Federation of Disabled Workers of Slovenia – activities and aims

Federation of Disabled Workers of

Slovenia – activities and aims

Miran Krajnc, President

Federation of Disabled Workers of Slovenia is the biggest national disability organization.  It includes sixty nine local associations.  Our main mission is to achieve equal opportunities in the field of employability for persons with disabilities, who acquire a status of a worker with a disability through the “DISABILITY AND RETIREMENT INSURANCE LAW”.  From this point of view it is our right and our duty to represent persons with disability in all matters connected to work and life at national, regional and local levels.

The percentage of disabled among all unemployed workers was 14.493 or 14.6% of unemployed persons with disability by the end of 2002. The percentage is decreasing in comparison with December 2001, when this percentage was 18.3%.

Although we are not happy with the statistics we are optimistic about the future.  This is due to the new “LAW ON TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT OF WORKERS WITH DISABILITY” which is soon due to come into the parliamentarian procedure.  It should be ACCEPTED by the end of 2003.

Our members and primarily employed persons with disability expect a lot of our association to help them in the field of employability. They seem to forget that we are after all only a civil society and as such cannot guarantee social security because we cannot guarantee employment. We can only function as a bridge between social service users and the state. It is the state that is responsible for disability security.

Federation of Disabled Workers of Slovenia was looking for more formal links to Trade Unions of Slovenia as official social partner to the state. We succeed some weeks ago with Trade Unions of Slovenia to sign some guidelines in activities of Trade Unions in the field of protecting employment of disabled workers. The content of guidelines is bound to a document issued by International Labour organization in 2002. It was titled “Code of practice on managing disability in the workplace”.

It is our motto that no one is entitled to speak in the name of the people with disability except people with disability themselves. We build our politics on values of European Social Charter. As representatives of disabled workers we refer to the 7th rule of the Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with disabilities on employment.

The disability security in Slovenia development strategy has been accepted by the parliament. We are upgrading it from the point of view of equal opportunities of disability citizens. We defend the rights of persons with disability as human rights and we are against every discrimination of people with disability.

For these reasons Federation of Disabled Workers of Slovenia and Nation Council of disability organizations of Slovenia have given initiative to supplement the 14th article of Slovene constitution. The including disability into the clause (in supplement with disability) would forbid discrimination on the grounds of disability.

Federation of Disabled Workers of Slovenia adds to the network of institution with programmes that include social services for people with disability (according to the law these are performed by the state) by conducting special social programmes at state and local levels.  Let me name some of the most important ones:

Ø      conducting of social and emotional rehabilitation of persons with disability after injuries at work, work-related diseases or other injuries

Ø      conducting health programmes within facilities of Federation of Disabled Workers of Slovenia

Ø      training disable persons for active life and work

Ø      organizing  and conducting work training and direct help for people with disability

Ø      meetings and visits of severely handicapped at their homes

We also conduct numerous programmes in the field of first personal help, recreation, company, creativity, doing away with barriers in habitat, advising, informing, etc.

But, our most important project in European Year of People with Disabilities is  titled “Local communities friendly to people with disabilities”. We will work on it throughout the year 2003. The project will deal specific situations in lives of people with disabilities. It will also try to find possibilities to include them into local communities. Furthermore, it will check if people with disabilities and other citizens have equal possibilities in different fields of social life. The media, public services, disability organizations and the mayor will be included into the finding ways to optimize the solutions.