People in Bulgaria look for rights ever more actively: Plamen Dimitrov

Bulgaria among last in EU on compliance with basic workers’ rights, International Trade Union Confederation says

Bulgaria is among the last in EU in terms of basic workers’ rights, guaranteed by the state legislation. That was the conclusion of President of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria Plamen Dimitrov upon presenting the third annual report of the trade union on the trends of non-compliance with labor rights in Bulgaria. According to the Global Index of the International Trade Union Confederation /ITUC/, Bulgaria sits somewhere in the middle globally, the trade union leader reported. The recently published international research shows that this country is in the third group, alongside Spain, GB, Poland and Hungary. Romania and Moldova see the greatest number of violations of workers’ rights, as the rankings seize 142 states all over the globe. “People in Bulgaria have started to raise voice for their labor rights in a more and more active manner”, Plamen Dimitrov said. He set as a goal for the trade union a lower tolerance threshold within employees at any violation of their rights.

The issue with unpaid wages from CITUB’s 2017 agenda has seen its positive development, but still remains a major problem, trade union experts say. Last year’s annual report of the CITUB marks a growth of the delayed wages registered – a bit over EUR 14 million on EUR 10.5 million in 2016. At the same time growth is registered at the sum of paid salaries as well – some EUR 9.5 million in 2017 on EUR 8 million in 2016. The CITUB outlines that the greater share within those delayed payment has been generated mostly by two companies which became famous to the public in early 2017 due to protests. Both enterprises have no activities now and they owe EUR 1.75 million. The other reason for the greater sum of delayed payments can be found in the legislative changes started with the purpose of better protection of the workers’ rights and wages. Also, the public echoing of the problem has caused the submitting of numerous signals from former workers of bankrupted companies. Although the Labor Agency’s bodies of control have no right to interfere, those cases have been checked and the conclusions have been registered with the findings of violations. In its core this is an act of anti-syndicalism, which ruins the social dialogue and collective negotiation, creating an issue within the territory of effective contracting. ‘The right to collective bargaining is our other fight, which we haven’t won yet and this is the path that we should finish,’ the CITUB activists say. They see deliberate anti-syndicalism actions among employers’ organizations, aiming at the discrediting of social dialogue, freedom of association and collective bargaining with the mediation of the syndicates. More from Vice President of CITUB Chavdar Hristov:

“Our report aims the attention of the public, of our organization, of the state bodies, of the legislative and executive powers at those legal issues that we expect to be solved – sooner or later. Thus we waited for 8 years for the right to strike to become reality and now it is a fact. I hope that we will shorten the term for the requirement on collective negotiation for civil servants. This stubborn avoidance of solution seeking on various essential matters will end one way or another. Otherwise we will just continue to put on hold this country’s progress and the normal development of labor relations.”

English version: Zhivko Stanchev

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