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27 July 2017

Bulgarian and Romanian trade unions go digital

In recent years, CEE trade unions have tried to broaden the range of services they offer and reach beyond their usual target groups. They have also made extensive use of modern information and communication technologies.

In 2015, Bulgaria’s largest trade union confederation CITUB created a web-based portal ‘Electronic Trade Union CITUB’. The portal’s content is both personalised and interactive, with possibilities for two-way communication. In the open-access part, the union reports on its activities and publishes employment-related documents. The other part, available only to registered union members, provides access to more than 70 services offered by the confederation and enables direct online consultations on labour and social issues. A very similar instrument was launched by the BNS confederation in Romania. Within the framework of the initiative called ‘Smart Trade Union’, it developed a web-based platform that provided affiliated union organisations and individual members with access to a wide range of services varying from assistance at collective bargaining to financial and legal advice. Certain individual services, such as job search support or information on union-provided training schemes, are available to non-members and can be accessed for free upon web registration.

The interactive portals are very innovative in the context of Bulgarian and Romanian industrial relations. Although the schemes have been launched relatively recently and it is still difficult to assess their impact, they seem to have increased unions’ visibility and improved their communication with the current and potential members. According to the information provided by the Bulgarian confederation, between the launch of the ‘Electronic Trade Union CITUB’ portal in late 2015 and February 2016, 33,371 users were registered, while the articles posted by the union were read by 93,185 visitors.

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