The Slovenian Banking Union (SBU) was founded the 25th April 1990, eight months before Slovenia’s independence. At that time all the banking trade unions affiliated to the SBU except for the employees of the Komercialna Banka Triglav as this bank’s management did not authorize trade union organisation. Such conditions went on till the liquidation of the bank.

While presenting the founding of the SBU at the beginning of 1990, it is worth underlining that the members of 25 banks’ trade unions seceded from Slovenia’s previous regime free trade union in order mainly to create an independent union for the banking sector which, as an homogeneous union organisation, would protect the interests of its members in the best suitable way. The number of employees who voluntarily – on individual membership form - affiliated to the SBU at the time was very high – up to 95% of all the employees in some banks. Such a high level of membership reflected the socio-economical insecurity that the banking employees were feeling in front of the banking reforms. Throughout the years, the percentage gradually decreased.

At the beginning of its activity, the SBU was confronted with the following issues: we started without any means, from the very beginning and we were located in the premises of Ljubljanska Banka, which withdrew its hospitality after some years. Immediately after our foundation, different political parties found us interesting and tried to attract us in their ranks. But they failed: when creating the trade union, our members decided that we would not be a political trade union and we are still maintaining this position today.

Today, the SBU is the only representative trade union with a foothold in 17 business banks, 7 savings banks and 3 financial organizations. As for two banks, the Bank of Slovenia and Nova Ljubljanska Banka, just one part of the membership is affiliated to us while the other is affiliated to another trade union. Lately, the employees of the Slovenia’s insurances express their interest for membership and discussions are in progress. With our members, we are covering more than half of all the employees of the banking sector. We obtained representativeness for the banking sector in 1993 when the Trade Unions Representativeness Act was adopted.

On the national level, Slovenia has 4 trade union confederations and more than 20 branch trade unions and corporations which are not members of any confederation.

The SBU international activities:· In 1993, we joined the FIET, which later reformed in the UNI – the world trade union confederation – the members of which are among others the banking and the insurance trade unions of all continents.· We have regular, friendly and efficient contacts with the banking trade unions of Italy, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Social partnership:On the level of the banking sector, the SBU has been participating in the conclusion of the banking sector collective agreement since the beginning, from 1990 onwards. On the national level, from 1992 to 1997, as members of the negotiating team we participated, together with four trade union confederations, in the negotiations with the Employers' Association of Slovenia and the Chamber of Commerce of Slovenia for the conclusion of the collective agreement on the national level - agreement that has a general application - and for the conclusion of the social agreements signed by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia as well.

The SBU is also invited to the sessions of the state tripartite body – the Economic and Social Council - although it is not one of its members. This way, we are informed in due time with drafts of regulations and documents governing the field of socio-economic and legal status of employees on the national level.

The SBU ‘s basic activity is the concern for the best possible socio-economic and legal status of its members; therefore the collective agreement of the banking sector is its fundamental document. Four collective agreements were adopted by now in the banking sector, each one of them having a two-years validity, with the possibility of yearly prolongation. Since its establishment the SBU is raising funds for the striking fund, which will ensure social security to its members in cases of longer lasting strikes.

Working conditions in the SBU:Since 2001, the SBU has its own offices of 120 m2 with three employees: the president of the SBU, the secretary general and a secretary. We have concluded a contract of co-operation with three law firms in Slovenia. We are technologically modernising our work and since January 1996 we have our own web page on the Internet: and we have the following e-mail addresses: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Our goals for the future:1. We want to be the main representative trade union for the banking sector as this is the only way to be strong and big enough in our activities.2. We want to establish a quality social partnership on all the organizational levels – from the level of the bank, through the level of the banking sector, to the tripartite organ of the State where we can influence the state social policy.3. We want to contribute to a gradual growth of the socio-economic status of the employees in the banking sector in Slovenia in order to raise the salaries up to the level of comparable working posts in the European countries before the accession of Slovenia to the European union.4. We want to orient our activities primarily towards prevention while protecting the status of our members if it is to be threatened by major structural and economic changes in the banking and financial sector. Through different forms of social partnership, we will demand from financially stronger employers to foresee the problems and the crisis in due time and to inform and consult us on how to solve the problems raised in a human and dignified way.5. Before the accession to the European union we, the representatives of the SBU, would like to be more trained in the following fields: social partnership, methods and techniques of negotiations, human resources management in its largest meaning, introduction of new banking products and new technologies, changes in the system of management and working organisation in banks (team work), changes in education and training of employed banking staff…6. We would like to achieve other goals that will spring up as the consequence of the rapidly developing banking sector in Slovenia in the period of accession to the European union.

We can achieve the enounced goals only if the representatives of employers will accept the social partnership as an important civil, democratic and cultural value. This depends from the maturity of the social partners, from the respect for the other partner and from the capability to understand his problems as well as from the level of understanding the truth: that at the end both social partners have the same goal – a good financial state of the bank. This goal could be achieved only by recognising that a well-trained, motivated and satisfied worker is the biggest capital of the bank.