Bulgarian Social Minister Accuses Syndicates of Racket

Domestic | November 26, 2011, Saturday // 11:32|  views

Bulgaria's Social Policy and Labor Minister, Totyu Mladenov, is not resigning yet, despite the yellow card given him by PM Borisov for failure to keep social dialogue open. Photo by BGNES

The Bulgarian labor unions are overreacting and are acting as racketeers, according to Social Policy and Labor Minister, Totyu Mladenov.

Speaking in an interview for the Bulgarian National Television, BNT, Mladenov stated that "this is not a syndicalist republic," stressing the responsibility for the State belongs to the cabinet, and appealing to the labor unions to give up on emotions and replace them with reason.

The Minister voiced a strong appeal for immediate cancelation of the strike at the troubled State-owned Railway Holding BDZ in order to not worsen the situation at the heavily-indebted company, which would lead to even more layoffs. He reassured that Labor Agencies are already planning how to help those who will be subject to the layoffs find a new job.

Mladenov further accused the labor unions in sabotaging the social dialogue over the decision of the Confederation of Independent Bulgarian Syndicates (KNSB) and the Podkrepa (Support) Labor Confederation Podkrepa to quit the Three-Way Council, which now has only representatives of the business and the cabinet. The syndicates are outraged by the controversial and sudden increase of retirement age and eliminating years of service in determining wages of State servants – both brainchildren of Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov.

The move means an imminent failure in negotiations on all important social and economic issues the Council deals with.

The Minister pointed out that these measures aim at guaranteeing the stability of the social security and retirement systems even in a worse-case scenario for the economy in the light of an Europe-wide recession.

According to Mladenov, most Bulgarians want to work, even after reaching retirement age, in order to increase their income. He explained that the State plans a package of measures to encourage those in retirement age to remain on the labor market.

The interview was given in the aftermath of statements of PM Boyko Borisov that he is giving the Minister the "yellow card" over being dissatisfied with his work.

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