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Bulgaria Marks Labour Day

On May 1, Bulgaria marks International Workers’ Day (Labour Day), celebrated annually in this country since 1945. Traditionally, on this date trade unions organize marches, concerts and information campaigns. 
In an address on the occasion of Labour Day, Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) President Plamen Dimitrov said that hundreds of thousands of Bulgarians are still working poor, and the inequalities in incomes remain the biggest in the EU. “Finding ourselves in a multi-layered economic, social and health crisis caused by the long-term impact of the pandemic and the horrifying events in Ukraine, on today’s May 1 we state once again that the future of working Bulgaria is unthinkable without an increase of incomes in a manner that does not take away purchasing power,” reads the address, published on the CITUB website. 
In Dimitrov’s words, Bulgarians’ purchasing power as well as their minimum wage should increase. 
In an interview for BTA, economic advisor to the Podkrepa Confederation of Labour Vanya Grigorova said that Bulgarian workers have rights, as this country’s legislation is one of the best in the EU. “They have to realize that they have power and instruments at their disposal, but courage is also needed,” she added. 
She went on to say that on May 1, 2022 trade unions and workers in Bulgaria should fight for an increase of their wages that would cover at least the inflation, which is expected to exceed 20%. Nearly 1.4 million people in this country cannot cover their basic needs with their salaries, she noted. 
Talking about Ukrainian refugees, Grigorova said that Bulgarian workers’ rights need to be protected so that the rights of Ukrainian workers here would be protested as well. Jobs will be found for them but these would not ensure normal remuneration and full observation of the labour legislation. That is why Podkrepa continues to insist that Ukrainian refugees, who are potential workers here, should be given access to information on their rights and on where they can receive assistance, she said.
In a televised interview, Labour and Social Policy Minister Georgi Gyokov said that his ministry is working on a new mechanism for determining the minimum wage so that it would not depend on a series of subjective factors. “We are currently making calculations based on a minimum wage of 760 leva, but we are yet to reach an understanding with the Finance Ministry, who consider it a precedent to have two increases of the minimum wage in one calendar year,” he told Nova TV. 
He expressed the hope that an agreement would be reached before the planned update of the 2022 state budget. Once the Finance Ministry approves the increase, the matter will be put to discussion with the coalition partners and the trade unions, which traditionally approve wage increases, while employers are against.
The Labour Minister also said that social workers will get a pay raise of at least 10 per cent. Pensions will be increased twice this year – in July and October – by more than 10 per cent. The second increase would compensate for the difference between old and new pensions, he explained.