Bulgarian police plan protest over retirement pay cutbacks in proposed 2016 Budget
Trade unions at the Bulgarian Interior Ministry say that 20 000 police will protest on November 4, including by blocking national roads, after negotiations with the Finance Ministry failed to result in the withdrawal of a plan to cut back retirement pay.
Provision is made in Bulgaria’s draft 2016 Budget that at retirement, Interior Ministry employees will get 10 salaries instead of the 20 provided for in the current system. Annual leave will be cut from 30 to 20 days. There is also a proposal to scrap seniority bonuses.
The police protests will continue daily, trade union representatives said. They expected backing from police and defence unions.
Reports on November 3 said that at the Sofia directorate of the Interior Ministry, about 40 requests to retire were being submitted daily, and this trend had continued for the past month.
One police officer told reporters, “when I go to the police station, I have to take my own pen and paper, because we haven’t been given these for years”.
“I’ll go to the private sector. There you get more money, no stress, they do not make you buy your own computer, equipment, weapons, ammunition.”
Bulgarian National Radio said that on November 2 alone, about 240 police had applied to go on pension.
The applications to retire came from almost all departments of the Interior Ministry, including anti-terrorism, the national police, several regional directorates of the Interior Ministry and the Gendarmerie.
Separate reports said that about 150 uniformed police in Plovdiv had submitted applications to resign. The homicide investigation department had only one person left, according to the report.
Negotiations on November 2 between police trade unions and Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov and Interior Minister Roumyana Buchvarova ended without result. A day earlier, reports quoted police as threatening to arrest Goranov.