Police Get Extra Lv 100 Mln for Pay Rise, Protests Suspended

Sofia, January 11 (BTA) - An extra 100 million leva was allocated for a pay rise to the Bulgarian police after a meeting with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov on Thursday. The largest police trade union will suggest Friday that uniformed police suspend or end their protests.

Still, a police rally in Sofia was not called off on Thursday when Bulgaria is formally launching its EU Presidency.

The Prime Minister and representatives of all police trade unions discussed changes in the ordinance on the formation of police salaries. Border security and the fight against smuggling were also on the agenda. Larger budget revenues resulting from a successful fight against contraband trade have made it possible to add to the 55-million-lev rise in the allocation for police salaries compared to 2017.

Galentin Grozev of the Security trade union alliance quoted Borissov as saying that this was not a deal to stop the protests. Grozev also said that all Interior Ministry employees should get a pay rise and that a way should be found to distribute the extra money to everyone's satisfaction.

The Interior Ministry's Chief Secretary Mladen Marinov said the State needs stability, which is provided by the police.

The meeting with Borissov came in the wake of the removal on Tuesday night of a billboard display of the police trade union which has scheduled protests for Thursday. The removed billboard display was in English and Bulgarian and read: "Employees in the Interior Ministry are paid less than their colleagues in the EU. Their basic salary is only 340 euro".

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister said that any number of billboards should be made available to the police. However, they turned down the government's offer to use until January 15 one of the billboards reserved for the EU Council Presidency.

Source: Sofia