Prison Officers from across the Country Staged a Protest over Low Wages
Prison officers from the prisons and remand centresfrom across Bulgaria staged a protest in the morning on 29th of January in demand of higher wages and better working conditions. They were backed by a statement from their colleagues from the Court Guard unit, and several Ministry of Interior officers who were off duty and joined the protest.
The protest of the prison staff and employees of the remand centres and the Court Guard unit is held on their professional holiday. In Varna, the protest began exactly 12:00 outside the prison building, BNT correspondent Nora Bocheva said. Anatoli Atanasov from the trade union of the prison staff explained that the demands of the employees remain unchanged: was 20% pay rise and equalising the remunerations with the size of the remuneration of their colleagues from the Ministry of the Interior, State Agency for National Security and ministry of defence.
Other demands include improvement of the working conditions and appointment of more staff to fill in the vacancies and ndew positions to be added to the staff complement.
The protest took place in several cities in Bulgaria.
There were pledges from the Minister of Justice, there were pledges from the government, there were promises that there would really be some movement in the direction of our demands,Plamena Petkova, Chair of the Trade Union, said.
According to protesters in Plovdiv, there are not enough employees because of the low salaries.
Yuri Kornov says that a new employee starts work with a basic salary of 540 to 570 BGNy, and from January 1 the minimum wage is 510 BGN and every prisoner who works gets it.
In Sofia the trade unions declared that the employees of the General Directorate "Security" and the General Directorate "Execution of Penalties" were discriminated. After it became clear that the police would receive an extra 100 million BGN the prison guards were firmly certain they would not give up their demands.
Kristian Madzhev from the prison in Sofia says that their work was underestimated. “Few guards, many inmates,” he said.
Emanuil Chorbadzhiyski explains that 30 officers on duty are responsible for about 900 prisoners per day.
Marinella Georgievska: There is no security in our work. All he time, we get threats and offensive attitude. We have obligations, but we have no rights. I think it is also important to pay attention to the employees, not just the prisoners.
On February 10, trade unions will decide whether to announce the launch of national protests. The justice ministry said they were aware of the demands of the trade unions and the dialogue with them was intense, in the form of a series of working meetings. The ministry points out that equal treatment of all structures in the security sector is needed. The issue raised by the trade unions as reards updating the 2018-year budget has been referred to the relevant authority - the Ministry of Finance.
Source: The Bulgarian National Television
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