Bulgarian Trade Unions, Employers’ Associations Threaten Protests
Bulgarian trade unions have threatened to schedule a protest by the end of the week.
Nikolay Nenkov, Deputy Chair of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB), told the Bulgarian National Radio Tuesday that the consultations on the organization protest would be completed by end-December.
He made clear that CITUB and the Podkrepa Labor Confederation had adopted a joint declaration during a joint sitting on Monday.
Trade unions in Bulgaria adamantly oppose the increase in the planned increase in the retirement age for workers in the third category of labor.
According to reports of Sega daily, both trade unions and employers’ associations have threatened to stage protests in early January 2015.
While trade unions condemn the plans for an increase in the retirement age, employers oppose the minimum wage hike envisaged in the draft 2015 budget.
Vasil Velev, Chair of the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA), noted that employers were considering protests over the “unfounded dramatic increase in the minimum wage.”
He also denounced “the worrying attempts to administrative costs in the sphere of defense and security.”
Nenkov reminded that trade unions had sought a minimum monthly wage of BGN 400, adding that they were dissatisfied with the proposal for a two-stage increase to the rate of BGN 380 in 2015.
He also pointed out that that the trade unions had not been given the formula they had requested for the calculation of the minimum wage.
Nenkov complained that there were next to no achievements in the social sphere except for the minimum wage increase.
The Deputy Chair of CITUB said that the draft 2015 budget gave no cause for optimism about a reduction in unemployment, despite the fact that it had been cited as a priority of the government.
He said that he failed to see concrete plans about reversing the deflationary trend.
Meanwhile, Velev insisted that the ratio of the minimum wage to the average wage stood at 47% instead of the 42% rate used by Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry.
He informed that the EU average amounted to 35-45%.
Velev also predicted that the increase in the minimum wage would boost the ratio of the minimum wage to the average wage to 52% and even to 80% in some sectors and trigger staff cuts and an increase in the share of the informal economy.
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