but to raise the retirement age to keep the pension system afloat. One demonstrator said: “The whole family is here for better wages and a decent life. It’s hard to get by, very hard. That’s why we brought our child, so someone will take pity on us.” Another said: “If we can’t accomplish anything through peaceful means, then someone will seek out real revolution. I hope that won’t be necessary and that reason will prevail.” Slovenia has been badly hit by the global financial crisis, with its economy expected to shrink by 7.3 percent this year. However, commentators say a modest recovery is expected next year. Before the downturn, Slovenia was the fastest growing member of the euro zone.