Last-Minute Cuts to Bulgarian Interior Ministry's Budget Raise Tensions
A union representing the staff of Bulgaria's Interior Ministry is threatening to stage protests Wednesday over eleventh-hour changes to the 2016 draft budget that would result in massive spending cuts.
Part of the measures, which were reportedly added to the draft budget after it had already been voted by the cabinet last week, include changes to retirement rules.
One of these envisages that the number of salaries paid off to employees upon their retirement from the system will drop to 10, down from the twenty monthly wages they receive now. Extra remuneration for the amount of time an employee has worked for the system the system will also be cut if changes are passed, unions have warned.
Another suggests paid leave will be reduced to 20 days a year, compared to the 30 days an Interior Ministry employee has now.
The Bulgarian government has now confirmed, adding it was considering to introduce the same measures with regard to the Defense Ministry and the State Agency for National Security (DANS).
"Many of the co-workers at the Interior Ministry have over 20 years [of experience], which means their wages will drop by 40%," a union member told the Bulgarian National Radio on Tuesday.
The website Dnevnik.bg quotes sources "familiar to the amendments" as saying they were introduced after a cabinet session on Friday when the draft budget for next year was approved. Some of them would supposedly bring about legal changes that would allow spending to shrink.
The Interior Ministry, Bulgaria's biggest employer with over 52 000 people (police officers and other staff included), has been at the center of debates in the past few years over issues such as early retirement.
Two directorate chiefs at the ministry have meanwhile submitted resignations just after news of the changes emerged. Neither of them has elaborated, but reports suggest other heads of departments are doing the same.
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