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Slovenia police resume strike as new government takes over

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenian police resumed their strike for higher wages on Monday, less then three weeks after a new minority centre-left government led by Prime Minister Marjan Sarec took power following a June parliamentary election.

The police, who are demanding an average wage increase of about 15 percent, began their strike in February but suspended it in March when the previous prime minister resigned, prompting an early election.

They sent their demands to the new government a few days after it was formed but have so far received no reply, Radivoj Urosevic, the head of the Police Trade Union, told Reuters.

"The position of the police is bad, which is why the number of policemen in the country is shrinking," Urosevic said, adding that the police would continue to perform all duties necessary to ensure security in the country.

By midday on Monday no incidents caused by the police strike had been reported.

A number of other trade unions are also demanding higher wages, including teachers and nurses, and the government last Thursday formed a team to conduct negotiations with the public sector trade unions.

The previous government said earlier this year that all the trade union wage demands amounted to about one billion euros, adding that the budget could not cover such wage hikes.

Slovenia hopes to end 2018 with a budget surplus of about 0.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) versus a surplus of 0.03 percent last year.

"The government is taking the demands of the police trade unions and other trade unions very seriously," the Ministry of Public Administration said in a statement on Friday.

"The agreement between the government and trade unions is an absolute priority for the government so we are aiming for talks to begin as soon as possible," it added.

(Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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