Bulgarian trade unions consider going on strike

Two of the main trade unions, KNSB and Podkrepa, consider going on strike against the government’s decision to make the first day of the sick leaves unpaid, local media reported. The teachers’ trade union also threatened that they will close schools. The trade unions insist on the holding of an urgent meeting with PM Boyko Borissov and the national council between the government, employers, and business organisations. One of the leaders of the trade unions already announced that PM Borissov called him to talk on the issue and that he showed comprehension regarding some of the trade unions’ arguments. As the situation risks to escalate and PM Borissov is very sensitive to such social tension, we think that some compromise is likely to be made within the next weeks.

The cabinet announced its decision last week, reasoning that it will put an end to abuses when employees use fake sick leaves to prolong their holidays. A few days later, the government said that the first day of the sick leaves of parents needing to attend their ill children will remain paid. Most of the employers’ organizations welcomed the change as at present the employers cover the first three days of the sick leaves and only afterwards the National Insurance Institute starts paying the due amount to the sick people. However, one of the business organizations, the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce, came up with a statement that the unpaid first day of the sick leaves is ridiculous and will only stimulate less people to pay their insurance. Instead, the chamber demanded that the National Insurance Institute should cover the entire period of sick leaves and that a tightened control on the issued sick leaves is necessary.

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