Trade Union Argues for Minimum Wage of Lv 730 in 2022

NW 15:23:31 11-01-2022

Trade Union Argues
for Minimum Wage of Lv 730
in 2022

Sofia, January 11 (BTA) - Plamen Dimitrov, President of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB), said it is fully attainable to raise the minimum monthly wage to 730 leva in 2022. Addressing Tuesday's discussion on "A Worthy Minimum Wage to Curb Cheap Labour", he said this would be a compromise between the trade union's demands and the government's proposal.

The 2022 State budget, which is yet to be drafted and adopted, envisages setting the minimum wage at 710 leva from March, up from 650 leva now.

The Bulgarians who earned the minimum wage in 2021 lost 1 per cent of their purchasing power. This is the first time since 2011 that people drawing the minimum wage have lost purchasing power, said Dimitrov and Lyuboslav Kostov, Director of CITUB's Institute for Social and Trade Union Research. The Bulgarians living on the minimum wage can afford the smallest amount of inferior goods compared to the other Europeans; those Bulgarians can buy the smallest amount of bread. The net minimum wage in Bulgaria should be 350 euro if people are to have the net purchasing power of minimum wage earners in Romania, said Kostov.

More than 870,000 people in Bulgaria earn close to or equal to the minimum wage, according to Finance Ministry data cited by Dimitrov.

Claims that a higher minimum wage will slash less productive jobs and leave low-skilled workers without chances to find jobs have not been confirmed, said Dimitrov. There is no empirical evidence that low-skilled employment falls as the minimum wage rises; on the contrary, in years when it increases as a percentage of the average wage, low-skilled employment grows.

Dimitrov and Kostov argued that CITUB's demand for the minimum wage to become equal to the living wage so that there would not be working poor is a strategic point of political significance for the future of the democratic process. "If people with jobs cannot make ends meet, there must be something wrong," said Plamen Dimitrov.

Peter Nachev, head of the Living Standard, Demographic Policy and Social Investments Directorate at the Labour and Social Policy Ministry, said the government's programme envisages mapping out an income strategy within 12 months with the participation of the social partners.

Jeliaz Enev from the Economy Ministry said the minimum wage should rise in line with clear rules which would not hamper the country's economic development.

Employers' representative Teodor Dechev raised the issue of the relationship between GDP and the minimum wage. CITUB's Chief Economist Lyuboslav Kostov retorted that the employment rate increases and the jobless rate falls as the minimum wage rises. RY/DD