Forthcoming amendments to labour legislation

Photo: BGNES

A Ministry of Labour and Social Policy working group is to put forward, this autumn, amendments to the labour legislation. The demand by the Podkrepa Confederation of Labour for restricting working time accounts is to be discussed at an expert level this autumn, said Minister of Labour Biser Petkov at a forum in Sofia dedicated to trade union policies for sustainable employment, decent work and overcoming growing job insecurity. The forum took place in Sofia on 30 and 31 August as part of the training programme of the European Centre for Workers’ Questions (EZA), with organizer the Podkrepa Confederation of Labour.

In the words of Minister Petkov the challenges the market of labour in each one of the EU countries is facing are connected with finding the correct approach to sustainable employment and decent work so as to avert job insecurity and restriction of workers’ social rights. Minister Biser Petkov says that the underlying principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights should serve as guidelines in the development of industrial relations in Europe. He pointed to demographic changes, the need of a transition to sustainability of the environment and a change in the models of production, work and labour relations as major challenges facing society in Bulgaria. At the opening of the forum Minister Petkov pointed out that in recent years the efforts of the Bulgarian government have been focused on maintaining financial stability, attracting new investments and increasing incomes as basic prerequisites for attaining sustainable employment and decent work.

Photo: BTA

Biser Petkov also commented on Podkrepa’s renewed demand for restricting working time accounts as a legislative option applied in continuous production and work in shifts. He added that in May this year the ministry stated its willingness to initiate amendments to the code of labour among which working time accounting. However these amendments did not meet with universal approval among the social partners, said Minister Petkov further and added:

“I hope that this working group now, which has a broader mandate and more time, will develop proposals that are mutually acceptable. On this, it is evident that the employers’ position is different. In view of this what was done earlier was to improve the mechanism of working time accounting by way of amendments to the regulations. But the question raised is a broader one – about the place of this mechanism as such and to what an extent it is compatible with the overall ban on overtime which exists in the code. But to what an extent working time accounting is applied in sectors and activities where no such objective need exists – these are questions that are being discussed by this working group and I hope they will reach a consensus.”

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