site.btaTrade Unions Organize Conference on EU Directive on Minimum Wage

Trade Unions Organize Conference on EU Directive on Minimum Wage
Trade Unions Organize Conference on EU Directive on Minimum Wage
Photo of the event

A conference on the European Union’s Directive on minimum wage and the opportunities it opens for Bulgarian trade unions took place in Sofia on Wednesday. It was organized by Confederation of Labour Podkrepa and Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria (CITUB).

CITUB chief economist Lyuboslav Kostov said that in 2025 the minimum wage in the country should reach BGN 1,080.

On September 1, the Labour Minister will set the minimum wage for next year, Kostov added, recalling that the average wage for the first quarter of 2024 was 2,200 BGN. He said the proposal for the future minimum wage was for a 15.7% increase.

In response to a question whether this amount would be adequate, Kostov recalled that according to an analysis of the trade union, a working person can cover his basic expenses with a salary of at least BGN 1,450.

Kostov expressed hope for progress in the negotiation process between the trade unions and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy on the transposition of the texts of the European Directive. He said the deadline for transposition was 15 November and that it would probably not be met. 

The state should have a plan on what it will do to raise the coverage with collective agreements to 80% as stipulated in the directive, Kostov added. He pointed out that the workplaces with collective agreements give 14% higher minimum wage compared to places where there is no collective agreement and social inequalities decrease. 

Confederation of Labour Podkrepa chief economist Atanas Katsarchev said that half a year ago the trade unions gave their proposals and are waiting for a response from the executive. “We have to look for economic efficiency, but also social justice. After the transposition of this directive the unions will become stronger and will have more tools of influence,” he added. 

Confederation of Labour Podkrepa President Dimitar Manolov pointed out that the trade unions are working in conditions of severe political instability, which always affects the outcome of the their work. He added that the first step in the implementation of the Directive has already been taken in Bulgaria and the methodology in which the minimum wage is determined has been legally introduced.

“It is hard to expect a consensus on the issue, as our goal is to increase the minimum wage to be as much as possible, while the business has radically opposite target,” Manolov underlined.

Labour Ministry’s Labour Law and Working Conditions Unit Head Nenko Salchev said that the Directive will start to be implemented after its transposition and that the Ministry awaits the proposals of the social partners.

The share of persons covered by collective agreements increased by 14.2% between 2011 and 2023, with 193 collective agreements in the industry covering 118,000 people as of December 31, 2023. Only about one-third of collective agreements negotiate a minimum wage at all, Salchev said. In the cases in which there is collective agreement, the minimum wage is much higher, as the average agreed minimum wage was BGN 1,185, compared to a minimum wage for the country of BGN 780, he added.

/YV/

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By 14:15 on 17.06.2024 Today`s news

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