In April 2019, a new collective agreement for the coal mining industry in Slovenia was signed within the premises of the operator of the only mine in the country still opened for an exploitation (the Velenje Coal Mine). Negotiation and coordination process among the leadership and employees that took more than three years has resulted in the new agreement with 24 fields.
The previous Collective Agreement for the Slovenian coal mining industry had been in force since 1996 and later updated with five annexes. The majority of changes in the new collective agreement are related to the changed labour legislation, which could be anticipated due to thorough changes in the legislation since 1996.
The Velenje Coal Mine (Premogovnik Velenje, d.o.o.), only mine in the country still opened for an exploitation, is a technologically advanced company with an over 140-year tradition in lignite mining. Each year, the company produces over 3 million tonnes of lignite (3.35 million tonnes in 2017), which is used at nearby Šoštanj Thermal Power Plant. At today’s mining output, there are enough deposits of the Velenje lignite for another four decades of the coal mine operation, but due to changes in the energy industry and the envisaged changes in the operation of the Šoštanj Thermal Power Plant, mining sites will close before lignite reserves are exhausted. A gradual closure of the mine and the abandonment of fossil fuels at the Šoštanj Thermal Power in the future will have a significant role in the country’s energy transition as both companies represent an important energy pillar of Slovenia, accounting for around 30 % of the country’s electric power production.
Photo: Vranič Matej