600 000 People in Bulgaria are Working Poor – Trade UnionSociety | February 27, 2015, Friday // 16:13| views
Konstantin Trenchev (R), honorary President of the Podkrepa Labor Confederation, and Dimitar Manolov (L), President of the Podkrepa Labor Confederation, photo by BGNES
Bulgaria is at the bottom of the EU ranking by hourly-rate remuneration, with an average hourly wage of EUR 3.7, compared to an EU average of EUR 23.7 per hour, according to Eurostat data, as cited by local trade unions.
Eurozone countries have an hourly-rate payment of EUR 28.4, which, however, is not typical of the people working in the spheres of agriculture and the public administration, according to data of the statistical office of the EU, as cited by the representatives of the Podkrepa Labor Confederation during a roundtable discussion on the working poor in Bulgaria on Friday, according to news.bg.
Members of the Podkrepa Labor Confederation drew attention to Eurostat data indicating that the share of Bulgarians living below the poverty threshold stood at over 21% over the past few years, with around 600 000 of them falling in the category of “working poor”, i.e. low-paid full-time workers receiving around or less than BGN 400 per month.
Konstantin Trenchev, honorary President of the Podkrepa Labor Confederation, stated that the group of the working poor had started to emerge in Bulgaria at the end of the 1990s.
He said that it was politicians and employers that could contribute to the solution of the problem.
Dimitar Manolov, President of the Podkrepa Labor Confederation, reminded that a number of quality jobs had been closed over the past few years, while newly arriving foreign investors had turned out to be seekers of quick profits that cared too little for their workers.
Bozhidar Danev, Chair of the Bulgarian Industrial Chamber (BIA), said that Bulgaria had been characterized by negligible GDP growth and a chronic budget deficit over the past four years, with 14.3% of the budget expenditure going to social assistance, and deficits at the National Health Insurance Fund and the National Social Security Institute, and a collapse in foreign investments.
“In order to prevent the existence of the category of working poor, the economy needs to function well,” Danev declared.