Bulgarian NGO Proposes Wage Differentiation by Types of Economic Activity
The Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA) has proposed a differentiation of minimum wages by types of economic activity rather than by regions.
Speaking Monday in an interview for Darik radio, BICA Chair Vasil Velev suggested that after employers and trade unions had negotiated a certain minimum threshold for a certain activity, administrative provisions were not to introduce a different cap.
Velev voiced fears that the economic growth provided under Budget 2013 had been overestimated which could put the country into an unfavorable situation.
"BICA suggests that the minimum monthly wage in Bulgaria, if there is such, is to be negotiated by types of economic activity between the branch organizations of employers and trade unions, as the minimum social security thresholds are negotiated," Velev explained.
The BICA Chair argued that minimum wage differentiation by types of economic activity was a better solution than a differentiation by regions.
Asked if talks on such a step could take place in 2013 or over the next few years, Velev said that "if there is a will, there is still a way to do this since talks have already been held to establish thresholds for low-qualified labor for five occupational categories and 58 types of economic activity, the minimum being set at BGN 290 for some jobs."
Velev noted that BICA found it hard to understand why administrative provisions set a minimum threshold of BGN 310 per month given that trade unions and employers had agreed that the bottom line of BGN 290 was appropriate.
Bulgaria's Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Simeon Djankov said in a Friday interview that the government would discuss the introduction of regionally differentiated minimum wages with representatives of the business sector and the trade unions.
Djankov argued that residents of big cities like Sofia, Plovdiv or Burgas were hardly likely accept a monthly payment of BGN 310, while a substantial share of the private sector workers in northwestern Bulgaria, the poorest EU region, were paid minimum wage.
Representatives of the business sector and the trade unions responded differently to Djankov's proposal, with the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA) defining it as "reasonable", as opposed to the label of "unacceptable" by the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB).
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