Confederations of Trade Unions Are Considering Protests

Sofia, October 7 (BTA) - The leadership of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) and the Podkrepa Confederation of Labour have decided to convene their national protest committees on Monday because of the existing willingness to protest, CITUB President Plamen Dimitrov said here on Saturday. He was speaking at a joint news conference on income problems in Bulgaria with Podkrepa President Dimiter Manolov.

Dimitrov said that the readiness for protests is greater in small municipalities, particularly in budget systems, due to the lower salaries and rarer pay raises.

Presented at the news conference were the results of a survey among some 19,000 trade unionists from CITUB, who were asked whether they had had a pay raise this year and what they would do this autumn to achieve an increase of their incomes. In Dimitrov's words, approximately half of the respondents expressed willingness to protest, particularly in some regions, despite this year's pay raise by 4 to 15 per cent for three-fourths of trade unionists. They still describe their salaries as low, and in some places humiliating, Dimitrov said.

The presidents of CITUB and Podkrepa noted that among the factors causing tension are the non-payment of salaries in some places and the low incomes.

"For us it is important that at the national level the Government take a course towards incomes that are linked to the economy, but not just when the minimum wage is concerned," Dimitrov said. In his words, a minimum monthly wage of 510 leva in 2018 is an insufficient but acceptable step. CITUB wants around 920 million leva of extra expenditures for the salaries of personnel in budget systems next year, i.e. an increase by 13 per cent of the expenditures for 2017, which amount to 7,371 million leva in the country's entire budget system, excluding the National Social Security Institute and the National Health Insurance Fund.

Source: Sofia