Bulgaria: national demonstration

On 20 November 2013 more than 8000 working Bulgarians, members of CITUB attended the National protest rally-demonstration organized by the Confederation. They demanded higher wages and better social security, shouting: “We want our money!”, “We are numerous and we are strong!”. The protesters gathered from all over Bulgaria; they represented workers and employees from the sectors of education, healthcare, coal mining, public administration, energy, light industry, culture and many others.

The demonstration was lead by the President of CITUB P,amen Dimitrov, the Vice President and Chair of the National Strike Committee Valentin Nikiforov, as well as other members of the leadership of the Confederation. The march began from the headquarters of CITUB (Macedonia Square), passed by the Ministry of Healthcare, where the Federation of Healthcare Unions with CITUB handed a declaration to the Minister and continued to the National Assembly Square, where the deputies at the National Assembly heard the voice of working Bulgaria.

President Plamen Dimitrov addressed the meeting in front of the National Assembly. He declared that there is an unprecedented situation of social tension and political confrontation in the country, but CITUB will not allow any violation on the rights and interests of the Bulgarian working people who want higher wages and secure employment.

Plamen Nankov, Vice President of CITUB read a declaration, in which he pointed out that just for the last three months the group of the poorest workers has reached 1.7 million people and if the Budget for 2014 is not amended to their benefit, for bigger incomes, the avalanche of discontent would explode into a social blast with unpredictable consequences.

The declaration, which the Federation of the Healthcare Unions delivered to the Ministry of Healthcare demands for an increase of the wages for those working in the budget health organizations with not less than 10% as of 1 January 2014; 20% increase of the wage for those working in emergency and psychiatric hospitals; adoption of the Strategy for Development of the Emergency Health Centers by the Sectoral Council for Tripartite Collaboration as well as optimization of the health insurance contributions and enhancement of the control over their allotment and expenditure, elaborated by the Minister of Health.

The declaration of the Union of Bulgarian Teachers which was delivered to the Ministry of Education demands that a procedure for the conclusion of a new Collective Labour Agreement and a Regulation for an increase of the wages in the healthcare sector is initiated as of 1 January 2014.

The miners at the meeting insisted for urgent measures and regulations to secure settling the accounts of the National Electrical Company with the electricity producers and respectively with the mines; a new market price of the extracted coal, as well as quick and appropriate actions on behalf of the government for issuing permissions for seeking and exploration of mineral resources, new concession awards and extension of the terms of the existing ones. They also appealed to the government to stop the increase of the retirement age and length of service for all categories of workers in the mining and quarrying industry until 2021.

ITUC solidarity letter