Thousands of Bulgarians held a demonstration in Sofia on Friday (11/11/2022), demanding an increase in the minimum wage. This was done during the high prices of necessities due to the surge in inflation that hit the Eastern European country.
However, Bulgarian Economy Minister Nikola Stoyanov said that inflation in his country was under control in October. He also said inflation had passed its peak last September.
Not only that, Stoyanov added that compensation or electricity assistance to affected businesses will continue until the end of 2023.
1. Demonstrations demand parliament include wage increases in the state budget
The demonstration in the Bulgarian capital this time was organized by the two largest trade unions in Bulgaria. Demonstrators voiced their actions in front of the parliament building while carrying banners and calling for an increase in the minimum wage.
The unions have called on parliament to speed up the adoption of the state budget next year. They fear a freeze on the minimum wage at the same level amid soaring inflation, protection of workers’ rights, and a lack of energy ahead of winter.
One of the participants in the demonstration, Marina Yovcheva, who works as a medical officer, joined this action to demand an increase in her wages, which was insufficient to meet her current needs.
“We are protesting because our work is hard. I am a doctor in the emergency unit and want to be properly paid for what I have done,” he explained.
2. Experts urge minimum wage increase in Bulgaria ahead of joining the eurozone
Meanwhile, economist Lyuboslav Kostov from the trade union urged lawmakers to work as required. He also asked the legislature to include this in the state budget next year.
Kostov also explained that the budget should include an increase in the minimum wage. This is in response to Bulgaria’s desire to join the eurozone from January 1, 2024.
However, Bulgarians are currently governed by an interim cabinet with limited powers to administer the law. This Eastern European country continues to experience a stalemate in forming a governing coalition in recent years.
3. Ukrainian refugees hold demonstrations ahead of a hotel stay
The day before, Ukrainians in Varna, Bulgaria, staged a demonstration demanding the Bulgarians local government refrain from relocating them to refugee shelters.
This follows a decision by the Bulgarian government to remove all Ukrainian refugees from hotels until November 15. In addition to Ukrainian refugees, this demonstration was attended by local volunteers who support the welfare of Ukrainian citizens.
“Drama isn’t just about the conditions under which they will be accommodated during future transfers. However, it’s a hindrance, a mistake, a sabotage of the real integration that begins when they are settled.”
This peaceful demonstration was held at Sunny Beach Bansko and Kranevo, in front of the hotel and resort. The residents who attended this demonstration were around 600-1000 people, according to those registered with the city.