Bulgaria Poised for Surge of Anti-government Protests

Domestic | March 17, 2010, Wednesday // 14:15|  views

Bulgaria may expect a wave of protests and strikes across a wide social spectrum - from trades unions, to mothers, and government officials . Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria is going to see a surge of protests within the next several days, with several sectors warning of strike action and demonstrations.

The target is the severe measures proposed by the Bulgarian government in its attempt to reduce the state budget deficit.

Employees of the Interior Ministry have been among the first to announce their protest in reaction to the proposal that civil servants should be obliged to pay their own insurances.

They plan to protest on Saturday, March 20. They may be joined in the streets that day by tax officials, who share their grievance about insurance payments.

Bulgarian mothers have a different reason to stage a protest. They have declared themselves strongly against the cabinet plan to reduce the period of maternity leave from the present 410 days down to 225.

A number of patient organizations are also considering a different legal proposal. They will react if the law on medicinal products in human medicine is introduced in its current form in the plenary session.

"Podkrepa", the labor confederation, has criticized the Bulgarian government in a sharp and extensive statement, has criticized the Bulgarian government on its present policy.

They have claimed that the economic crisis in Bulgaria is becoming more acute; that public finances are in a critical condition; and that the country is facing a collapse of basic social systems.

They have stated that employment is progressively falling, and the trend for the unemployment rate to reach critical levels is a reality. They add that the general impoverishment of the population is on the increase.

The labor unions have concluded that there the Bulgarian government has no considered, balanced, consensual, feasible or effective anti-crisis policy.

They further criticize the cabinet for being unrealistic and inconsistent in trying to achieve short- and medium-term objectives, such as balancing the budget, increasing state revenue, and rapid absorption of European funding.

"Podkrepa" have also attacked the new agenda of imposing more severe restrictions and obligations on citizens who rely on their work to survive.

The confederation claims that, while the ordinary citizen is required to make more sacrifices, the government is making no attempt to touch the benefits of those who have acquired their wealth illicitly, according to their declaration on Wednesday.

They continue by warning that the country faces a total collapse, unless the philosophy and methods of managing the Bulgarian economy are urgently revised and changed.

"Podkrepa" concludes that the country needs a "government of national salvation", and hopes that the Prime Minister’s common sense will lead to a correct and appropriate solution.

The unions confirm their readiness to begin active protests and strike action to defend their members, the entire workforce and all Bulgarian citizens.

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Tags: Bulgaria government, anti-crisis measure, helathcare, social benefits, strike action, street protests, Podkrepa, patient organizations, maternity leave


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