Protests to Grip Bulgaria's Capital Sofia on WednesdaySociety | November 30, 2011, Wednesday // 08:11| views
A total of 20 000 people from across Bulgaria are expected to protest in the capital Sofia against planned changes in the retirement system. File photo by Sofia Photo Agency
Tens of thousands of people from across Bulgaria are expected to gather on Wednesday in front of the parliament in downtown Sofia in protest against planned changes in the retirement system.
Bulgaria’s government is considering raising the retirement age by one year from 2012 in an attempt to reduce the rising costs of its pension system, brought about by an aging population and an economic slow-down.
The two major Bulgarian labor unions, the Confederation of Independent Bulgarian Syndicates (KNSB) and the Podkrepa (Support) Labor Confederation, say 20 000 people will join the rally, which coincides with the ongoing strike at the heavily-indebted Bulgarian State Railways, BDZ Holding.
Unionists say there are no signs of improvement in the dialogue with the BDZ management and plan measures to offer legal help to striking workers and will file Court claims over lockout.
Earlier this month Podkrepa and KNSB announced they were quitting 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.
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