Institute for Social and Trade Union Research, Education and Training (ISTURET)

Address :
1, Macedonia Square
1000 Sofia
Contact :
Luboslav Kostov, Director
Phone : +359 2 4010591
Fax : +359 2 4010668
Email :
Website :

Short Description


The Institute for Social and Trade Union Research, Education and Training /ISTURET/ is an independent non-government organization for research, education and training. It is an ancestor of the Institute for Social and Trade Union Research /established in 1972 as part of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria/ and the Workers’ Education and Training College/established in 2003/.

Our mission is to provide high quality products tailored to the needs of working people in all sectors. Through cutting edge training and education programs along with research papers and in-depth studies, the Institute is a trustworthy partner of the trade union movement in Bulgaria.

Work programme, strategic plan, projects

We have a flexible organisation structure ready to implement its research and training programme. The programme is adopted in accordance with the needs of working people and aims to touch upon the latest developments of the socio-economic context. However we are able to respond to ad hoc activities sought by trade unions, social partners, tripartite bodies, research institutions and other national and international organisations.

We are highly qualified experts with proven experience and expertise in various fields. Team members hold university degrees in Economics, Sociology, Political sciences, Philology, Education. Some of us have PhD degrees.

We have both research and training expertise. The analysis we produce relates to remuneration level by sectors, the relation between minimum wage and living wage, the labour market development, industrial relations on national and international level. We also design and facilitate tailored training that meets the real needs of all employees and build the capacity of the trade union movement as a whole. Our team transposes successfully research results into study curricula and thus gives high quality education and training.

The research activities cover a great variety of topics and aim to develop multidisciplinary papers. Our analysis cover:

  • The national Living wage rate and its relation to the wages;
  • Industrial relations, social dialogue, collective bargaining;
  • Development of social partners organisations;
  • Labour market policies and working conditions;
  • Social policy, poverty and inequalities;
  • Economy performance indicators.

We offer Trade Union Training, Vocational Education and Training and Adult Training, including Workplace Training. We provide VET curricula and methodologies, Key competences Training, Training of Trainers, Career Guidance and Counselling, European and National project Management programs. We have our own Quality Management System for training courses. Part of our training methods has been developed together with international institutions such as the European Trade Union Institute, the International Training Center of the ILO in Turin, and other partner organizations.

Our trainings are underpinned by the following principles:

  • Quality education is a basic human right;
  • Training must be flexible to be accessible to all (by organizing face-to-face, online, blended and hybrid courses);
  • Quality training must be sustainable and applicable in different contexts.

For the last 5 years our staff members trained more than 10 000 people on topics related to labour legislation; collective bargaining; OSH; foreign language skills; digital skills.

Other networks the institute is participating in

We implement various projects in co-operation with external organizations. We work with experts from CITUB, Confederation of Labour “Podkrepa”, representative employers’ organisations, tripartite partnership bodies and relevant government institutions.

We are proud to be partners of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) in a number of project-based activities. As our employees are members of the Social and Economic Council of Bulgaria and the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation, we are often engaged in drafting main strategic and policy documents for CITUB and also in drafting positions, opinions and analyses for the Economic and Social Council of the Republic of Bulgaria.

We are member of the:

  • Trade union-related Research Institutes network (TURI)
  • European Social Observatory (OSE)
  • Collective bargaining, employee information and consultation network of CITUB
  • National Trainign Center for Information and consultation.

Institute for Social, Economic and Trade Union Research (ISETUR)

Address :
2, Angel Kanchev Str.
1000 Sofia
Contact :
Phone : +359 2 4030214
Fax : +359 2 9873842
Email :
Website :

Short Description

ISETUR has been established in 1995 as a NGO under the Bulgarian Law for Non-profit Legal Entities. It is an unit within the framework of PODKREPA Confederation of Labour (CL). ISETUR's main goal is to create a bridge between PODKREPA CL's needs for expertise and consultancy as a trade union, and scientific research of the socio-economic processes in Bulgaria.

The Institute works on request from the Confederation (studies, statements, pubications) and on project basis and predominantly with temporal experts.

Areas of expertise and competencies

The Institute's main objectives in its capacity of Confederation unit consist of research, analysis and projects’ implementation in economic and social policy, employment policy, industrial relations, labour market tendencies etc.

The ISETUR experts are taking part both in the implementation of the Confederation’ tasks and various events (conferences, workshops, taskforces), projects etc.

Work programme, strategic plan, projects

ISETUR has implemented the following important projects as from1995 onwards:

Collective Bargaining in Bulgaria, ILO Project (1995-1996); 
Informal Employment and Self-Employment, Institute for Market Economy project (1996); 
Bulgarian Labour Market, Institute of Economics at the Bulgarian Academy of Science project (1997); 
Monitoring and evaluation of the EU Programme 'Urgent Social Assistance for Bulgaria' (1997); 
Social evaluation of Pernik region, World Bank Social Development Fund Project (1998); 
Alternative Employment Plan in the Mono-industrial Coal Mining region -Tvurdisa municipality, project with CFDT - France (1998-1999); Implementation of European standards in facilitating Social Dialogue, PHARE ACCESS Programme (2002); 
Anti-corruption practices in Tax Administration System, EU Programme 'European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights' (2003); 'Worker representation in companies in candidate countries: a portentous debate for the future of European Works Councils', ETUC project, 2002; 
'European Trade Unions and CSR', ETUC project (2004), 
'For a better participation of Bulgarian workers in the organs of information and consultation', EU project.
Project “Workforce and employment – recent tendencies” in the frame of ARTEMIS Program in partnership with Trade Unions of North Greece;
Project on “Training of assistants to provide services to people with disabilities and old people” – partnership with Sofia State University, Municipality of Saarbrucken (Germany), University of Montpellier (France);
Conference “Workforce migration and people trafficking” – in partnership with CITUB and NGO “Animus”- held in Sofia;
Confederation’s project “Support for decent work” in the framework of ESF\BG Operational Program “Human Resources Development”(2010 – 2013): Research on: “Workforce mobility in the EU framework – impact on the adaptability”.

Publications, language, newsletter

So far ISETUR has issued the following publications (in partnership with Friedrich- Ebert-Stiftung):

Individual work disputes and work courts: the European experience and practic (Sofia, 2006)

Regulation of labour remuneration: the experience of the EU countries and Bulgaria (Sofia, 2006)

Wages in the EU countries and in Bulgaria (Sofia, 2005)

The right to strike in the public services' sector (Sofia, 2004)

Trade unions and immigrant workers (FES, Sofia, 2009)

Trade Union strategies to tackle the economic crisis. The role of social protection. – 2009;

Trade union position after the Copenhagen summit on global warming. Trade with greenhouse gases – 2010.

Other networks the institute is participating in