Bulgaria, International Labour Organization to Cooperate on Issues Related to Future of Work


Bulgaria, International Labour Organization
to Cooperate on Issues
Related to Future of Work

Sofia, April 18 (BTA) - The Bulgarian Government, trade unions and employers will cooperate with the International Labour Organization (ILO) in addressing issues related to the future of work. This transpired from statements made here on Thursday by Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and National Council for Tripartite Cooperation (NCTC) Chair Mariyana Nikolova and Labour and Social Policy Minister Bisser Petkov, who spoke at the opening of a solemn NCTC meeting marking the ILO's 100th anniversary.

Nikolova expects a large part of classical jobs to be transformed in the future. "Targeted policies must be developed and measures taken in order to improve and adapt the education system and ensure proper training for all age groups," she added. "The new forms of work are characterized by the integration of material production and digital technologies with a change of the role of humans. Future cooperation with the ILO will focus on addressing these issues, which are decisive for the future of work," she said. "The new industrial revolution has the potential to improve productivity, the quality of life and jobs - but only provided it goes hand in hand with growth policies based on inclusion and innovations," the Deputy PM argued.

Petkov noted the need of purposeful and resolute actions at the national and international cooperation level. "Equality is the core of decent work, which in turn is the key to eliminating poverty," said the Labour Minister.

Maurizio Bussi, Deputy Regional Director at the ILO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, presented the main recommendations of a report focusing on increasing investments in people's abilities. A document on the future of work, related to digitalization and the transition to green economy, will be discussed in June on the occasion of the ILO's centenary.

Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) President Plamen Dimitrov said the draft document presented inspires hope, as it acknowledges the need of a new social justice contract. Dimitrov further elaborated on his proposal to establish a national programme for basic digital skills in the context of the actions Bulgaria will have to take regarding the impact of the digitalization process on the future of work.

Dimitrov noted that this country is at the bottom of the table in the EU in terms of digital skills. That is why CITUB is proposing specific actions, such as a new scheme under Operational Programme Human Resources Development, he said, adding that it could target the digital transformation of the labour market and a national programme for essential digital skills. He said that the financing from the European Social Fund for the next programming period is planned to approximate 2.6 billion leva.

The trade union leader proposed the formation of a national alliance for the future of work and companies, similar to Germany, Sweden and all East European countries. He also called for the adoption of two more ILO conventions related to collective bargaining.

Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association Chairman Vassil Velev said that employers are the driving force behind economic growth in Bulgaria but are nevertheless given a bad image, while trade unions are undeservingly labeled as hampering growth. Public procurements amount to 6 billion leva annually, which is 2 per cent of the 300 billion leva' annual sales of companies in Bulgaria, Velev argued. He was adamant that tripartite dialogue in Bulgaria has a future, given that mutual respect and trust is improved.

Source: Sofia