Trade Unions: Proposed State Budget Is Best One So Far under Prime Minister Borissov
October 25 (BTA) - The proposed state budget for 2019 is
the best one so far under Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, the
President of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in
Bulgaria (CITUB), Plamen Dimitrov, told the CITUB Coordination
Council on Thursday. The meeting was attended by Finance
Minister Vladislav Goranov.
According to Dimitrov, the proposed scheme implies a
considerable increase in expenditures in many sectors, which can
ensure effective policies and a decent rise in wages for
Bulgaria's 440,000 public sector employees.
"The CITUB's overall assessment of the consolidated fiscal
programme can be described as positive," Dimitrov further said.
The trade union's criticism is that the government has always
lowered its revenue targets over the years, making it easy to
overfulfill them. This applies to the 2019 scheme too. "The
three latest budgets were overfulfilled. This year the budget is
expected to produce a surplus again, despite the planned
deficit," Dimitrov noted.
Revenues in 2019 are projected to increase by 4.6 billion leva
compared with the projection for 2018, "which is definitely good
news," the trade union leader commented. Another piece of good
news for the CITUB is the planned 1 billion leva growth of
social insurance contributions, which can go towards expenditure
Concerning wage expenditures in the public-financed systems, the
proposed framework is close to the CITUB's demands.
But differences about the tax policy remain. The CITUB
disapprove of the flat tax as it is, and believe that a
threshold should be introduced for it.
"The pension system will be stabilizing, and this should be
gladdening," Dimitrov said.
Although the proposed budget stipulates a decent increase in
incomes, the CITUB will keep insisting on higher increases. The
union calls for a 15 to 20 per cent income rise in the culture
sector, in some segments of the healthcare sector, science, the
performing arts etc., Dimitrov said.
Emerging from the meeting, Finance Minister Goranov told
journalists that by the middle of November there will be clarity
about possible Christmas supplements to pensions.
Among the risks for the national economy in 2019, Goranov
singled out what he called an "unusual geopolitical situation"
resulting from the escalating trade war between the United
States, Europe and China, the intention to scrap the nuclear
deal between the United States and Russia, the depreciation of
the Turkish currency, and rising prices of energy sources, which
can create inflation pressure over the short term.
Labour and Social Policy Minister Bisser Petkov said that
members of vulnerable social groups will receive 100 leva in
additional monthly heating allowances. The planned increase of
public sector wages will depend on the individual performance of
each employee, Petkov said.
CITUB leader Dimitrov recalled that the unions have signed an
agreement with the Labour and Social Policy Ministry, under
which the wage increase in the public sector will consist of two
components: a fixed component, which will at least adjust
incomes to inflation, and a floating component, which will
reflect the individual performance of each employee. RY/VE