European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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Strikes in Bulgaria - background summary

The right to strike in Bulgaria is stipulated in the Constitution and the labour legislation. Recent changes in the labour legislation will allow civil servants to strike and to negotiate CLA.

  • The law for the settlement of collective labour disputes is the legal framework defining the right to strike. A strike is defined as a dispute between workers and employers relating to labour relations, social security and living standards. The definition also covers disputes related to the conclusion or fulfilment of a collective agreement
  • The main type of industrial action is the ‘active strike’ (ефективна стачка), during which employees stop working. It may be organised after the failure of conciliation, arbitrage or negotiations. During the strike, employees need to be present at the employer’s site during their normal working hours. Another type of strike is the ‘symbolic strike’ (символична стачка) which involves working as usual while wearing or displaying appropriate signs, protest posters, ribbons, badges or other suitable symbols. This kind of strike can also be used by healthcare workers or the police, because the law forbids active strikes in these sectors.
  • According to the Act on Settlement of Collective Labour Disputes (ASCLD) the right to strike is guaranteed for all sectors of the economy. However, in some essential public services (health care, electricity distribution, telecommunications, security, etc.) the employees and the public employer are obliged to conclude a written agreement at least 3 days in advance to organise a minimum service. Civil servants in Bulgaria are only allowed to go on symbolic strike.
  • There is no comprehensive data about strikes in Bulgaria. According to the ECS (2013) in the period 2010 – 2013 only 5% of all private sector companies reported strikes of one day or more (Bulgaria Working Live Profile, Eurofound).