More effort to increase productivity in the economy is the best mechanism to raise the incomes of employed people. This was said by the Minister of Economy and Industry, Nikola Stojanov, who held meetings with the leaders of the two national trade union organisations – the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria (CITUB) and the Confederation of Labour “Podkrepa”. The discussion was initiated by the new team at the Ministry of Economy and Industry, with the aim of identifying urgent actions for the next two months.
At the headquarters of the CL “Podkrepa”, Minister Stojanov spoke with the President Eng. Dimitar Manolov. They discussed the challenges in the field economy, which are increasingly affecting employed people as well – the inflationary processes, the prices of fuels and materials. Special attention was paid to the eonomic crisis, which is due to the problems with the supply of natural gas and the need to take urgent joint measures to overcome it. The President of the CL “Podkrepa” stressed on the need to stabilise the state-owned companies in the composition of the State Consolidation Company and the SCC itself, because of the ill-advised actions within the organisation in recent months.
“In the short period we have for action, I believe that it is most reasonable to rely on the experience of the trade unions and employers’ organisations in order to identify the most correct solutions”, Minister Stojanov said. Dimitar Manolov expressed readiness for experts of the trade union organisation to participate in the discussion of all topics identified by the Ministry of Economy and Industry. They agreed that next week a new meeting will be held between them, in which both experts of the ministry and representatives of the industrial federations of the CL “Support” will be included, in order to analyse in depth the targeted areas.
Later during the day, the Minister of Economy and Industry, Nikola Stojanov, and the President of the CITUB, Plamen Dimitrov, discussed the country’s economic and industrial priorities until the parliamentary elections in the autumn. Possible solutions to the gas and energy crises were discussed, and the organisation raised the issue of the lack of clarity regarding the recovery and resilience plan. Emphasis was also placed on the need for quality dialogue between the government, trade unions and employers.
Plamen Dimitrov commented on the first sign of a global recession, namely the decrease in the price of metals. According to him such a trend has not yet started in Bulgaria. However, the lack of supplies and the energy collapse do not outline positive forecasts for the country. “The cheapest gas is unused gas,” said the president of the CITUB. He also raised the topic of compensation for non-domestic consumers.
In his opinion, in the current situation of crisis, it is impossible to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 40% by 2026. The liberalisation of electricity prices is the other process, the course of which is not clear. The president of the CITUB also asked whether the poorest country in the EU can accept exchange prices for electricity. The Vice President of CITUB, Ognyan Atanasov, pointed out that the Ministry of Economy should have a leading role in the Green Deal Advisory Council.
Minister Stojanov pointed out that the level of expertise of the trade unions is very high. “We will rely on interaction with you, on support from both unions and employers. You can decide what to transfer to us, which goals are realistic and which actions are absolutely necessary,” he stated.
Defining a mechanism for the gas issue is necessary, and the cabinet recognises the topic as of primary importance, which is also proven by the establishment of the Energy Headquarters, said Nikola Stojanov. He also pointed out that he will focus his efforts on actually feasible measures. In his work, he will seek continuous dialogue with unions and employers to find the best solutions.
The meeting was also attended by the Deputy Minister of Economy Irina Shtonova, the Vice President of the CITUB Ognyan Atanasov, the industrial policy consultant of the confederation Valentin Nikiforov, the Presidents of the Union Federation “Metalitsi” Vasil Yanachkov, of the National Trade Union Federation “Metal-Electro” Ilia Iliev, of the Federation of Independent Trade Union Organisations of Light Industry Tsvetelina Milchalieva, of the Federation of Independent Trade Union Organisations of Food Industry Slavcho Petrov and of the Federation of the Independent Trade Union Organisations of Agriculture Valentina Vasilyonova.