Bulgarian Employers’ Associations Threaten to Leave ‘Useless’ Tripartite Cooperation CouncilBusiness | February 10, 2015, Tuesday // 16:29| views
Bulgaria's Council of Ministers building, photo by BGNES
Employers’ associations have threatened to leave Bulgaria’s National Council for Tripartite Cooperation (NCTC), stressing that it has degenerated into a non-functioning and meaningless entity.
In a joint statement published Tuesday, the four associations declare that the NCTC has not held a regular sitting since November 28, 2014 and the authorities have adopted important decisions concerning the economic and social policy during the period, sidestepping the NCTC.
According to the organizations, the NCTC has turned into a sham, non-functioning, and meaningless entity.
The open letter expresses concern over the condition of social dialogue in Bulgaria and expresses readiness for the departure of the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA), the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA), the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), and the Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria (CEIBG) from the NCTC.
The four entities call for restoring tripartite dialogue and putting an end to the self-sufficiency of politicians.
The four organizations also object to the lack of discussion at the NCTC on the minimum wage hike and threaten to take the matter to the Supreme Administrative Court (VAS).
At the beginning of January 2015, the minimum monthly wage increased by BGN 20 to BGN 360 and a new hike by BGN 20 is to take place in July.
The BICA, the BIA, the BCCI, and the CEIBG, argue that the Social Insurance Code amendments, as well as a number of other decisions of the government concerning employment relations and social insurance issues, have been adopted as a result of bilateral dialogue with the trade unions only, adding that this constitutes a gross violation of national and international law and the practice of three-way partnership.
The associations threaten to leave the NCTC unless the government reconsiders its current practice of sidestepping consultations with the entity on important issues of Bulgaria’s social and economic development.
In a Tuesday interview for the Bulgarian National Radio, Vasil Velev, Chair of the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA), noted that the NCTC had not held a sitting in over two months and a half, failing to discuss key topics such as the possibility to transfer supplementary compulsory retirement insurance payments from the National Social Security Institute to a private universal pension fund.
Velev insisted that the introduction of the amendments to the Social Insurance Code within just five days at the end of 2014 was something inadmissible, taking into account that the step amended the entire model of the pension system.
He underscored that important bills concerning employment relations were being introduced by MPs without being discussed by the Council of Ministers, thereby sidestepping the NCTC.