Trade unions, employers and the government have signed a major agreement which sets out a range of measures for the coming two years. These cover green and energy issues as well as plans to increase unemployment benefit and pensions. Health workers dealing with COVID-19 will see a 30% increase on pay for the period August-December this year, around 6000 employees will benefit. There is also additional funding for municipalities to ensure that the collective agreement covering childcare nurses is fully implemented. This will particularly affect workers in small towns guaranteeing that they
On 18 June 20 trade union activists and officers from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Turkey took part in a webinar on organizing and recruitment. It was third online meeting prepared and run by the EPSU’s recruitment and organising team.
Public service unions joined the national protest on 27 November calling for action to defend and improve sickness absence rules. Under the slogan "sick workers are not criminals" the Podkrepa confederation called for workers to be covered by sick pay from the first day of absence and for a range of other measures on sick leave and working time. Meanwhile on the same day social workers from the administrative services union in Podkrepa took an hour's strike action calling for a 40% pay increase.
Bulgarian unions are organising actions and protests to demand the government takes steps to ensure decent living and working conditions for workers and families in the country. Podkrepa unions are organising a national-wide protest rally on 27th November 2019.
Around 5000 health workers joined a national demonstration in Sofia on 7 October to call for higher pay and more training to help prevent the loss of more staff from the sector. Following the protest a delegation met the health minister who committed an extra BGN 200m (EUR 102m) to the 2020 budget, three quarters of which would go to fund salary increases. The CITUB confederation said that this would help ensure salaries met a target of BGN 900-950 (EUR 460-485) for nurses and BGN 1100-1200 (EUR 560-615) for doctors.
On 28 March 2019 EPSU participated, together with its representatives of the two national affiliates from Romania, Sanitas, and Croatia, HSSMS-MT, in the kick-off meeting of the joint HOSPEEM-EPSU project focusing on strengthening social dialogue in the hospital sector that will run in 2019 and 2020.
Health unions in Bulgaria signed a new collective agreement on 8 November which includes substantial pay increases for workers across the sector. Compared to the pay rates set in the 2016 collective agreement, the minimum wage for nurses, midwives and laboratory technicians will increase by 22% from 900 lev (EUR 460) to 1100 lev (EUR 560) a month. The basic rate for doctors and pharmacists will increase by just under 30% from 1200 lev (EUR 615) to 1550 lev (EUR 790). Higher increases of up to 50% will be paid to medical specialists.
A new collective agreement for the workers in the water sector came into effect on 2 May and will run for two years. The agreement covers a wide range of pay and conditions and includes an increase on the sector minimum wage, higher rates for night work, a special procedure to protect trade union members against dismissal, additional paid annual leave for parents, for studying and for trade union events) and an annual one week sport event for all workers in the sector.
On 12 May healthworkers in Sofia and Zagreb demonstrated over poor pay and working conditions and the crisis of understaffing. 5000 nurses, medical professionals, midwives and lab technicians joined a demonstration outside the Council of Ministers in Sofia demanding a 1500 Lev (EUR 765) minimum wage for health workers as a step towards stemming the flow of health workers out of the country. In Zagreb the call was also for improved pay and working conditions and in particular the respect for collective agreements in relation to overtime pay.