site.btaTrade Unions: Cost of Crisis May Be Passed on to Working People
An attempt could be made to pass on the cost of the crisis to the working people, said Dimitar Manolov and Plamen Dimitrov, presidents of Podkrepa Labour Confederation and the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) at a joint press conference Friday.
Manolov expressed his pessimism, which is due to a lack of real partner with whom to conduct strategic negotiations, and the income, which he sees as a significant challenge.
Parliament decided to set the minimum wage as 50% of the average - a decision partially supported by the trade unions. They opposed the fact that the ratio was fixed and did not allow neither for tripartite negotiations nor for a higher minimum wage. According to the European directive on adequate minimum wages, a large number of indicators are taken into account, one of them being the cost of living, the unions said. Employers also did not support the proposal, even announcing on Thursday that they would refer the matter to the European Commission.
There are tensions in several industries, such as the Bulgarian Posts, where signatures are being collected for strike action. The situation is similar in the water and sewerage sector and public transport in Sofia, said CITUB President Plamen Dimitrov.
During the event at the headquarters of Podkrepa, an updated Joint Declaration with measures in the field of income, green transition and energy and labour rights, as well as data on social tensions in the country and readiness for protest and strike action were presented.
The two unions are pushing for wage increases, not lower than 15% to offset inflation for 2023. For agencies working in the field, the two confederations want a 20% wage increase.
The minimum wage should be raised as early as June this year to BGN 850, and from the beginning of 2024 it should become 1,000 leva, the two confederations said. The unions want to introduce a tax-free wage equal to the minimum one, which will stimulate consumption and reduce inequality.