3 – Regular violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

Bulgaria

The ITUC affiliates are the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria (KNSB) (CITUB) and the Confederation of Labour PODKREPA.

In practice

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Refusal to bargain with representative unions31-12-2015

The Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria (CITUB) reported that during 2015 there were five cases of employers refusing to negotiate collective agreements in the education system (at the secondary and pre-school level), in state administration, in the electricity sector, and in the energy sector. Cases were also reported at the enterprise level, in light industry and the food processing industry.

There has been a fall in the number of employers signing collective agreements, and in some cases employers do not implement the agreements signed, such us in the energy sector, light industry and education.

Mass dismissal of strikers31-03-2015

In March 2015 workers at a refuse collection and processing company in the city of Vidin went on strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
over the non-payment of their wages for over eight consecutive months. Of a total of 114 workers, 103 joined the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
. The employer began to dismiss all those involved in the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
. The Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria (CITUB) legal experts stepped in and took legal action against the company, appealing against the unfair dismissal of the strikers. All 70 law suits filed were resolved in the workers’ favour, and the employer was ordered to pay the wages owed, and compensation.

Harassment of teachers’ union08-06-2016

The Bulgarian teachers’ federation wrote to the Ministry of Education, the Discrimination Commission and the Regional Education Inspectorate in December 2015 complaining that teachers in a school in Ruse were coerced into signing a statement that they would no longer take part in trade union activities. The Municipal authorities have promised to write to the school directors about avoiding discrimination.

Discrimination against union leader08-06-2016

A transport union federation has filed a law suit in June 2016 with the Discrimination Commission, following the harassment of its leader. The harassment included keeping him on shifts that only gave him the basic legal rate of pay, with no opportunities to earn overtime pay.

Union activity obstructed31-10-2015

In October 2015, a grass roots union in a telecommunications company in the Pernik/Kujstendil region appealed to the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria (CITUB) for its support, after facing constant persecution from management. During an evaluation session that could lead to his possible promotion the union leader was asked if he would cease trade union activities if promoted. Both the union leader and members were the subject of verbal attacks, the union leader’s activities were monitored, and information requested by the union was withheld.

Unfair dismissal of union leader08-06-2016

The head of the union representing workers in a museum in a city in South Bulgaria was removed from his post on 25 June 2015. The proper legal procedures were not respected, and after pressure from the trade union federation, the Director of the museum was dismissed and the union leader reinstated.

Fire fighters’ union under attack31-01-2015

A fire fighters’ union formed at the end of 2014, and affiliated to the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria (CITUB), is struggling to win legal recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. . Changes in the law in January 2015 meant that workers in the fire service, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior, no longer had the right to join a national union confederation, and the legitimacy of the fire fighters union was called into question. The CITUB has written to the National Ombudsman, the Ministry of Interior and parliamentary groups, appealing for the legitimacy of the union to be recognised, and a case is pending before the Constitutional Court.

No negotiations in good faith17-05-2014

The Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria (CITUB) reported that employers refuse to engage in wage bargaining and prolong negotiation in bad faith. Wage negotiations are often excluded from recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. agreement and employers push unions to fix wages through internal pay rules instead. In the chemical industry, employers have delayed the conclusion of a collective agreement for years and workers are still not covered by a collective agreement.

Remotex-Radnevo EAD17-05-2014

Workers at the company Remotex-Radnevo EAD protested against salary arrears which had pushed many workers into poverty in October 2013. During the protest action 5 workers were arrested on the accusation that they blocked a road leading to the company. They were released but condemned to pay fines.

Refusal to bargain in good faith and anti-union discrimination against union leaders14-08-2013

“Toploficatzija – Sofia” SA failed to renegotiate a collective agreement in good faith with the Independent Trade Union Organisation of Energy Workers. The Chair of the union at the enterprise has been dismissed in order to exclude her from the collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
process. In addition, the Chair of the union has been denied access to the company premises for meetings with union members.

The company “Brikel” has been refusing to bargain with the Independent Trade Union Organisation of Energy Workers and imposes the payment of an association fee. This issue has been raised with the labour inspectorate.

Attacks against union premises and property14-08-2013

In response to a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
, the Federation of the Railway Workers has been denied access to its offices by “Holding BDZ”. Subsequently, union property, including the Chair’s telephone, was seized by the employer without its consent.

Organising problematic in multinationals30-11-2009

Organising organising The process of forming or joining a trade union, or inducing other workers to form or join one. is especially difficult at new sites of multinational companies. Although some workers in the more recently opened establishments of the Metro commerce chain and plants of American Standard have joined trade unions, it is still very difficult to obtain real union recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. . Multinationals also rarely respect applicable sector-level collective agreements.

Frequent harassment30-11-2009

In recent years, unions have reported frequent cases of discrimination and harassment against trade union activists and members, who have been relocated, downgraded or sacked. This has created fear and insecurity, often making workers reluctant to join a trade union. The legal proceedings for the reinstatement of dismissed workers can take a long time, sometimes years, while the sanctions against employers for unfair dismissal are too weak to be dissuasive. In the private sector, some employers have simply banned trade union membership within their enterprise and have forced newly employed workers to sign declarations that they will not establish or join trade unions. Temporary employment contracts are increasingly being used to prevent workers from demanding their rights.

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