Trade Union Rights Today

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Recently independent, trade unionism faces hostility due to privatisation and new employers that have emerged. As a result social dialogue has had to begin from scratch in some cases, and in the private sector it is still informally banned.

Today, trade union density in the country is 20%, with 27% density in the transport sector.

The law does not provide adequate protection against acts of interference by employers. Strikes are hindered by excessive legal prerequisites requiring the majority of all workers in an enterprise to vote in favour of strike action. Civil servants do not have the right to collective bargaining or the right to strike. Railway workers are also excessively restricted in their right to strike as the law establishes broad minimum services in railway services.

Issues have been raised with Bulgaria’s labour inspectorate over the refusal to bargain in good faith and anti-union discrimination against union leaders and there have been attacks against union premises and property.

For more on union rights in Bulgaria see the ITUC annual survey.