Bulgarian Trade Unions Criticise Amendments to Collective Bargaining Law

Politics | January 8, 2008, Tuesday // 00:00

Bulgarian trade unions threatened on Tuesday to call a general strike in spring if the country's parliament passes a controversial amendment bill that would severely curtail the unions' rights to strike.

The threat came form Zhelyazko Hristov, chairman of KNSB, one of Bulgaria's two big trade union blocs, after a meeting with labour ministry officials and representatives of the Socialist party, the senior partner in the ruling coalition.

The amendments, authored by four Socialist MPs, would severely curtail the trade unions' power to call strikes and delay the process by requiring all labour disputes to go through an arbitration court with the labour ministry.

Hristov's position was echoed by Konstantin Trenchev, the chairman of the other major trade bloc, Podkrepa.

Socialist MP Maya Manolova said after the meeting that the party did not back the amendments, even though it was its own MPs that authored them.

She also reassured the trade unions that they would be represented in the working group that will be tasked with drafting a new collective bargaining law.

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